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Sixers Outlast Bucks in Eastern Conference Heavyweight Matchup to Win 130-125

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Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career-high 52 points not enough as Sixers get another well-balanced attack for the win.

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

Early on, the game looked like it was going to be a slopfest of bad shooting, bad dribbling, bad passing, bad... basketball.

That was until Ben Simmons decided to channel the power of Mount Vesuvius and destroy any sort of hope this rim had at having a prosperous future.

The game then opened up into a very entertaining slugfest, as both teams hammered home a few dunks and hit countering threes for the entire first half.

On Saint Patrick’s Day, Mike Scott took a dive into the stands to get an assist and some brew.

The Sixers looked to build a lead at the end of the first half, as they went up 12 with five minutes to play. Philadelphia paid ample attention to Giannis on the defensive end and stayed vertical when guarding him and it worked rather well. With Embiid as his primary defender in the first half, they held Giannis to just 5-of-13 shooting from the field. The only times he got to the line were on T.J. McConnell’s egregious foul at the end of the first quarter, and one other time late in the first half. Overall, the Sixers defense was not completely stellar, as they got fortunate on a handful of open shots from the Bucks. Khris Middleton, Nikola Mirotic, and Brook Lopez combined to go 3-of-15 from deep.

Philadelphia took a 62-53 lead at halftime and the Bucks cut it down to a 7-point lead after the third quarter. Giannis tacked on 17 points in the third quarter, as for a long stretch, Boban Marjanovic was tasked with guarding him.

The Sixers then opened the 4th quarter on a 9-4 run with Giannis on the bench. Once he checked back in, he did his best to take over and will the Bucks back into the game. However, Joel Hans Embiid and Jimmy Butler were having none of it. Jimmy did Jimmy things and was the team’s initiator on offense down the stretch. 14 of his 27 points came in the fourth quarter.

Giannis finished with a career-high 52 points, along with 16 rebounds and seven assists.

Joel Embiid put up a monstrous line of 40 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Jimmy Butler finished with an incredibly efficient 27 points on 16 shots. He took over down the stretch and looked like a playoff Weapon X that the Sixers need.

JJ Redick shot a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc for 19 points.

The Sixers now have a one-game lead over the Pacers for third place in the Eastern Conference. They will take on the Hornets in Charlotte Tuesday night, without the services of Joel Embiid, who will be a DNP-load management.