Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey lead Sixers in upset of Bucks

The Philadelphia 76ers had one final game entering the All-Star break before they can officially welcome James Harden to the team and their matchup just happened to be the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. Without Harden, this seemed like this would be a tough night for Philadelphia.

However, Joel Embiid had himself another big night and they got a big flurry out of Tyrese Maxey in the second quarter to help spur the Sixers to a 123-120 victory. Embiid finished with 42 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists and Maxey had 19 with 14 coming in the second quarter to give the Sixers a much-needed push going into halftime. Maxey and the Sixers were able to turn a 12-point deficit in the second quarter into an 8-point halftime lead.

Tobias Harris added 19 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, Georges Niang had 18 points and six rebounds, and Furkan Korkmaz added 13 and seven rebounds.

Here are the player grades following the upset win:

This was going to be a tough matchup for Maxey considering the opponent, the length that Milwaukee offers, and the fact that he had to go up against defensive savant Jrue Holiday. He was not able to get into the paint as often as he usually does and when he did, he was met with a lot of hands which made his life even tougher on offense. However, a little pep talk from Harden seemed to ignite Maxey as he then scored the 14 points in the second quarter to give Philadelphia the lead going into the half. Other than that flurry, however, he had a tough night.

Once again, Thybulle was able to make an impact on the defensive end. He was able to use his length and his instincts to be able to make some plays happen on that end, but he has got to start taking advantage of these open looks he gets from deep. He had a good look that he pulled the trigger on, but he just missed it. The Bucks are also such a good defensive team that Thybulle couldn’t get any open looks off his cuts. He did not get much time in the second half as the Sixers could not count on him to provide offense.

With the challenge of defending Giannis Antetokounmpo facing them and not having the option of just throwing Ben Simmons onto him, the Sixers made an adjustment and started Niang. The Minivan defended Antetokounmpo pretty well all things considered. He is not the quickest guy in the world so he used his strength to be able to stay with him and bother him a bit, but that just meant others were able to get easy looks with the attention on the finals MVP. One doesn’t stop Antetokounmpo, he can only be contained, and Niang did a solid job. He also provided some offense in this one so this was a good night for him.

After taking only seven shots all night in the loss on Tuesday, Harris was much more aggressive in this one as he was constantly getting to the basket in the early part of this game. He had 10 points on nine shots in the first quarter which are both more than he had on Tuesday. He then attacked the glass with aggression and there was a lot that he was able to provide in this one. This was a good bounce-back game for him.

The big fella was again getting waves of defenders sent towards him from the Bucks, but he handled it well as he was able to step outside and knock down some triples to give himself some space. He also got the help he needed from Harris so Milwaukee was not able to stay consistent with the doubles. Even when they did send those defenders, it really didn’t matter. Embiid was dominant all night long and the Bucks truly did not have an answer for him whatsoever.

Considering his offensive struggles throughout the season, knocking down a triple in the early going was a good sign for Korkmaz. That then seemed to get him going as he actually got the start in the third quarter. He knocked down a triple in one corner and then drilled another triple in the opposite corner to give Philadelphia some cushion.

Just like everybody else, Milton was much better in this one than he was on Tuesday. He was able to get some shots to fall and he was aggressive getting into the paint. Again, good things happen when a player can get into the paint and make the defense scramble a bit. Milton was able to do that in this one. He was efficient with his shot and he grabbed some rebounds. This was a good night for him.

Considering this was only his second game since Jan. 13, the 16-year veteran looked pretty spry. He had one possession where he grabbed a rebound and immediately brought the ball up the floor and he threw a nice pass to a cutting Milton. That then set up Korkmaz for an open triple.

When Niang went to the bench, the Sixers turned to Green to defend Antetokounmpo. That wasn’t the greatest idea as the Greek Freak barreled through him every chance he got. Green also missed all three of his triples in this one.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.