Sixers vs. Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo leads Milwaukee to comeback find

3 observations after Sixers descend dramatic sport to Giannis and the Bucks originally looked on NBC Sports Philadelphia

For a 2nd straight sport, the Sixers impressed in taking a enormous lead on a defending conference champion but couldn’t seal the deal.

After falling Sunday to the Suns, the crew dropped a dramatic 118-116 decision Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center to the Bucks.

Down two aspects with 12.4 seconds left, James Harden drew Brook Lopez on a switch. He uncared for a step-abet three-pointer, but Joel Embiid grabbed the rebound and looked savor he became about to tie the sport.

Giannis Antetokounmpo flew in to place the day, even though. His block became first dominated goaltending, but the officers overturned the play upon review. That resulted in a leap ball with 1.6 seconds final and supposed the Sixers had no extra chances.

Antetokounmpo recorded 40 aspects on 16-for-24 shooting, 14 rebounds and six assists in a special efficiency.

Harden notched 32 aspects and nine assists.

Embiid had 29 aspects, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Tobias Harris posted 22 aspects and 11 boards.

The Sixers now sit at 46-29, fourth in the Japanese Convention, and would possibly possibly possibly face the Pistons on Thursday night in Detroit. Listed below are observations on their tight loss to the Bucks:

Embiid takes on Lopez

Facing Brook Lopez for the first time this season, Embiid nailed a mid-differ jumper on the Sixers’ first possession but did now not beginning up the sport effectively. He misfired on his next seven field targets.

Lopez, who uncared for the bulk of this year with a abet hurt, made a trailing three-pointer in transition for the Bucks’ first basket. The dilapidated immense man and Milwaukee as a crew were solid on Embiid, sending extra defenders on the valid instances. Embiid dedicated two first-quarter turnovers, one when he station a provocative show conceal for Tyrese Maxey and the numerous when he became stripped by Jrue Vacation unhurried in the shot clock.

His teammates didn’t merit him out great firstly place. After Vacation dug down on an Embiid put up-up in opposition to Bobby Portis, Embiid kicked the ball out to an originate Harden. That appears to be like a closer option for the Sixers when a extraordinary find-and-shoot participant savor Georges Niang or Danny Inexperienced is on the stable aspect; Harden’s three hit the underside of the backboard.

“I if truth be told feel savor they’re rotating to me, so the swing-swing (circulation) is there,” Harden acknowledged. “But that’s one thing I accomplish must salvage historical to, being ball-dominant for so a protracted time now. A guy savor Jo will get double teamed in the put up and the ball will get swung to me, customarily I’ve obtained to shoot it. So I’ll keep a query to film and take a look at and recover as time goes on.”

To Harden’s credit, he capitalized on a comparable different after Embiid found a rhythm unhurried in the 2nd quarter. He took an Embiid kick-out circulation, pump faked, and dribbled staunch into a protracted-differ jumper that keep the Sixers up 57-46. Embiid and the Sixers had a stable stretch after Portis picked up his third unfriendly and Serge Ibaka entered for his first minutes of the night.

Lopez opened the 2nd half of sizzling, scoring on an and-one layup, two three-pointers, and a dunk off of a dilapidated-aspect lower. He couldn’t handle the magic, even though, and Embiid forced him to work on the numerous dwell of the bottom. A rolling Embiid lay-in assisted by Harden restored a 72-62 Sixers lead.

The Sixers loved Embiid in opposition to Lopez in the put up in the fourth quarter, especially on fable of the Bucks looked though-provoking with now not throwing laborious double teams on the 5-time All-Superstar every time. Embiid tied the sport at 102-all with a layup thru Lopez contact, but he uncared for the ensuing unfriendly shot.

Even supposing Embiid made a three to neat the Bucks’ edge to 117-116, he couldn’t convert a inch-ahead mid-differ strive on a unhurried after-timeout play.

Greek Freak vs. Millsap clear now not very supreme

Antetokounmpo saw a rotating solid of defenders, none of whom looked more likely to dwell him when he had downhill momentum.

Harris became first up. Niang obtained the subsequent crack and Antetokounmpo went valid at him, throwing down a lefty dunk despite Embiid’s tried swat. He then knocked down a pull-up jumper over Niang.

