Christmas Day saw the Philadelphia 76ers demolishing the No.1 team in the NBA, Milwaukee Bucks. Led by the unstoppable Joel Embiid, the hosts posted a huge win, 121-109, which now brings them even closer to the Boston Celtics, who are the leaders of the Atlantic Division.
“This team is designed for the playoffs. The road we have traveled so far has been erratic at times… but to date I like some of things I’ve seen against the best teams,” Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown told after the game.
Embiid once proved that he is a monster and probably the most dominant center in the league. During the first half, he scored 23 points, had 7 boards, and was 8 for 11 from the field. All that in just 16 minutes played. The Bucks had no solution for him, as they tried various defenses, but none of them worked. Whether he had the ball at the perimeter, under the rim, or far behind the three-point line, the Process would always find a way to hit the basket.
The big fella from Cameroon ended the night with 31 points and 11 boards.
“You know, you know the whole season I’ve been humble, uhmm but I want to be defensive player of the year and I feel like tonight showed it,” he said.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 25, 2019
We need to add that he had massive help from Josh Richarson, who scored 16 points in the first half, adding four 3’s. Eventually, the newcomer from Miami added just two more points after the break, but he didn’t need more.
On the other side, Giannis Antetokoumnpo had one of his worst games this season. Although he needed three assists to reach a triple-double, the reigning MVP was far below the expected level. With just 8 made shots from the field in 27 attempts and a poor shooting selection, the Greek Freak will try to forget this contest as soon as possible.
Giannis had 18 points, 14 boards, and 7 dimes, but was often selfish, rushing into the overcrowded paint where 76ers players stopped him without any problems.
The game was tied until the end of the first period. But when the second quarter began, it was obvious that the guests don’t have what it takes to restrain Embiid and the hosts in general. Bucks scored just 18 points, allowing 31, and the same trend extended throughout the third, with Philly reaching a 29-point lead.
Budenholzer’s guys decreased the damage in the final 12 minutes, which they solved in their favor with 36-21. But then again, that didn’t mean too much.
What is very interesting is that the Bucks had just 8 free-throw attempts in this match. Giannis alone averages 10,5 since the campaign started.
The best player in Milwaukee was Khris Middleton, with 31 buckets and 8 rebounds. He was shooting 12 for 21 from the floor, 5 for 9 behind the arc. George Hill scored 15 points.
Tobias Harris joined Embiid and Richardson as one of the top scorers, by delivering with 22 points. Frukan Korkmaz had 16 off the bench, while Ben Simmons had another fantastic night.
“From the beginning of the game, we were ready,” Harris stated.
The Aussie posted 15 points and 14 assists, with 7 rebounds and three steals. Once he gets into the zone, there aren’t many players who can control his organizing skills.
Up next, Philly (23-10) travels to Florida to meet Orlando on Friday. As for the Bucks (27-5), they are facing the Hawks in Atlanta.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.