Jabari returned: Bucks 91 – Sixers 87

Philadelphia 76ers 87 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Milwaukee Bucks
Khris Middleton, SF 36 MIN | 7-20 FG | 3-7 3FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | +7 +/-

He missed a lot of shots. If you want to harumph about that, it’s totally cool. He’s been missing a lot of shots all season, and it’s frustrating for all parties involved (him, the coaches, the fans, everyone). But Middleton is still taking a lot of good shots. He’s not forcing anything or doing too much because he got paid. He’s within himself, and there’s no reason to expect he won’t find the form that made him successful these last two seasons.

He continues to get looks in the post, and it was his skill as a post player that helped Milwaukee win this game. He caught a pass in a 1-2 pick and roll and posted up a mismatched T.J. McConnell. When the Sixers came to double, he found a cutting Monroe for a layup that gave Milwaukee the lead that they would not relinquish. He had success out of the post early on too. Once his jumper starts falling, his numbers will start looking better and everyone will settle down a bit on him.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 41 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-1 3FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | 0 +/-

If this is a quiet Giannis game, the league needs to start paying a lot of attention to him. His efficiency is incredible, and he’s consistently finishing through traffic and contact when he gets to the rim. Another 3-point make too? Whew.

Jabari Parker, SF 16 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8 +/-

In his first game back on the court after his ACL injury last season, Parker did not look great. He looked capable and like he was able to move without hesitation, but he wasn’t great. He didn’t do much to get to the basket, and his jumper wasn’t falling. It’s obvious that he’s still got some work to do, and it will be a while before he has his feel and confidence all the way back, but it was still a real treat to see him back on the court with his teammates.

Grade boost applied for being back.

Greg Monroe, C 36 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-5 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +6 +/-

Whenever Milwaukee is suffering from a long drought offensively it feels like they can look to Monroe and confidently expect him to take care of the problem. He was consistent as a scorer once again, and his passing was sharp too. With Milwaukee 83-80 coming out of a timeout with around three minutes to play, I expected Monroe to carry the load. He caught a pass at the elbow rather than the post, and he immediately watched for a cutting Middleton to make his move. The pass was on the money and Middleton was able to finish a layup. That passing ability Monroe has combined with his post-up strength is so important to Milwaukee’s offensive success.

Defensively he still has trouble helping and then being quick enough to recover to his guy, which is troubling when he has to help out a guy like Greivis Vasquez. The Sixers were able to get into the paint and hit Monroe’s guy a handful of times when he had to step up to cover for a teammate. But he did snuff out a Nerlens Noel pass attempt along these lines with a minute to play for his third steal. That was a big play.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -7 +/-

Six threes last game couldn’t have been more out of the ordinary for him. But if he’s feeling confident enough to keep shooting a couple of threes every game and make one here and there, he’ll remain a productive offensive player. He only really lost usefulness last season when he stopped shooting threes altogether.

Chris Copeland, SF 10 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-7 3FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +10 +/-

Copeland and Vasquez keyed a big 9-0 run that kept Milwaukee in the game late in the third quarter. Outside of that run, Copeland wasn’t able to find range from deep, but he certainly was able to find his spots where he felt confident enough to shoot. Seven threes in 10 minutes!

Miles Plumlee, C 12 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -2 +/-

He blocked a Stauskas dunk attempt at the rim, and he finished a pick and roll alley-oop from Giannis. Outside of those two highlight plays, his 12 minutes were fairly quiet.

Johnny O’Bryant III, C 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0 +/-

In roughly a minute, O’Bryant grabbed three offensive boards and looked more active as a rebounder than I’ve ever seen him look before. A quarter later he was back to firing up harmless long twos and not grabbing rebounds. It was fun while it lasted.

Greivis Vasquez, PG 22 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-4 3FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +20 +/-

He’s very slow, but sometimes he’s able to get into the paint when he puts his foot on the gas and goes for it. When he’s able to get into the paint, he does a good job of keeping his head up and scanning the court as he drives. He found teammates for three good looks to start the fourth quarter and added a 3-point make before those baskets.

Tyler Ennis, PG 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -7 +/-

He also made his season debut. The highlight was a very aggressive foul on Noel, who thought he had an easy dunk with around four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Ennis really got up and laid a hard but clean foul on the Sixer big man.

Rashad Vaughn, SG 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +1 +/-

The crowd showered Vaughn with a big ovation upon his entrance, likely because fans have been waiting for more Vaughn given Milwaukee’s early season struggles and fluid rotations. He got more of a chance Wednesday than he’s usually had this season, but wasn’t able to do too much with it.

Jason Kidd

Kidd relied heavily on Giannis, Bayless, Middleton and Monroe, but when he didn’t like what he was seeing, he was quick to make changes. Bringing Copeland in after two games where he didn’t see any time was a bold move when it seemed like the game could get away from them. It paid off instantly, and while Copeland didn’t continue to shoot well, he did just enough in his 10 minutes to help the Bucks hold down the fort until Giannis, Middleton and Monroe could get back in.

One Thing We Saw

  1. The Bucks jumped out to a 29-19 lead early on, but the bench let Philadelphia crawl back into the game. The Sixers were incredibly aggressive in getting the ball up the court and taking the first good shot they saw. The speed and energy they played with in moving offensively seemed to catch the Bucks off guard and leave them a step slow at times. But in the end, Milwaukee was obviously more talented, and the talent paid off.

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  1. It was a close game and the Bucks pulled it out. I think the Copeland score is high he took too many shots when Giannis and Monroe are on the floor. Good game hope MCW is back for Friday.

  2. If Giannis does this for 25 more games and he’s in the All Star conversation.

    and I love how Kidd is coaching this team, experimenting with rotations, giving guys chances, riding certain players. it used to feel disjointed but I sense he’s just such a fluid decision maker based on how the game’s unfolding, it maximises matchups and keeps guys intellectually and emotionally into the game knowing they could get called at any moment.

    I sense the next time we play the Sixers it wont’ be this close.

  3. Middleton and Monroe finished the game out well, but I really would have loved to see more Giannis in the final minutes. Off the top of my head, I don’t think he got his hands on the ball on the offensive side of the court in the last 5+ minutes, and that seems like a shame given how strongly he was playing this game (and season).

  4. Although it was a win, I didn’t like that it wasn’t a more convincing win. The 76ers still have half a roster of non-NBA talent. Also, what is the deal with all the defensive 3 second violations? I worry that the defensive scheme packing the paint is leading to so many open 3s.

  5. Wonder if that cramp or w/e Giannis got had anything to do with him getting limited touches, seems like that was the last basket he made