Paul Millsap backed up Embiid, getting rid of DeAndre Jordan from the rotation after an 11-sport urge. Millsap became nowhere intention an Antetokounmpo antidote. In his first stint, he allowed a turnaround jumper and a Euro-stepping layup. Antetokounmpo also emphatically pushed aside a Millsap layup are trying. The third quarter didn’t flip out any higher for the 37-year-aged Millsap. Antetokounmpo singlehandedly lower a 13-level deficit to six with two layups and a pull-up three.

The fourth quarter became extra of the same — computerized baskets for Antetokounmpo on each possession — and the Bucks trailed by handiest two when Sixers head coach Doc Rivers called timeout early in the fourth quarter so Embiid would possibly possibly possibly return.

“I belief Millsap in the first half of became valid, in the 2nd half of he struggled,” Rivers acknowledged. “Didn’t savor DJ (for this sport). We practically went with Paul Reed. That’s who we were between. But in Milwaukee, that became a tough matchup for Paul with Giannis.”

Reed did now not appear in the Sixers’ Feb. 17 avenue find over the Bucks, but Rivers became presumably referring to the 22-year-aged’s night in a shorthanded November defeat. 

Embiid identified Antetokounmpo’s 2nd-half of scoring spree as when “the sport if truth be told changed,” which shouldn’t be controversial.

“I became on the bench,” he acknowledged. “Your complete time that I became on the bottom, I if truth be told made clear that I became continuously there to merit. I belief we didn’t apply that strategy, we didn’t develop a wall, and he had numerous free lanes to unprejudiced correct assault and salvage whatever he wanted. And that unprejudiced correct changed the sport. Perhaps next time unprejudiced correct match up the minutes.”

Correct as they’d performed for that February meeting in opposition to the Sixers, Milwaukee began with the reigning Finals MVP on Matisse Thybulle and lurking around for chances to play disruptive merit protection. Even supposing Thybulle wasn’t a half of-court threat, he flew ahead of the pack and, after a protracted-distance Harden circulation, slammed in a hastily-atomize dunk to present the Sixers a 49-41 lead unhurried in the 2nd quarter. That became his handiest shot strive. Thybulle frolicked on both Khris Middleton (22 aspects, nine rebounds, seven assists) and Vacation (18 aspects, 10 assists, eight rebounds).

Danny Inexperienced, Shake Milton and Niang all chipped in scoring off the Sixers’ four-man bench, which totaled 24 aspects.

Inexperienced, who became called for a fourth-quarter Flagrant 1 unfriendly after laborious, above-the-shoulder contact to dwell an Antetokounmpo layup, performed 23 minutes and Thybulle obtained 20.

Niang closed the sport out and drained two three-pointers down the stretch. When a Niang triple lower Milwaukee’s result in 112-111, Antetokounmpo answered with a immense jumper. And when a Harris keep-abet layup again keep the Sixers down one, Vacation spoke back with a take hold of triple. Everyone who confirmed up Tuesday obtained their money’s price leisure-wise.

Harden locked in early 

Harden’s intention offensively became very unprejudiced correct early, and he showcased a transient first step on several drives to the rim.

He posted 12 aspects in the first quarter on 4-for-5 shooting and shrugged apart any lingering disappointment about his 2-for-11 outing in Sunday’s loss to Phoenix. Ten-time All-Stars don’t have a tendency to be troubled a pair of wretched showing or two.

“Correct being aggressive and now not caring about anything else but being aggressive,” Harden acknowledged. “Getting my teammates involved will occur. But that became my mindset tonight.”

Harden passed up a couple of doubtless threes in the third quarter, but he persisted to stress the Bucks’ protection as a ball handler. With Milwaukee switching on Harden-Embiid handle end-and-rolls in the third quarter, the Sixers’ well-known mode of assault became feeding Embiid on the nail in opposition to Wesley Matthews, Vacation or whichever smaller man became assigned to Harden. That didn’t continuously originate aspects, but the Sixers customarily created valid appears to be like and looked as if it will probably possibly salvage a transparent understanding.

Even supposing the Sixers aren’t fixated on the standings, Harden performed with a immense-sport intensity. He blocked a Grayson Allen three-level strive unhurried in the third quarter and, with the Sixers badly requiring shot creation for the length of Embiid’s 2nd-half of leisure, drew and made four unfriendly photos over the closing 33.6 seconds of the interval.

Harden made a three to neat the Sixers’ deficit to 108-105 in the fourth, but these were his handiest aspects in the closing quarter.

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