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Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia: The East Runs Through Milwaukee

This. Effing. Team.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With a 128-122 come from behind victory on the road versus the Philadelphia 76ers, the Bucks clinched home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference Playoffs. I don’t know about you, but clinching on the road in Philadelphia shorthanded made this victory taste a bit sweeter. Here are three Bucks who stepped up when point guard Eric Bledsoe got ejected early in the first quarter last night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was...

The best player on the floor last night by a WIDE margin. He could not, and would not be stopped last night. He was determined to propel the Bucks to a win even when they trailed by six points late in the fourth. In the Herculean effort, he dropped 45 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and five blocked shots in 35 minutes. Giannis made 13-of-22 shots and converted on 3-of-7 three-point attempts. He also got to the charity stripe with ease, where he went 16-of-21. The only answer Philadelphia had for him defensively was to just foul him. Or at least try. He’s had a handful of MVP type performances this season, but this felt like it was the “one.” It was an all-time clinic.

George Hill was money.

Without his contributions off the bench, this result certainly would have been different. Instead, he chipped in 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists while not turning the ball over. Hill sank 7-of-13 shots and 2-of-3 three-pointers last night and made a big mark with his off-ball activity offensively. He’s scored 60 points combined in the last three games and has stepped up admirably since Malcolm Brogdon has been out. This serves as a reminder that the Bucks acquired George Hill for pretty much nothing this offseason. And while he was a bit inconsistent at times earlier this season, he’s turning his game up at the perfect time.

It’s great to have Khris Middleton back and healthy.

It was only a two-game absence for him, but the last thing the Bucks can afford is another nagging injury. In 25 minutes, Middleton had 22 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals. He made 3-of-6 three-pointers versus the 76ers, and 7-of-18 shots overall. His shot looked fine, and had a few shots roll off the rim and out. He finished plus-10 in the victory.

Bonus Bucks

  • Brook Lopez scored nine points but really made his presence felt on the defensive end of the floor. Even though Joel Embiid had a nice game, Lopez made everything difficult for him around the rim.
  • In 35 minutes, Sterling Brown scored 12 points in another start. He also added five rebounds and three assists.
  • D.J. Wilson scored 11 points and hauled in six rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. He shot 3-of-5 from the field and even added a nice lefty hook in the first half. That soft touch was nice to see.
  • The Bucks finished with 26 assists and turned the ball over only 10 times.
  • Milwaukee made 45.2 percent of their shots and 35.3 percent of their threes.