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Joel Embiid comes up huge late as shorthanded Sixers beat Bucks

It wasn’t the most efficient night, but Joel Embiid was a two-way monster down the stretch as the Sixers beat the Bucks despite missing three starters.

Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sixers returned to action Friday night when they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 110-102. Philly once again found themselves down a starter as Tobias Harris missed tonight’s action with left hip soreness and lost Tyrese Maxey to a left foot injury just before halftime. Despite the injuries, the Sixers were able to pull out a gutsy win behind 32 points and 11 rebounds from Joel Embiid.

Here are some instant takeaways from the victory.

First Quarter

  • The star power was truly on display as soon as this one tipped off. Giannis Antetokounmpo landed the first punch, shaking Embiid to get to the rim for a powerful dunk. Embiid got his revenge just a couple of possessions later with this monstrous block.
  • Things would cool down for the Sixers after that, as they turned the ball over five times and shot 45 percent in the quarter. Brook Lopez continues to do one of the best jobs in the league guarding Embiid. Milwaukee shot 59 percent in the first, jumping out to a 10-point lead.

Second Quarter

  • Philly’s offense came alive in the second thanks in large part to Tyrese Maxey. Maxey’s 24-point first half singlehandedly kept the Sixers within striking distance, which made it even more of a mood killer when he hurt his left foot right before halftime and had to leave the game. He would not return to this one with what is being called a left foot injury. He will reportedly get an MRI, but X-rays are negative.
  • The biggest reason the Bucks went into the half with the lead was the Sixers getting in their own way. They shot 56 percent from three in the first half, but turned the ball over 11 times and were out rebounded 30-21.

Third Quarter

  • Despite the grim Maxey news at the half, the Sixers didn’t immediately roll over and die. Joel Embiid came alive offensively, putting up 13 of his 32 points in the third. De’Anthony Melton, who was held scoreless in the first half, showed some much needed life offensively. The Sixers needed all 17 of Georges Niang’s points on the night as well, he shot 4 of 8 from downtown.
  • The Sixers played tremendous defense in the third as they took the lead, and they did it with a lot of funky lineups. Rivers rolled out double big lineups with both Embiid and Reed and Reed and Harrell. It is worth pointing out that Paul Reed once again did a really good job staying in front of Giannis. The Sixers held the Bucks to 43 percent shooting in the quarter to take a five-point lead into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter

  • Another bench guy who stepped up in the absence of Maxey was Shake Milton. Milton’s down moments have looked very bad this year, but his ability to dribble and be a warm body helped this team in a pinch. He gave Philly 15 points and seven assists while playing most of the second half.
  • The Sixers played tremendous defense throughout the second half, and while Giannis missing 11 free throws certainly helps, they deserve a lot of credit for holding the Bucks to 40 second-half points.
  • It is really incredible how automatic Embiid has become in the midrange. It’s something he’s always been good at, but this year it feels like he has taken it to another level. He is so comfortable with the one dribble pull-up, as he used that move to close this one out. Another dominating performance from the big fella.

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