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76ers 130, Bucks 125: Last Word

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks fell at home to the Philadelphia 76ers 130-125.

Player of the game: Joel Embiid

Embiid was terrific Sunday afternoon. He finished with 40 points on 15-31 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds. It seemed like Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo went back and forth all night long.

Giannis and Embiid are two of the best players in the Eastern Conference and these two teams could very well meet in the playoffs. If Sunday is any indication on what we could see in the postseason it would make for a great series.

Play of the game: Giannis puts Ben Simmons on a poster

Giannis was on the attack all game long. His eyes lit up when he had Simmons in the post, and he gave us another highlight.

After the game, Simmons said he enjoyed guarding Giannis.

He’s the main guy on their team. Obviously, he’s a tremendous player. I love taking the challenge of guarding someone like that.

The good: Never gave up

The Bucks entered the game already short-handed. Malcolm Brogdon didn’t play and will miss a significant amount of time after being diagnosed with a minor plantar fascia tear in his right foot. They were able to play good enough to win without him but just failed to knock down some open shots. The 76ers made some tough shots late in the game to finally put the Bucks away. Milwaukee never seemed out of it. They kept fighting and clawing all the way to the end. This is what makes them so hard to beat.

The not so good: Slow start

Milwaukee had trouble from the start getting anything going. They shot just 32.3% in the first quarter and were down by nine (62-53) by halftime. Khris Middleton shared his thoughts on the slow start.

I don’t know. We started like that in Miami and were able to turn it around. Tonight, not so much. But, we got a lot of great looks. The open shots just didn’t go in. We got great looks, and they’ve been going down most of the year. Guys still competed and played hard.

The Bucks have been able to combat slow starts this season with terrific second halves, but Philadelphia was just too much on Sunday. They can’t afford to have these kinds of cold-streaks in the playoffs.

The weird: Giannis draws shooting foul from half-court

They all say to never foul a jump-shooter, but it goes without saying to never foul someone attempting a half-court shot. That’s exactly what 76ers guard T.J. McConnell did with 0.4 seconds left in the first quarter. Giannis was just trying to get a shot off before the buzzer and ended up getting three free throws to end the quarter. You don’t see that every day.

Stat of the game: 52

Giannis finished with a career-high 52 points. He was unstoppable from all over the court. He was feeling it from deep knocking down three three-pointers. Giannis also had a field day from the free throw line converting on 19 of his 21 attempts. Head coach Mike Budenholzer talked about his performance.

He was impressive. The impact that he has on both ends, he just does so many things for us, attacking the basket and finishing, and defensively. We didn’t start off well and it took him a little bit of time to get his rhythm. I don’t know that we ever really recovered from that first six or eight-minute stretch. Certainly he gave us a chance and kind of put us on his back in the third quarter. Great individual performance by Giannis.

What they said:

Budenholzer on the loss

Individually a couple of their guys stepped up. I like the way our guys competed. We kind of fought back. They needed to make a couple of plays down the stretch and to their credit they did. We didn’t have our best game. We’ll learn from today and I think we’ll get better from today.”

76ers head coach Brett Brown on playing the Bucks in a tough home environment

To go and play against one of the more consistent teams in the league as it sits right now, the best team in the league and the best team on defense, and to try to learn and grow and move forward, there is some talent in that room. [Our team] understood the environment and the stage, and responded as they did.

In case you missed it:

*The Bucks still own the best record in the NBA at 52-18 and are the only team with 50 wins.

*Giannis scored a career-high 52 points on 15-26 shooting. This was the first 50-point game of his career.

*Giannis joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Bucks history with a 50-point, 15-rebound game. Abdul-Jabbar had three such games in his career.

*52 points is tied for eight most in a game in Bucks history and are the most since Brandon Jennings had 55 points on 11/14/09. This is just the 13th 50-point game in franchise history.

*D.J. Wilson recorded his fourth game in double figures this season, scoring 13 points on 5-8 shooting and 3-6 from beyond the arc.

What’s next?

The Bucks (52-18) host the Los Angeles Lakers (31-39) on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm.

Bucks fall short in San Antonio, lose 121-114

LaMarcus Aldridge (29) and DeMar DeRozan (28) combined for 57 points to lead the Spurs over the Bucks Sunday night. Milwaukee squandered a 15-point first quarter lead in their third straight road loss.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 13 rebounds. Eric Bledsoe chipped in with 21 points and six assists.

Toronto is now two-games back of Milwaukee for the first seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Bucks are 23-12 on the road this season, the league’s second-best mark behind Golden State (21-11).

Up next, Milwaukee will travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans Tuesday night at 7:00pm.

Bucks 131, Hornets 114: Last Word

Milwaukee | The Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to 50 wins Saturday night beating the Charlotte Hornets 131-114.

