Monday’s Sixers-Bucks game was worth turning off after Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first points of the game. When Brett Brown was forced to call a timeout just three minutes and 18 seconds into the first frame after Milwaukee opened the game on a 12-2 run, it was probably time to find something more entertaining to watch.
But for those who stuck around to observe all four quarters, they were treated to a 112-98 shellacking at the hands of a Bucks team that put on an absolute clinic offensively. It was Philadelphia’s third loss double-digit loss in the past four games.
To provide some legitimate analysis to a game that really doesn’t deserve it, Milwaukee dominated both ends of the floor from the jump. Their length on the defensive end, coupled with the Sixers lack of competent ball handlers, made it impossible for the Sixers to score. Penetration into the lane was rare, and any open window to get off a perimeter jumper was quickly closed down by the Bucks’ long-armed wings.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Bucks put on a passing clinic that would’ve made the Harlem Globetrotters blush. Dribble penetration came easy for them, and when the defense collapsed, Milwaukee moved the ball around the perimeter until they created a wide open look. They shot 9-16 from beyond the arc in the first half, and 14-33 on the evening. Tony Snell, who typically averages just 8.0 points per game, finished the game with 21 points while shooting 5-7 from three-point range. In typical Antetokounmpo fashion, he added a game-high 24 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks. Milwaukee did an excellent job scoring around the rim too, using a plethora of screens and backdoor cuts to create easy layup opportunities for the guards. None of it was all that creative, however. They simply just took advantage of a Sixers team that looked sluggish and struggled to communicate and switch on defense.
If there were any positives on the evening, it was the play of 10-day contract signee Shawn Long. Brought up from the Delaware 87ers on Monday afternoon, the Sixers threw him straight into game action, and saw some good results. Long put up 13 points and 7 rebounds in 15 minutes, and was a team best +13. He would register his first career block by stuffing a Greg Monroe jump hook, and would score his first NBA points on a buzzer-beating layup right before halftime. Later in the game, he would finish an acrobatic layup over his head while being fouled, and soon after after knocked down his only three attempt of the game. Not a bad night from the rookie.
Justin Anderson also provided some energy and hustle off the bench in an otherwise listless game. He finished the evening with 19 points on 9-16 shooting, but did go 0-6 from three. For those still reeling from the Nerlens Noel trade, it’s nice to see him contribute in some facet.
Unfortunately, we’ve hit the point in this Sixers season where their lack of healthy, available talent is going to get them blown out on a more consistent basis. It’s disheartening, but true nonetheless. All there is to do at this point is attempt to enjoy the beauty of Dario Saric’s passes, the occasional nice dunk from Justin Anderson, and count down the days to the draft lottery. It’ll be here before you know it.
Philadelphia has two days off before a four-game west coast road trip. They’ll be back in action against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.