Another Chance to Top the Bucks

by Lauren Rosen

The 76ers (39-20) have one more regular season opportunity to top the Bucks (36-22) Saturday in Milwaukee.

In the opener of the two-game set Thursday, the Sixers fell, 124-117, on the second night of their back-to-back.

The Sixers were without Ben Simmons (non-COVID illness) in the loss, but Tobias Harris returned to the lineup after missing three games (right knee soreness).

Harris finished with 18 points, two rebounds, and six assists in his return, shooting 8-for-16 from the field.

Despite the loss, Harris was excited to be back in the fold.

“Health-wise, I felt really good,” Harris said postgame Thursday. “I’m always happy to be back on the court playing, doing what I love to do.”

As one of the team’s most vocal leaders, Harris offered his wisdom as the team looks to snap its three-game skid Saturday:

“Just stay in the present moment… For us, right now, this game is over,” Harris said. “Refocus, recalibrate, get ourselves ready for the next, and just be ready.”

As the team approaches the last few weeks of the regular season, health remains a top priority.

“We’ve got to be able to arrive at the playoffs with a healthy unit, mentally and physically, and just be focused and locked in.”

Harris added that the next priority is seeding.The Sixers trail the No. 1 Brooklyn Nets (40-20) by half a game in the East. The No. 3 Bucks trail by 3.0 games.

The Sixers and Bucks are each 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Saturday’s matinee matchup tips at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Opponent Outlook:

The Bucks had a strong offensive outing in the first game of the series, shooting 55.6% (45-81 FG) from the field and 50.0% (20-40 3PT) from long range.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks, notching a 27-point, 16-rebound double-double, plus six assists, two steals, and a block. He shot 8-for-15 from the field.

Bobby Portis led the Bucks’ bench with 23 points, shooting 9-for-11 from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from deep.

The Bucks hold a 2-0 lead over the Sixers in their regular season series, with Saturday’s meeting marking the third and final matchup between the teams in the regular season.

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