MILWAUKEE–The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to make a statement on Saturday night. The Milwaukee Bucks had won 16 games in a row entering the contest at Fiserv Forum and they were looking to put a stop to that and pick themselves up an impressive win.
That is exactly what they did on Saturday night. The Bucks exploded in the third quarter and opened up an 18-point lead, but Philadelphia scratched and clawed back into it and eventually walked away with a 133-130 win. They snapped Milwaukee’s 16-game winning streak despite losing Tobias Harris and PJ Tucker to mid-game injuries.
James Harden led Philadelphia with 38 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists, Tyrese Maxey had 26 points, and Joel Embiid had 31 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Georges Niang added 16 points and he knocked down five triples, Jalen McDaniels added eight, and De’Anthony Melton had five.
Here are the player grades following the win:
James Harden: A
The Beard got off to a great start on the offensive end. He was able to knock down deep jumpers and make an impact that way. He was also able to get to the free-throw line and score his points that way. Overall, the 3-point shot was working for him and he made some really tough shots for Philadelphia when they needed it. With that being said, the length that the Bucks offered seemed to bother him a bit at the basket as he was unable to finish at the rim. Milwaukee was able to give Harden a lot of trouble whenever he got into the paint and that could be an issue in the future. However, this was Harden’s best game as a Sixer and they wouldn’t have won this game without him.
Tyrese Maxey: B+
Drawing the start for the third consecutive game, Maxey was able to knock down a triple early and make an impact on offense. He was also making some tough shots early over Milwaukee’s length and he was getting to the free-throw line. However, he had his familiar issues on defense as the Bucks were able to constantly get into the paint and score at will against him. It was the same in the second half as Maxey was able to score at an efficient pace, but his defense just wasn’t there and Milwaukee hunted him.
Tobias Harris: Incomplete
Harris was able to knock down an early triple as Philadelphia ran a play to get him open. After that, he didn’t really get much of an opportunity to contribute on the offensive end as he only took two shots. It’s understandable considering how good Embiid and Harden were in this one, but the Sixers have to find a way to consistently get him involved. He did end up leaving at the half due to left calf soreness.
PJ Tucker: C+
Give Tucker credit for the defensive job he did on Antetokounmpo. He battled the Greek Freak on every possession and he frustrated him at times. These are the games the Sixers went out and grabbed Tucker for in order to give Philadelphia a boost in these big games. While he deserves credit for that, he did miss his open triples on the offensive end. They were both open looks, too. Those are shots he has to make for the offense to succeed.
Joel Embiid: A-
A strong big man such as Brook Lopez normally gives Embiid trouble, but the big fella came out firing to start this one. The jumper was working early in both the mid-range and from deep and he was able to get good position at the basket as well. with that being said, there was one moment when he got blocked by Lopez and he didn’t get back on defense which allowed Lopez to just walk into a triple. Overall, Embiid’s numbers were great. However, he had a few defensive breakdowns and he missed some key rebounds which led to easy Milwaukee scores. He redeemed himself by drilling a clutch triple with 42 seconds left to give the Sixers the lead for good.
De’Anthony Melton: B
Melton had one move in the second quarter that shook his defender and he was able to get to the basket for an easy layup. It’s not often when Melton is able to make a move to the basket so that was a sight to see. He had a few nice moments on the defensive end as well. He was one of the few Sixers to play well on the perimeter defensively.
Georges Niang: A-
The good: Niang finally got a triple to fall to break out of the shooting slump he has been in. The bad: the Bucks went at him on the other end and he had a very tough time on that end of the floor. Overall, though, Niang was able to knock down his 3-pointers which is exactly what they expect out of him. The fact that he was able to break out of the slump is the biggest development for him.
Jalen McDaniels: B
The initial stint for McDaniels was pretty nondescript. He wasn’t able to really make an impact against this talented Bucks team and he committed a foul on the defensive end. In the second half, he stepped into a triple and he made some big offensive plays to help Philadelphia get back in the game. Overall, it was a bit of a mixed bag for him as he committed five fouls.
Paul Reed: B-
Unfortunately, Reed got hit with an early foul trying to defend Antetokounmpo. That limited his effectiveness on that end and it allowed the Bucks to just go right at him and they were able to score rather easily without Embiid on the floor. He deserves credit for his play in the second half as he was able to get a big bucket when Philadelphia stormed back. He just had a tough time against the Greek Freak.
Shake Milton: B-
Again, Milton didn’t get a look until the second half, but he was able to stay ready and he pushed the pace for the Sixers. He had some tough moments on defense, but he played well as a ball-handler. He was a positive in his minutes out on the floor.