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“Hashtag Raise The Cat”: Sixers 114, Bucks 109


NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers entered Milwaukee on the tail end of a back-to-back and despite looking winded at times in the second half, still managed to hang on for a 114-109 victory.

The game started out back and forth in the first quarter, however poor front court defense from Nerlens Noel and precision shooting from Greg Monroe inside the paint catapulted the Bucks to a lead. The Bucks in total scored 39 (!!) first quarter points, 28 of which came from inside the paint. Nerlens Noel appeared rather helpless in defending Greg Monroe. It was not a good quarter for the Sixers center, although he’d make up for it quite all right later in the game.

The second quarter came around and the tide of the game changed rapidly. Down 51-41 at one point in the 2nd quarter, the Sixers went on an incredible 27-4 run to take a 14-point lead going into the locker room at halftime, and they accomplished this in part due to a plethora of assists. The Sixers put on an offensive clinic while clamping down defensively amidst Milwaukee bricking everything in sight. Despite being down 10 at one point in the second quarter, the Sixers went into the locker room at halftime with 72 (!!!!!) points and up 14 on Milwaukee, made all the more impressive by the fact that the Sixers were without Joel Embiid tonight. Oh by the way, Ben Simmons had yet to play a minute this season!

The Sixers came out of the third quarter losing much of the traction they had gained in the 2nd quarter. The Sixers went the first three minutes of the quarter without scoring a single point, allowing the Bucks to slowly but surely climb back in to the game and to even take some brief leads in the fourth quarter.

It all unraveled for the Bucks though in the final minute. Up a point, they fouled Nerlens Noel on an inbounds pass sending him to the line. Noel converted both for a lead the Sixers never relinquished, and he padded the margin with the game-icing jumper shortly afterwards. The Bucks rather hilariously ended the game for themselves when Greg Monroe’s inbounds pass sailed well over Giannis Antetokounmpo and out of bounds giving the Sixers the ball and the opportunity for Ersan Ilyasova to connect on the free throws to clinch the win for the Sixers.

Other notes from the game:

  • The Sixers concluded the game with 32 assists, marking this the first time in 25 years the Sixers have put up that many assists in consecutive games. An incredible 13 of those assists belonged to T.J. McConnell who continues to successfully carve out a role for himself as an NBA player.
  • Despite his game-ending parabola to no one, Greg Monroe was a problem for the Sixers all evening long. Monroe converted on 11 of his 17 field goal attempts for a total of 28 points in 29 minutes off the bench, regularly torching Noel and Richaun Holmes. Monroe also finished the game second on his team in rebounds with nine, although he was still short of Giannis’s 12.
  • Speaking of which, the Sixers did a good job on Giannis. Coming off a monstrous performance against the Rockets on Monday night, Giannis shot a rather pedestrian 7-19 and was ice cold from beyond the arc, connecting on zero of his seven attempts from downtown.
  • The Sixers scored 114 points on the evening and their leading point scorer was....Gerald Henderson? Yes, Gerald Henderson led the Sixers with 20 points on 7-11 shooting. Truly though this was a team effort from the Sixers as Noel put up 16 points while Ilyasova and Dario Saric each scored 17 points apiece.
  • Speaking of Noel, despite his Monroe problems, he contributed in other ways tonight. Noel picked up a total of 13 rebounds in addition to his 16-point performance on 5-9 shooting for a respectable double-double. Noel is a really good player and probably should not be traded.
  • The Bucks have recently been among the NBA’s worst teams defensively, but even they have to feel somewhat let down by 72 first half points against the Sixers without Joel Embiid.
  • There was a moment between Noel free throws when the Sixers had amassed a precise total of 69 first half points and all was nice in the world.
  • The more this continues, the more Playoff Sixers seems like it might actually be an achievable goal. Many predicted the Sixers would lose to both the Clippers and the Bucks, and in fact they beat them both. The Sixers are currently 5.5 games behind eighth-seeded Chicago with three other teams ahead of the Sixers and behind the Bulls - one of those teams being the very same Bucks the Sixers defeated tonight. A Sixers playoff berth is not exactly likely, but it’s also not impossible either and currently no team in the NBA is hotter.
  • Chasson Randle DNP-CD.

Up next for the Sixers is a return home to the Wells Fargo Center for a Friday night game against the very same Rockets the Bucks went off on earlier this week.

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