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Giannis says Bucks must learn lessons from 76ers defeat

The Milwaukee Bucks’ 16-game winning run was brought to an end by Joel Embiid, James Harden and Co. at the Fiserv Forum on Saturday.

Mar 4, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives to the basket against Philadelphia 76ers forward Paul Reed (44) in the first half at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Michael McLooneUSA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo hopes the Milwaukee Bucks can learn something from Saturday’s 133-130 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers - a result which brought their 16-game winning streak to an abrupt end.

Joel Embiid and James Harden stepped to the fore as the 76ers clawed back a 14-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter to win by three points at the Fiserv Forum. Milwaukee went into the contest with the best record in the NBA but Embiid, whose three-pointer with 42 seconds left on the clock, nudged the 76ers into the lead, before Harden put the game to bed, curtailing the league’s longest winning streak of the season.

Embiid finished with 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds to back up Harden’s 38 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while Tyrese Maxey added 26 points. It was the first time two Philadelphia players finished with at 30 or more points and 10 or more assists in the same game since Hal Greer and Wilt Chamberlain did so in October 1965.

Bucks to bounce back

Speaking after the game, Antetokounmpo called on the Bucks to respond after making it too easy for Philadelphia. “They went wherever they wanted to go, scoring from the paint, floaters, isos, offensive rebounds, free throws, threes...” said Antetokounmpo, who had a double-double of 34 points and 13 rebounds. “You name it. They were able to get everything. We’ve got to be able to play 48 minutes of good basketball, defend for 48 minutes. This is a good lesson for us. We did a good job the first three quarters. Obviously, the fourth quarter, a lot of free throws, they made some tough threes. It was basically our game but they came out, they were aggressive, they moved the ball, got downhill to the paint.”

Embiid meanwhile, admitted that he was not convinced he had the best of games on an individual level, telling reporters, “I thought tonight I could have been better. I missed a lot of easy shots I usually make”. The 76ers hold a 41-22 record for the season and pulled to within four games of the Bucks in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

“It’s good, having these types of games, especially with our schedule the rest of the way,” Embiid added. “It’s good for us, prepares us for the playoffs. It’s good and bad. Good because you know you’re able to do it, but it’s also bad because you put yourself in that position [down 18]. So maybe we should try to find a way to not put ourselves in those positions in the first place so we don’t have to do it again.”

“We left it late” - Harden

Harden concluded, “Give ourselves a chance. That was the whole fourth quarter. I feel like they had us that entire game, and then, that fourth quarter, we came out with some pop. You find something that works and you try to stick with it. We found something late, in that fourth quarter, and we just stuck with it. We got some stops and things changed for us.”


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