Clank! Three Observations from Bucks 107, Sixers 95

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

You probably shouldn’t expect much from the Sixers when they’re playing a back-to-back on the road minus Joel Embiid and JJ Redick.

But even though the team couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from three-point range last night, they somehow went into halftime down by just two points. They got to the foul line, hit their free throws, and did some damage in the paint. It was everywhere else on the floor that turned out to be a struggle.

They really didn’t turn the ball over too much (14 times) or commit too many personal fouls (17), both of which were below their season averages. It was an atypical performance, and it wasn’t until the second half that a full-strength Milwaukee began to pull away, as the Sixers petered out while looking defensively vulnerable without Embiid in the paint.

They’re 22-15 with Joel and 2-8 without him, so the Sixers are who we thought they were – another NBA team that’s heavily reliant on transcendent, All-Star level talent.

 

1) Giannis

31, 18, and 6 for the Greek Freak, who didn’t play the first matchup in Philadelphia.

They just struggled with his length, and while Antetokounmpo didn’t destroy the Sixers from the field, he went 10-10 from the free throw line to supplement a 10-22 shooting effort. That’s a FG% around 45.5, which is below his season average of 54.8.

This is a play that doesn’t happen if Embiid is on the floor:

Giannis basically just drives against a sagging defense and gets up over Dario Saric for the bucket anyway. It’s very Ben Simmons-esque stuff, where you can give yourself the defensive space to operate, and he’ll still find a way to drive to the rim.

Again, doesn’t happen with Embiid in the game.

Another thing Giannis does well is adjust his approach based on matchup. You’ve seen Simmons take smaller defenders from the perimeter into the post, yea?

Antetokounmpo opened the game with two straight possessions where he brought Robert Covington towards the paint and used his athleticism to attack the rim:

He has a way of making defenders look completely outmatched, and I guess that’s what happens when you’re 6’11” with a 7’0″ wing span.

 

2) Rolling to the basket

The Sixers again had trouble with the pick and roll last night, same as the Oklahoma City game.

I grabbed two clips that weren’t middle pick and rolls, but corner sets where Milwaukee would roll their screen setter back along the baseline towards the rim while the Sixers fell asleep.

On this one, John Henson screens Ben Simmons, then rolls to the rack for the alley oop from the curler:

Simmons gets lost and Amir Johnson isn’t really in position to make a play.

Here the Sixers defend it better, with Covington fighting through the pick to stay with Jason Terry, but Trevor Booker loses Henson when Milwaukee swings it out to Malcolm Brogdon for the drive and kick out:

There was some middle pick and roll in there, too, but the Sixers just had trouble tracking Henson on the baseline. That’s something else that probably changes with Embiid in the lineup, but Milwaukee moved the ball well last night, putting up 26 assists against a season average of 22.6.

 

3) Shooting for shit

The Sixers started 0-18 from three point range before James Young hit with 3:15 in the third quarter.

They went on to finish 2-26 (7.7%) for the worst three-point number they’ve put up since the 2014 season. They were averaging 10.4 made threes on 29 attempts this season at a clip of 35.9%.

Individually, here’s how the Sixers did from three last night:

  • Dario Saric: 0-8
  • Robert Covington: 1-8
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot: 0-4
  • Richaun Holmes: 0-2
  • Larry Drew: 0-1
  • Justin Anderson: 0-1
  • James Young: 1-2

So yea, that’s not great. According to basketball-reference.com, the only time they’ve shot the three-ball worse than 7.7% in the Brett Brown era was a 1-20 (5%) effort in Chicago a few years back. They also had a 0-8 night in Portland in 2014, so I guess that counts, too.

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4 Responses

  1. Hey Kinker,

    No one cares about a half wit sixers team when the eagles are playing in the SB.
    Maybe you could do an article on the TE from each team etc.

    Any chance you know what happened to Kyle dog shirt money?
    Is he donating it to charity like Lane Johnson and the NFL is doing?

  2. Not impressed with Milwaukee. If we somehow play them in a 4-5 matchup I think Sixers win fairly easily

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