In the Bonus | 1.20.18 vs Bucks

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

The following notes and nuggets were taken from the 76ers’ January 20th 116-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Click here for a complete recap of the game, and be sure to check out our post-game pod below:

Bonus Points:

Had both the Sixers and Bucks been at full strength, Saturday’s contest would have featured three of the NBA’s top 13 paint scorers. But with Milwaukee All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined (right knee soreness), only Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were left to showcase their inside prowess, and the duo had no trouble doing so. Simmons, ranked fourth in the league with 13.2 points in the paint per game, tallied 14 paint points Saturday, while Embiid, 13th overall this year with 10.7 points in the paint per game, finished with 16. The Sixers’ production on the interior was vital to their victory over Milwaukee, as they outdid the Bucks 62-32 in the paint. Antetoukounmpo leads the NBA in points in the paint, posting 16.8 per game.

• During Saturday’s pre-game media availability, Brett Brown hinted that with JJ Redick (left leg) and Jerryd Bayless (left wrist) on the shelf, the odds were pretty good James Young would make his Sixers debut later in the evening. Sure enough, the 22-year old did just that, subbing in midway through the opening quarter. What were Brown’s hopes for Young, who signed a two-way contract January 5th? That he make shots, specifically threes. On Young’s first possession, he obliged, connecting on a triple in the corner.

Young logged 8 minutes Saturday, the 90th NBA outing of his professional career, during which he’s also been part of the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks organizations. Young began the season with Milwaukee’s G-League affiliate, and, since joining the Sixers, has so far appeared in three contests for the Delaware 87ers, averaging 20.7 points.

• During Saturday’s first half, the Sixers did an excellent job protecting the basketball, one of Brett Brown’s primary points of emphasis lately. They went the first 11 minutes without committing a turnover, and had yielded just three giveaways by intermission. Despite coughing the ball up 10 times in the third quarter, the Sixers settled down for the home stretch of Saturday’s win. They were charged for only two turnovers during the final 7 minutes of play.  

• Revisiting a theme we’ve highlighted a few times recently, the Sixers turned in another potent, highly-efficient first quarter. Racing out to 37-29 edge after 12 minutes, the club converted 65.2 percent of its first-quarter field goal attempts (15-23 fg), was 4 for 6 from 3-point territory, and surrendered just 1 turnover. All but three of the Sixers’ baskets in Saturday’s opening frame were of the assisted variety.

• He deposited a putback, confidently nailed a deep baseline jumper, threw down a couple jams, and stuck a jump hook, too. Unleashing an array of scoring maneuvers on Milwaukee, Ben Simmons began Saturday’s game a perfect 5 for 5 from the field. With 16 points by the end of the night, he reached double-digits for the 36th time in 41 games.

• Heading into Saturday’s game, Milwaukee head coach Jason Kidd said his plan was to use multiple players to guard Ben Simmons. The bulk of those duties fell to veteran Tony Snell, whose assignment was spelled every now and again by Sterling Brown, and Khris Middleton.

• Joel Embiid’s final numbers were big Saturday (29 pts, 9 reb), but his first-half stats would have constituted a good night for many players. He had cranked out 18 points and hauled in 4 rebounds by intermission.

• With Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons leading the way, the Sixers racked up 61 first-half points versus Milwaukee. It was the ninth time this season the Sixers had cracked the 60-point mark by halftime. They’ve now won six of these games, with the three losses coming against two of the top four teams in the league (Golden State twice, Toronto).

• Dario Saric didn’t deposit his first field goal until early in the third quarter (he made up for lost time with three baskets in two minutes). Then again, his scoring wasn’t needed in the first half. The Croatian was busy doing unto others, handing out six of his seven helpers between the first and second periods.

• As strong as the Sixers started Saturday’s game, they summoned up a big finish, too, particularly defensively. They spotted Milwaukee a meager 14 points in the frame, the second-lowest fourth-quarter total the Sixers have given up this season (they held OKC to 13 points in a December 15th triple-overtime loss).

• Speaking of the fourth quarter, the Sixers’ shutdown effort was built largely on the strength of two big runs. The first one was crucial, with the Sixers scoring 13 points in a row to expand their lead from two points to 15. Midway through the period, they hit Milwaukee with another unanswered blitz, this time to the tune of 11 consecutive points, which effectively put the contest out of reach.

• Credit a collection of Sixers for keeping Eric Bledsoe in check. Milwaukee’s dangerous guard, a 15-point per game scorer and 40.0 percent shooter, was chased by Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, T.J. McConnell, Robert Covington, and even a little bit of Joel Embiid throughout Saturday’s game. He finished 5 for 18 overall, and 1 for 6 from outside the arc, while tallying 14 points.

• With 11 points Saturday versus Milwaukee, T.J. McConnell has reached double-digits in four outings in a row, tying a career-long streak from last season.