Sixers - Bucks Recap: All Eyes on OKC after Blowout Loss
Well, we got to see the Blue Coats? Minus Paul Reed, who entered health and safety protocols on Saturday. When Ben Simmons was confirmed out with a mysterious illness (personal reasons, bad case of the flu, COVID vaccine side effects?), chances were low of the Sixers managing to split the mini-series with Milwaukee. When MVP candidate Joel Embiid was ruled out with shoulder soreness, that slim chance evaporated before the tip-off.
The game itself?
Forgettable would be an understatement. It’s hard to be mad about losing to the three seed in the east without our best two players, but it does hurt because this loss has big implications in the race for the Eastern Conferences number 1 seed. Finishing atop the standings ensures that you won’t see Brooklyn or Milwaukee until the Eastern Conference Finals, and as of the time of this writing, the Sixers hold the two seed. They’re 1.5 games behind Brooklyn, and 1.5 games in front of the Nets. Philadelphia will benefit from an easier schedule, as their final 12 games are:
If they can get healthy, there’s no reason for the Sixers to not go at least 8-4 or 9-3 over that stretch.
Ice Cold Shooting Start
The Bucks didn’t carry over their shooting from last time out, but the Sixers were ice cold to start. With 3:28 left in the second quarter, the team was shooting just 2-19 from three, and 31% overall. Their defense throughout the games was also clearly lacking the presence of Joel and Ben, as two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo feasted throughout with Mike Scott and Dwight Howard in the paint.
Out of Reach
The Sixers (temporarily) made this a game in the third, as the better Curry brother scored 10 points in the first 5 minutes out of the locker room. With 8:36 left in the third, it was 55-54 in the Bucks favor. At the end of the third quarter, after just over 8 minutes, the Bucks lead 86-63. Bobby Portis played a big part in that effort, scoring an efficient 17 off the bench. By the 4th, it had turned into a developmental affair for Doc Rivers, with acquisitions like Anthony Tolliver and young guards like Mason Jones seeing time.
Any Bright Spots?
Shake Milton continued to be inconsistent but was overall solid this game, and even banked in this three pointer, which was cool to see.
Dwight Howard wasn’t flashy, but showed why he was a great offseason pickup. His screening and rebounding were desperately needed, and he delivered about as well as you could expect him too.
Tyrese Maxey shot just 5-13 from the field, including a frigid 0-5 from three. But as always, he showed flashes as a scorer and was able to draw 6 free throws today, as he tries to push for a spot in the playoff rotation.
Rayjon Tucker, Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones scored a combined 14 points, with 11 of those coming from the charity stripe
Mike Scott isn’t good. Yeah that's it.
On Monday, Philly faces the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have waved the white flags and are gunning for a top pick. They’re 20-40 on the season, and haven’t won a game since March 31st, when they faced the also tanking Raptors. Even if Ben Simmons continues to be sidelined by his illness, as long as Joel Embiid plays there isn’t an excuse to not blow OKC out.