Player of the game: Brook Lopez

Lopez was outstanding for Milwaukee, especially in the third quarter. He scored 18 of his 25 points in the third frame. The Bucks continue to show they aren’t a one-trick pony. They can beat teams in many ways with different contributors.

It wasn’t just the offensive end where Lopez was effective. He was terrific defensively switching against Charlotte’s small-ball lineup. Lopez talked about it after the game.

It can be great. I’m very appreciative that my teammates and coaches show a lot of belief and trust when I’m switching one through five. That’s something I want to keep working and getting better at, and the only way to do that is to do it in a game.

Play of the game: Lopez drive and dunk

I didn’t know Lopez had this in him. He is such a threat from beyond the arc that he demands defenders to close-out on him. Lopez used Cody Zeller’s momentum against him to throw one down over Nicolas Batum.

The good: The third quarter

Like Thursday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee trailed by four (59-55) at the half. They shot 60% from the field and outscored Charlotte 39-28 in the third quarter. The Bucks got it done from the free throw line as well in the third frame with 14 makes on 17 attempts. Lopez was 8-8 and Giannis was 4-4 in the quarter. Hornets guard Devonte Graham shared his thoughts on the loss.

Felt like, in the third [quarter], they were very aggressive. They got to the line a lot. Giannis made some threes and they went on a roll.

The not so good: Khris Middleton

Middleton struggled Saturday night finding his shot. When the shots weren’t falling, he began to force things. He finished with nine points on 4-12 shooting in just over 28 minutes.

The weird: Free throw troubles

There was a weird moment early in the game. The referee forgot a free throw was already attempted before a timeout was taken. The Bucks were under the impression Zeller had two free throws. Giannis rebounded the miss, thinking it was a dead ball, and Zeller stole it and scored.

https://twitter.com/IKE_Bucks/status/1104575394051776512

Stat of the game: 14

The Bucks did a terrific job in the hustle stats as they hauled in 14 offensive rebounds which led to 19 second-chance points. Donte DiVincenzo was a major key that sparked the energy with a competitive sequence in the second-quarter resulting in a standing ovation from the Fiserv Forum crowd.

Head coach Mike Budenholzer raved about DiVincenzo’s performance.

He is another guy that gave us a huge spark. Obviously, making a couple shots is big, but the way he flies around and comes in for offensive rebounds and tip-outs, he just fills us with a great energy. It’s great to have him healthy and contributing again. He really helped us.

What they said:

Lopez on how Mirotic has strengthened their performance

It’s been fantastic. It just goes back to our versatility. We can go big or go small. Niko has been so great at shooting the ball and attacking the basket. Defensively, he’s been switching and doing his thing while playing with energy.

Hornets head coach James Borrego on the struggle guarding Giannis

You’ve got to be perfect. You have to be in the right spot. You hope he misses. You hope when he kicks the ball out to the other guys, they miss. They’re a talented, explosive offense. They’re built around Giannis and his ability to get to the rim.

In case you missed it:

*The Bucks improved their NBA-best overall record to 50-16 and their league-best home record to 27-5.

*This is Milwaukee’s first 50-win season since the 2000-01 campaign and just the second 50-win season in the last 30 years. Needing only 66 games to reach the 50-win mark, this is the third-fastest the Bucks have reached 50 wins in franchise history and the quickest since the 1971-72 season.

*This was the Bucks’ NBA-high-tying 13th game of the season with 130+ points. Only the 1969-70 (15) and 1970-71 (14) teams had more 130-point games in franchise history.

*Lopez recorded his third game of the season scoring 25+ points as he finished with 25 points on 7-11 shooting and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line.

*Nikola Mirotic scored 15+ points for the third time as a Buck with 18 points on 6-10 shooting.

What’s next?

The Bucks (50-16) begin a three-game road trip beginning in San Antonio tomorrow against the Spurs (37-29). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm.

Joe & Ebo Experience: Kuhn’s first audition

What to believe? (0:00)

Wisconsin Badgers Insider RJ Brachman (17:27)

Kuhn wins an Oscar (39:28)

Joe saves souls (53:35)

Bucks 117, Pacers 98: Last Word

Milwaukee | The Milwaukee Bucks put an end to their two-game losing streak with a commanding 117-98 win over the Indiana Pacers on national television Thursday night.

Player of the game: Giannis Antetokounmpo

I like to look for different players to give this to but it’s so hard not to go with the MVP candidate. Giannis finished with a game-high 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Pacers forward Thaddeus Young talked about how Giannis took over after being given a technical foul with under six minutes to go in the third quarter.

