The Milwaukee Bucks took control of their Thursday matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers from jump, and now they have another shot to gain more ground on the team that’s jockeying for the top spot in the East.
Where We’re At
Well, basically the same place we were at two days ago, only the Milwaukee Bucks came out and clobbered the Philadelphia 76ers for the better part of 41 minutes. Putrid final seven minutes aside (the Bucks only scored two points!), Milwaukee showed some of its most assertive, purposeful offense we’ve seen all season in the first quarter of their 124-117 win. The shotmaking opened up space inside the arc, the cutting and driving led to open shooters outside, it was an infinity sign of efficiency to open the contest. While it was tough sledding for Giannis Antetokounmpo through one half, he found a groove in the second and eventually finished with 27 points, 16 boards and six assists. Khris Middleton had 24 on 10-16 shooting, Bobby Portis had 23 on a ludicrous 9-11 evening and Jrue Holiday tied for his second highest assist total this season with 11. In the next matchup, I wouldn’t expect them to shoot 20-40 from deep, so they’ll need to find other ways to manufacture points again.
The Best of The Greek Freak vs. Philly:— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 23, 2021
27 PTS | 16 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK pic.twitter.com/Fl2uIXFg5R
As for Philadelphia, Joel Embiid got his, but if you told any Bucks fan pregame that it would take 21 shots for Embiid to get 24 points, they would gladly take it. Their defensive prowess looked entirely off to start, which maybe was a result of the back-to-back, but they also had core members of their team (Curry and Harris) who hadn’t played the night prior so I’m not willing to give them much of an excuse. The Bucks blasted through them, and I’m sure Doc Rivers will be on them about providing significantly more resistance on drives to the rim and paying attention to the corners. Philadelphia isn’t a team that usually takes all that many threes, they take the fifth lowest percentage in the league, and that played out Thursday with just 27 attempts. Milwaukee will take that most nights provided they’re manufacturing enough offense on the other end.
Joel Embiid and Furkan Korkmaz were listed as questionable and Ben Simmons is out.
Player to Watch
Bobby Portis was clearly feeling himself on Thursday, but one thing I appreciated about his game that night was that he wasn’t afraid to keep shooting from deep. He’s averaged 2.4 attempts beyond the arc all season, but took advantage of opportunities from the corners when Philadelphia would leave him open and lofted it with ample space before him. Portis did a great job of letting the game flow to him rather than forcing too many shots himself. With the way he’s hitting the deep ball, Milwaukee needs him to be a potent offensive force in the Playoffs and the last Philly game was a solid test. We’ll see what his encore looks like.
Game 59: Against Philly, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
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