Much like the Miami game, the Sixers looked competitive through the first half on Thursday night, showing well enough in the energy and effort department. They fell apart in the second half of that loss, but in Milwaukee they kept it close in the fourth quarter, cutting a double-digit Bucks lead to six points.

But they just didn’t have enough firepower to hang with the NBA’s best team, not enough to make up for a 6-26 Joel Embiid shooting night, which included a 3-10 three point mark. They didn’t have enough to make up for Ben Simmons only attempting only six field goals on the entire night. Even when the Sixers were scoring, every offensive possession looked infinitely more challenging than what the Bucks were able to do with their trips down the floor.

Brett Brown’s team wasn’t favored to win this game, and they wouldn’t have been favored even if they had been playing better in recent weeks. It’s certainly not the worst thing in the world to lose on the road to the Bucks, but with the way things are going in Philadelphia, this was a prime opportunity to come out after a reported players only meeting and ‘prove a point,’ ‘make a statement,’ ‘right the ship,’ or whatever cliche you wanna use.

Instead, they’ll have to turn around quickly tonight and get back to winning ways at home against Memphis, with three games in a row at the Wells Fargo Center before hitting the All-Star break.

Answering offense with offense

The game was lost for the Sixers after a tough fourth quarter stretch in which Milwaukee just wouldn’t miss.

Philly scraped together a 6-0 run to pull within six points at the 8:41 mark, which resulted in Mike Budenholzer calling a timeout. After that stoppage, the Bucks hit six straight shots to push their lead back to 11 and kill off the Philly run.

I think the first three of those shots were way too easy, and the final shot was a Brook Lopez fall-away hook shot, one where you throw your hands up and say, ‘alright, they can’t miss, it is what it is.’

Here are those shots:


It was a six point run, a six point lead, and then six straight shots. 666 is the Number of the Beast, and a great Iron Maiden song.

Embiid’s performance

There was a lot of talk about his taped-up hand last night on social media.

I’m sure it was bothering him. I’m sure it bothered him in the last game and the game before that, but we also watched him put up 20+ points against Golden State, Atlanta, and Miami, and he looked decent enough shooting the ball in those performances.

Joel took more shots than anybody last night, 26 in total. 10 were three pointers. When you go back and look through his reel from last night, you see him front-rimming a lot of his early threes, and he’s fading away from contact and trying to draw rip-through fouls instead of trying to get to the rack. Here’s a sampling of some of those shots:

Milwaukee, schematically, will sag like that and allow bigs to shoot threes all night long. They’re a paint-packing team and played Philly very similar to the way Toronto did a couple of weeks ago. As such, you saw a lot of Ben Simmons doing his typical ‘stop at the foul line and twist in the air and kick the ball out’ because of that.

But to the point of Embiid’s hand, they could have quite possibly just kept him on the shelf until the All-Star break. They had won five of six prior to his return, one against a great Lakers team and the other four against lesser opponents, but still, they looked more fluid offensively with Simmons playing his brand of basketball sans Joel. Obviously they had a big stretch on the horizon and I’m sure he was antsy to get back on the floor, so that’s how it played out.

I don’t know how much of Embiid’s shooting night in Milwaukee was the result of guide hand issues, contact avoidance, or simply missing open shots that the Bucks were willing to concede. Sure he’s not 100%, but we’ve been down this road with him before. He’s just gonna have to play through stuff like this.

The Cleveland Browns

Charles Barkley, before the game, said the Sixers are soft and resemble the Cleveland Browns.


Agree with most of that, but the Browns were completely dysfunctional for a looooooong time. The Sixers won 50 games two seasons in a row and took the Raptors to seven games last season. The Browns haven’t even won a playoff game since 1994.

Other notes

  • If you took the Draftkings Ben Simmons “first to score” promo, you lost your bet but earned $35 in a free bet.
  • Reggie Miller is saying “Korks-maz” again. He said this the last time he called a Sixers game. We also got a Pat “Connington” from him.
  • Giannis airballed his first shot and still put up 36 points. That’s what drives me nuts about Simmons, because he’s not even willing to attempt and miss those same looks.
  • Kevin Harlan is the best play-by-play guy in the business
  • Marial Shayok made his NBA debut last night, shot 1-3 (all from three), and obviously looked a little raw defensively against a team like Milwaukee.
  • Tobias Harris and Al Horford shot 10-18 from three last night. They were 5-17 and 0-5 from two-point range, respectively.
  • 30 points in the paint for the Sixers and 45 three point attempts. Similar to the Toronto game in that they just took what they were given and tried to fire away from deep. They were 42% from three (good) but 37.4% overall (not good).

More Sixers basketball tonight!