Sixers vs. Bucks: After Tyrese Maxey suffers left foot damage, Joel Embiid leads Sixers to win

The Sixers misplaced Tyrese Maxey to damage however beat the Bucks on Friday night time to transfer above .500 (8-7) for the primary time this season.

After posting 24 factors on 9-for-12 taking pictures and 5 assists, Maxey was dominated out at halftime with a left foot damage, in accordance to a Sixers official. (More on Maxey under.)

The Sixers nonetheless pulled out a gutsy, 110-102 win on the Wells Fargo Center. Joel Embiid led them with 32 factors, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Tobias Harris (left hip soreness), James Harden (proper foot tendon pressure), Furkan Korkmaz (left knee effusion) and Jaden Springer (proper quadriceps pressure) have been all out.

Milwaukee was down Chris Middleton, Wesley Matthews, Pat Connaughton and Joe Ingles.

The Sixers will end their back-to-back Saturday night time in Philadelphia towards the Timberwolves. Here are observations on their victory over the Bucks:

Embiid, Antetokounmpo convey their greatest early

With the Sixers enjoying after a four-day stretch between video games, it would not have been stunning if Embiid took some time to rediscover the rhythm and brilliance of his 59-point efficiency Sunday. Fortunately for the Sixers, he appeared precisely the identical out of the gates.

Antetokounmpo additionally had a really sturdy begin, driving in for an emphatic dunk and placing the Bucks up 7-2 with a pull-up jumper. As for Embiid, the Sixers emphasised early touches towards Brook Lopez in the course of the ground. While Lopez guarded Embiid nicely when the Sixers misplaced of their house opener to Milwaukee, a lot of Embiid’s success at all times appears to hinge on whether or not he makes comfy pictures.

On Friday, he recorded the Sixers’ first seven factors, knotting the sport at 7-all with a top-of-the-key three-pointer. He lastly obtained a little bit of scoring help from Maxey, whose wing three capped an 8-0 run.

Embiid additionally saved the defensive highlights rolling within the first quarter. After Antetokounmpo discovered an angle to drive left on PJ Tucker, Embiid shifted over to reject him on the rim. The Sixers capitalized with a Maxey layup in transition. Antetokounmpo is super at inserting fixed strain on the opposition and ripping away any potential momentum, although. He pulled up for a long-range jumper and sunk it, giving the Bucks a 15-12 edge.

Ultimately, Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee managed to seize a 13-point benefit late within the first. Some of that boiled down to Embiid and Antetokounmpo’s respective manufacturing, however the Sixers’ preliminary struggles with the Greek Freak on the bench stood out. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers used a lineup with Embiid surrounded by Shake Milton, De’Anthony Melton, Matisse Thybulle and Georges Niang. Former Sixer George Hill made a 3 over Milton, who was referred to as for touring on the Sixers’ ensuing possession.

The Bucks began 12 for 18 from the ground and 5 for 9 from lengthy distance, that means the Sixers had to play from behind for his or her second straight assembly with Milwaukee.

Milton (15 factors, six assists) had one other tough stretch with Embiid sitting early within the second interval. After Hill stole the ball from him within the open flooring, Milton dropped his head and the Bucks pounced on the fast-break likelihood, getting a Jrue Holiday layup to go forward 39-28.

Harden’s absence has positioned a highlight on a number of of the Sixers’ weaker areas, and the staff’s second-unit guard play has usually been a priority previously couple of weeks. Maxey’s damage now places even additional strain on Milton and Melton. Korkmaz did a light-weight exercise following the Sixers’ shootaround Friday morning and referred to as himself “day-to-day.”

Maxey damage on the finish of the super half

The Sixers’ protection had been a power recently, however that definitely didn’t carry over into the primary half.

Their beginning lineup was a strong defensive group on paper; Daniel House Jr. and Melton performed alongside Embiid, Maxey and Tucker. However, the Bucks’ measurement and rebounding posed predictable points. The 6-foot-11 Bobby Portis had two second-chance layups inside the first six minutes.

