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Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia: Sixers Hold Off Bucks, 123-120

Embiid racks up 42 points and 14 boards in victory

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that featured an entertaining clash between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, the visiting Philadelphia 76ers came out victorious with a narrow 123-120 victory.

It’d be a jammed pack first quarter. Joel Embiid would be everywhere for Philadelphia, totaling 12 first quarter points and reeling in six rebounds. Tobias Harris also mixed in ten. However, despite those two players’ outputs, Milwaukee found themselves up several points going into the second quarter, 27-24.

It’d be a story of two tales for the Bucks in the second quarter. Crisp ball movement and scoring saw them blossom early on, with their lead growing to as much as 12 points at one time. However, the Sixers wouldn’t blink. Instead, riding a firepower of Tyrese Maxey points, they’d storm back and eventually turn the tables. Going into halftime, Philadelphia owned a 69-61 advantage.

Joel Embiid would be the story of the third, hitting some insanely difficult shots to keep the Sixers ahead. I mean, the degree of difficulty on some of them...just wow. After three, he’d have tallied 33 points on the evening and be the main focal point of Philadelphia’s 101-93 advantage going into the fourth.

The fourth quarter featured the duel we all wanted to see coming into this one — Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Joel Embiid. Both players would be battling back-and-forth, and both were hitting some insanely difficult shots. Down the stretch, the Bucks would get themselves back into the game, and in the closing seconds, they had the opportunity to knot things up. However, each time, they were unable to get over the hump, and Philadelphia left Fiserv Forum with the 123-120 victory.

For Milwaukee, Giannis led the way, concluding his night with 32 points on 13-of-23 shooting. He would haul in 11 boards and fall one assist shy of a triple-double. Jrue Holiday had a solid scoring night, scoring 24 points.

Joel Embiid led all scorers with an impressive 42 points. He’d add 14 boards to that. Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey both contributed with 19 points each.

It’s now the All-Star break for Milwaukee. They’ll be back in action at Fiserv Forum on February 26th vs. the Brooklyn Nets.

Three Observations

Joel Embiid is incredible.

Coming into this one, we knew he’d be the player to watch in this one — and man, did he deliver. Called by many as the leading candidate in this year’s MVP race, Embiid delivered with 42 points and 14 boards on the night. Some of the shots that he was hitting were simply out of this world. At one point, he pulled up in transition from the right wing like he was Steph Curry, and drilled the three. Just preposterous. I’m praying we get Bucks vs. Sixers in the playoffs, because the basketball world needs to see Embiid vs. Giannis.

For as special as Embiid was last night, Giannis was right there with him.

I feel that Giannis’ effort can be a shoo-in to make one of the three observations on a game-by-game basis, and this was another example. He’d catch fire down the break to explode for 32 points and be going back-and-forth with Joel Embiid, Early on, he’d dive into the stands yet again for a loose ball — the second time in as many games. Then, down on the other end, he corralled in two offensive boards and then received the and-1 opportunity. Like Embiid, some of the shots he hit were outrageous, with one of them being a three from the right wing in the fourth. Like I said above, we need to see Giannis vs. Embiid in the playoffs.

It was a rough night from Khris Middleton.

Khris Middleton hasn’t been playing his best basketball as of late, and unfortunately for him, it continued last night. He’d go just of 2-of-12 from the 3-point line, lacking a shot that the Bucks have come to really appreciate. Asked about his shooting in the presser, here’s what Mike Budenholzer had to say:

“I think for Khris, basically anytime he shoots it, I think it’s a good thing. We’ll look at the film sometime after the All-Star break. I think he probably had some that we would take and that are really high quality shots and they didn’t just drop for him and I’m sure their defense at times was good and made it tough on him. Usually you go back and look at it, it’s a little bit of both. We gotta make our open looks and then the defense...they’re a good defensive team that makes it tough on you.”

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • After being inserted into the starting lineup, Jordan Nwora had a productive outing. He’d go off for 18 points and connected on 4-of-7 3-pointers from deep.
  • Those Sixers uniforms were pretty. I love the font on the front as well as the rainbows on the sides. Just perfect.
  • While we’re on the topic of the Sixers branding, they need to utilize the Balling Ben’ Franklin logo more. That thing is simply AWESOME.
  • Tyrese Maxey is also really fun to watch on the Sixers. His facilitation of the basketball is definitely quite high for a second-year player, as his court vision seeks out open guys that I don’t even see. He’ll be fun to watch as he progresses throughout his career.
  • As Barry DeJay from Backyard Basketball would say, “Dishing it out like ice cream!”
  • If you follow me on Twitter (@Stoltzy3 for those who want to shoot a follow), all year long, I’ve been keeping track of the Jackpot Shot attempts. After many terrible attempts, we finally had our first $5,000 jackpot winner of the season: