76ers use ‘some pop’ late to finish Bucks’ 16-game successful streak

MILWAUKEE — Despite falling behind by as many as 18 factors within the third quarter, the Philadelphia 76ers rallied for a 133-130 victory towards the Bucks on Saturday night time, snapping Milwaukee’s 16-game successful streak.

James Harden scored 38 factors and dished out 10 assists, and Joel Embiid added 31 factors and likewise collected 10 assists, making them the primary pair of teammates with 30 factors and 10 assists in the identical recreation since 1979.

The Sixers outscored the Bucks through the fourth quarter 48-31, probably the most factors the crew had posted through the ultimate interval since 1972.

“Give ourselves a chance. That was that whole fourth quarter,” Harden stated afterward. “I feel like they had us that entire game, and then, that fourth quarter, we came out with some pop.”

Harden and Embiid offered the pop with a pick-and-roll recreation for which Milwaukee had no solutions. Philadelphia generated 32 factors instantly off the Harden-Embiid pick-and-roll mixture, and at 1.70 factors per likelihood, it was their best recreation within the common season since changing into teammates, based on Second Spectrum analysis.

The Sixers repeatedly dialed up that motion throughout their fourth-quarter comeback, which allowed Harden to choose aside the Bucks’ protection. He scored 19 factors on 5-of-9 taking pictures within the fourth quarter — probably the most factors he has scored in a single quarter since Dec. 28, 2020, when he was with the Houston Rockets — with 4 assists and knocked down all seven of his free throws.

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“That’s what I do,” Harden stated. “I’m very comfortable in those situations, whether it’s playmaking or scoring. I’ve been doing it for a long time. So that’s just me out there playing basketball.”

When the Bucks despatched further assistance on the star duo, the Sixers discovered Georges Niang left open to punish Milwaukee from past the arc. Niang knocked down 4 of his 5 3-pointers through the fourth quarter.

“I thought James made great decisions,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers stated. “He was obviously a scorer tonight, but he also was a point guard too.

“First half, I believed he was aggressive attempting to attain. Second half, he scored, however he was enjoying like an aggressive level guard. I believed the second half was higher as a result of he not solely scored however he assisted, as nicely.”

The Bucks were handed their first loss since Jan 21, shrinking their lead to a half-game over the Boston Celtics for the best record in the NBA despite strong performances from Milwaukee’s stars. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 34 points and 13 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez added 26 points apiece.

But Milwaukee’s normally staunch defense — the Bucks began Saturday first in the NBA in defensive efficiency — had some uncharacteristic breakdowns in the fourth quarter and in crunch time.

“We did a very good job the primary three quarters,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, the fourth quarter, lot of free throws, they made some robust 3s; it was mainly our recreation … however they got here out [and] they had been aggressive, they moved the ball, bought downhill to the paint.”

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The Sixers, who are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference, secured the victory despite two of their starters leaving early due to injury. Tobias Harris didn’t play in the second half after experiencing left calf soreness. P.J. Tucker exited in the third quarter with back spasms, and he didn’t return. Rivers was not sure about the severity of either player’s injury after the game, but he also was not optimistic either would be ready to play in Monday’s game at the Indiana Pacers.

So it was a much-needed win for the Sixers, especially considering their tough schedule to close out the season, including games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks and Bucks.

“It’s good, having a majority of these video games, particularly with our schedule the remainder of the best way,” Embiid said. “It’s good for us, prepares us for the playoffs. It’s good and dangerous. Good as a result of you understand you are capable of do it, but it surely’s additionally dangerous since you put your self in that place [down 18]. So perhaps we should always attempt to discover a option to not put ourselves in these positions within the first place so we do not have to do it once more.”