Tucker picked up his second foul on a transferring display screen with 1:26 left within the first quarter, though Rivers saved him within the recreation. While the Sixers did not string collectively many stops with Embiid out, Maxey did a superb job confidently creating offense and scoring in any respect three ranges. He made a powerful step-back leap shot over Antetokounmpo within the nook and reached 23 factors late within the second on an open, after-timeout triple. When he is aggressive and clear in his position, factors have a tendency to pile up quick for the 22-year-old.

Maxey’s recreation concluded abruptly. He was fouled on a drive with 1:36 to go within the second quarter and got here up limping. Although he tried to stroll it off, taking a few steps into the gang, it was instantly apparent that his ache wasn’t going to disappear. Maxey break up his two free throws earlier than subbing out.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that X-rays have been damaging on Maxey’s foot and he’ll have an MRI on Saturday.

Despite Maxey’s incredible play, the Sixers trailed by seven factors at halftime largely due to their sloppiness. There’s nothing unsuitable with a number of turnovers associated to pushing the tempo, however the Sixers gave the ball away carelessly a number of occasions within the ultimate jiffy earlier than intermission. Melton dedicated one of many staff’s 11 first-half giveaways on a protracted, ill-advised cross meant for House.

Of course, as soon as Maxey was dominated out, his standing loomed as a matter bigger than the sport’s outcome. The Sixers know they’ll survive with an especially Embiid-centric model of play, however they’d clearly want not to play with out their beginning backcourt for an prolonged stretch.

Finding an (uncommon) approach down stretch

The Sixers began the third quarter nicely with out Maxey and took a 69-67 lead on an Embiid mid-range jumper.

The minutes when Embiid sat have been extra adventurous than ever; Rivers used Paul Reed-Embiid lineups in each the second and third quarters. With 2:37 left within the third, he went to a Reed-Montrezl Harrell frontcourt and requested Reed to guard Antetokounmpo. That determination yielded nice outcomes at first when Reed stopped the two-time MVP in isolation and pulled down the defensive board. Georges Niang (17 factors) ultimately drained a three-pointer to give the Sixers an 84-77 lead. A Milton runner and a buzzer-beating House jumper have been different necessary baskets throughout that unconventional Embiid-less stint.

The difficult calls on Rivers’ plate elevated with Embiid out. He understandably eliminated Thybulle a few minute and a half after Reed entered the third quarter; that is not a duo that may typically be conducive to environment friendly offense. Thybulle, who missed the Sixers’ final two practices with an ankle damage, solely acquired 4 minutes.

Following a few Tucker-Harrell frontcourt minutes early within the fourth, the Sixers have been up 92-90 and subbed Embiid again into the sport. Antetokounmpo’s woes on the foul line have been fairly useful within the Sixers having a lead at that stage. He went 4 for 15 within the recreation and the house crowd beloved each miss (in addition to the escalating “Bricken for Chicken” rewards).

Compared to Sunday night time’s win over the Jazz, the Sixers’ supporting forged did a a lot better job of chipping in offense round Embiid within the fourth quarter.

On a key sequence, Melton skied for a defensive rebound after which threw the ball forward to Milton. With Embiid noticeably worn out, he did not cross half courtroom till about 15 seconds remained on the shot clock. He swung the ball to Niang, who drove previous Portis and made an and-one layup. Next time down, Embiid assisted an enormous nook three by Melton and the Sixers grabbed a 102-99 lead.

Embiid’s mid-range recreation is at all times a pleasant choice down the stretch, too. He buried back-to-back jumpers to prolong the Sixers’ lead to seven factors. Then, with Milwaukee decided to make another person beat them, he declined dribbling right into a pull-up jumper and as a substitute discovered Milton for a wide-open layup.

If there was any doubt that he’d turned in one other MVP-level efficiency, Embiid nailed one other jumper over Lopez.

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