The Bucks went into Thursday’s match up against the Eastern Conference leading 76ers 3.5 games back with 16 games to go. Set up as the first of two consecutive games against the 76ers, the second being Saturday, the Bucks have an opportunity to close the gap. Tonight was the first step winning 124-117.
The Bucks got not only a head start but what seemed like a lap head start on the 76ers. As just a minute and a half in they were up already 10-0. The Bucks ballooned the lead to 20 points at 33-13 before ending the quarter 40-26. The Bucks maintained a double digit lead throughout the rest of the 1st half, and took a 17 point lead into the half.
Giannis is Still MVP
Giannis started off slow in terms of points in the first half. But played good defense, and got his teammates involved early. But in the second half, as the 76ers tried to claw their way back in, Giannis showed why he’s the reigning MVP. Giannis scored 19 points in the second half and finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Other Guy?…
Well like I said Giannis showed why he is the MVP, but there was another MVP candidate on the court. Joel Embiid is not only having a really strong year, but had another strong performance. Embiid finished with 24 points, three assists, and three rebounds in three quarters of play. But, it wasn’t the Embiid/Giannis show that we were hoping for.
The Bucks Bench
The Bucks bench, or at least Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis had big impacts on the game combining for seven three pointers and 33 points. Portis alone was 5-5 from three with 23 points. The other player that stood out not for his offense, was PJ Tucker. His defensive versatility and toughness was huge in guarding Embiid and switching in the pick and roll.
What Does This Mean?
On the surface the Bucks gained a game on the 76ers, with another one to play on Saturday. But more importantly, this game showed that the Bucks not only can play with but beat the 76ers as we get close to the playoffs. Also for the first time in a while the Bucks were fully healthy.
76ers (39-22)vs Bucks(36-22)
At Fiserv Forum
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