On Christmas Day this season, the 76ers looked like the main team in the East that would give the Bucks trouble. However, Milwaukee had a convincing win over Philadelphia earlier this month. The Bucks defeated the 76ers handily tonight, proving the game two weeks ago was no fluke. They used a 37-point third quarter to pull away from Philly, handing the 76ers their 20th road loss of the season.
The Bucks were led early and often by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds, and 8 assists in just 29 minutes of play. Giannis did his damage on 12-17 shooting (2-5 from behind the arc) and 5-8 from the free throw line. He impressed the crowd tonight with a turn-around fade-away mid-range jump shot that he knocked down with ease multiple times. Analysts have always said that once Giannis develops a reliable jumper, he will be the most dangerous scorer in the NBA. He showed flashes of that tonight. This was Giannis’s 40th game this season with 20+ points and 10+ rebounds, which is the most in the NBA.
Khris Middleton continued his torrid shooting season with 25 points on 10-15 shooting (2-6 from behind the arc) and was 3-3 from the free throw line. He remains on pace to join the exclusive 50-40-90 club by season’s end. If he can keep pace, it would mark the second year in a row the Bucks had a player attain those numbers (Malcolm Brogdon). Eric Bledsoe and Robin Lopez had 12 points apiece.
The cold-shooting 76ers were led by the self-proclaimed best player in the world, Joel Emiid, who once again struggled against the Bucks. Emiid only shot 5-18 from the floor and had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz also had 17 points apiece off the bench. Ben Simmons exited the game after just 5 minutes with a nagging back injury.
The 76ers are now a measly 9-20 on the road this season. Their road winning percentage is the worst among playoff contending teams. This includes Brooklyn and Orlando, who both have overall losing records.
The Bucks defeated the 76ers 112-101 at home on February 6.
Despite their abysmal road record, Philly still has the best home record in the NBA (26-2).
The Bucks improved their home record to 26-3.
Khris Middleton is averaging 24.8 points over his last 10 games. He also is shooting over 50% from behind the arc during that span.
Giannis had his 45th double-double, tying him for most in the league. Andre Drummond is the only other player with as many double-doubles.
Giannis improved his 3-pt% to 30.9, which is higher than Russell Westbrook’s.
The Bucks’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 2.