I think the turning point was when Giannis got the [technical foul]. The next play down, he imposed his will. He got a foul on me, got a dunk, and another dunk after that. I think that was the change in the game. We were coming back and actually in the game. That spurt put us down 10 or 12.

Giannis continues to come up huge in big moments and build his case for this season’s NBA MVP. If I had a vote (unfortunately I don’t) he would get my vote.

Play of the game: Giannis’ technical foul & Giannis dunk on Turner

I had to go with two for Thursday night’s “play of the game” because I couldn’t pick just one of these. First, Giannis was hit with a technical foul after arguing a blown-call on the previous possession. This sparked a 13-0 run as Milwaukee closed the quarter outscoring the Pacers 17-7. Until this play, the Bucks seemed a little flat throughout. The crowd at Fiserv Forum wasn’t fully invested and was uncharacteristically quiet through the first half of the game. It swung the momentum Milwaukee’s way and they didn’t look back.

Second, “Angry Giannis” did his best to hurt the ego of Myles Turner. He threw down a nasty dunk just a few possessions after he was T’d up.

The good: The finish

Milwaukee led by just four points (54-50) at the half. They flipped a switch midway through the third quarter and carried their high-energy play into the final frame. The Bucks outscored the Pacers 63-48 in the second-half. They were scorching hot from the field in the fourth quarter converting on 14-22 (63.6%) shots. We’ve seen this before from the Bucks. Sometimes they allow a team to hang around for a while but can go to another level and put teams away. The Golden State Warriors have been doing this for years.

The not so good: First-half Turnovers

It was a sloppy start for the Bucks offensively. They failed to take care of the ball turning it over nine times in the first half. Giannis had a lot of trouble early on operating against the Pacers’ stingy defense. He was responsible for three turnovers during the first two quarters.

Milwaukee committed just four turnovers in the second half finishing with 13 for the game.

The weird: Sterling Brown is good at geography

A fan had to race Brown in naming 50 states in 30 seconds. The fan put up a great effort naming 25 states, but it wasn’t even close to enough. Brown named all 50 states in 30 seconds in a video played during a timeout. He did it in a random order with no repeats. I highly doubt I could name 50 states even if you gave me the entire day to do it. Now, that’s impressive.

https://twitter.com/Bucks/status/1103837928936099841

After the game, Brown explained how he pulled it off.

Stat of the game: 50%

As a team, the Bucks shot 43-86 (50%) from the field. They improved to 21-1 this season when shooting 50% or better. The Bucks have out-shot their opponent in 49 games this season and own a 47-2 record in those contests. When they are on, they are tough to beat.

What they said:

Budenholzer on the win

I thought the ball movement, us sharing the ball, trusting the pass, trusting our teammates against a good defensive team, is what you have to do. I think when we have both ends of the court and raise our standards defensively and we play with each other and unselfishly like we did in the second half, good things happen. I’m pleased with the win.

Bledsoe on the difference between Thursday’s game with the last two

Nobody panicked. We lost two games but at the same time we have been in a position where we have done that before. We pulled out the win and congrats to my brother Khris.

Giannis on closing out the game

I’m just trying to play with energy. Down the stretch [Eric] Bledsoe and Khris [Middleton] did a great job of just finding me.

In case you missed it:

*Milwaukee improved its NBA-best home record to 26-5 with their third straight home win. The Bucks also improved their league-best overall record to 49-16.

*Thursday’s win secured a 3-1 season series win for the Bucks over the Pacers. They are now 13-1 against the Central Division, which is the best record for any team against its own division this season.

*The Bucks have now won an NBA-high 36 games this season by 10+ points, with 21 of those victories coming by 15+ points.

*Giannis recorded his NBA-high 35th game of the season scoring 25+ points and 10+ rebounds.

*This is Middleton’s fifth game of the season scoring 25+ points on 50% or better shooting, and his fourth 20-point game in his last seven contests.

What’s next?

The Bucks (49-16) will host the Charlotte Hornets (29-35) on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00pm.

Short-handed Bucks fall in Utah

The Milwaukee Bucks put forth a great effort in Utah but fell just short. The Jazz escaped with a four-point victory, 115-111.

Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon each sat out in what was the second of a back-to-back. Giannis Antetokounmpo gave a heroic effort with 43 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.

The Bucks led by as many as 17 with under 10 minutes remaining but couldn’t hold on. Second-year Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell dropped 19 of his 46 points in the final quarter.

The loss snapped a seven-game win streak for Milwaukee and ended a run of 10 straight road victories.

Next up, the Bucks will travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns on Monday.

Joe & Ebo Experience: WIAA Plant

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WOZN Reporter Cody Grant (5:36)

Badgers Insider RJ Brachman (22:56)

Joe made the list (39:29)

ESPN comes to their senses (50:59)