‘Everybody Started Clapping’: Sixers Beat Bucks Amid Unnecessary Drama

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo battle during the Sixers' 110-102 win over the Bucks.

The Philadelphia 76ers have pushed their winning streak to three straight games following a gutsy 110-102 win. It marked their first triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks at Wells Fargo Center since December 25, 2019.

More impressively, the Sixers accomplished the feat without Tobias Harris (left hip soreness) and James Harden (right foot tendon strain) in the starting five. They also watched Tyrese Maxey exit the contest at halftime due to a twisted ankle. According to Doc Rivers, he was in a walking boot and an MRI is scheduled for Saturday.

“It does suck,” Joel Embiid said. “So, I’m just going to hope and pray that nothing is wrong. More imaging tomorrow.”

Maxey wasn’t available to the media following the game. He most likely needed to process the injury and clear his mind. No one is sure what lies ahead, although Georges Niang revealed that the happy-go-lucky kid from Texas remained in high spirits after the injury. His trademark smile never left his face.

“I don’t know the details, but he was smiling back there,” Niang said. “I know he was happy as heck that we won so that’s the biggest thing, and I hope he gets healthy really soon.”

Embiid carried the load with 32 points and 11 rebounds, perhaps a bit underwhelming after his 59-point performance. Maxey had 24 points in 20 minutes, with Niang adding 17 points to help close it out. Philadelphia gets right back to work on Saturday (November 19) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Wells Fargo Center. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

Sixers 110, Bucks 102: 5 Things We Saw at The Center

Locking All Windows & Doors: To borrow a Marc Zumoff colloquialism, the Sixers locked all windows and doors in the third quarter. They outscored Milwaukee 34-22 while holding Giannis Antetokounmpo to just 8 points in the frame. P.J. Tucker was a menace in the paint and finished +11. Ditto for Paul Reed and Montrezl Harrell who swarmed and crowded the Bucks big man late in the contest when Embiid was resting.

Doc Rivers said: “If somebody didn’t watch this game, they are going to look at the box score and see P.J. Tucker – 0-for-1, 4 rebounds, 2 assists – and he may have been our most important player on the floor tonight. And I said that to our guys and everybody started clapping because they saw it.”

Trusting the Role Players: Rivers was trying to squeeze blood from a turnip on offense. No Tyrese Maxey. No Tobias Harris. No James Harden. Their absences meant chunk minutes for his all-bench crew — Danuel House (9 points), Shake Milton (15 points), Georges Niang (17 points) — and the veteran role players delivered in bunches, along with fill-in starter De’Anthony Melton. It was Milton and Melton sharing the point-guard responsibilities down the stretch, with Milton running the pick-and-roll game to perfection with Embiid.

“Those guys are buying in, and that’s the key,” Embiid said. “When you got guys that buy in to what we’re trying to do, you’re going to go places, and I think those guys have done it, and that’s why we’ve been able to be so good defensively. And then offensively we still have our nights where we go cold, but that should never stop us from scoring. We got so many options where we can find ways to score.”

Biggest Shots of the Game: House swished a 13-footer to beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter. It stopped a 5-0 Milwaukee run and ensured the Sixers owned an 89-84 lead heading into the fourth. That was a big shot indeed. However, Melton’s off-balance triple with 4:19 left in the game was arguably even bigger. It pushed the lead to 102-99 and Philadelphia never trailed again.

“I thought one of the biggest shots of the game was D-House’s at the end of the third,” Rivers said. “They were making a run. He scores that two and we knew they had the ball first, so I thought that was a big shot for us.”

Waiting for Maxey’s MRI: The biggest bummer came when Tyrese Maxey was fouled going to the rack at the 1:34 mark of the second quarter. The third-year guard rolled his ankle hard and limped off into the stands behind the first row. He walked it off and attempted two free throws before exiting. He never returned. The Sixers ruled him out with a left foot injury, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojanorowski reporting that he’ll have an MRI on Saturday. The entire city will be praying for a negative result.

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Breaking the Streak, Free Chicken: The Sixers finally got the proverbial monkey off their back, beating the one Eastern Conference foe who had eluded them for three years. The 110-102 victory was their first dub over Milwaukee at Wells Fargo Center since December 25, 2019. Philly had lost 7 out of 8 versus the Bucks going into Friday night. The bad-luck streak is over. More importantly, everyone got free chicken. Antetokounmpo went 4-of-15 from the free-throw line, including bricking both attempts on three trips to cash in a favorite new Chick-fil-A tradition.

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