Giannis Antetokounmpo took over as the game’s primary playmaker late in the third quarter on Thursday, helping the Milwaukee Bucks extend their lead to double digits and drawing boos from the Philadelphia 76ers’ fans. The Bucks entered the fourth quarter up by double digits, and it looked like they would cruise to an easy victory in their season-opening game.
After only five minutes, the situation had reversed itself. James Harden led the Sixers back into the game while Giannis was on the bench, and the Wells Fargo Center became a cauldron of noise. The rest of the game was a slugfest between the two teams, but the Bucks came out on top 90-88 thanks in large part to a game-winning 3-pointer by Wesley Matthews in the waning seconds.
Milwaukee Bucks Win Against 76ers
The Milwaukee Bucks’ win was notable for several reasons, including Giannis‘ impressive debut (21 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists), James Harden’s demonstration that he is completely healthy (31 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists), Joel Embiid‘s subpar performance (15 points on 6-of-21 shooting), and the Sixers’ sudden 0-2 record against the other two main contenders for the Eastern Conference crown.
Even though the Milwaukee Bucks won, this game served as a reminder of how crucial Khris Middleton is to the team’s success. In Giannis’ 36 minutes of action, the Bucks had a plus-13 scoring margin, while they were a minus-11 in the other 12 minutes. The non-Giannis Bucks as a team shot 25 of 68 from the field.
The offense struggled even with Giannis on the court late in the game. They were only able to score 10 points in the final 10 minutes of the game while also committing five turnovers. Two of their most important buckets came as a result of defensive blunders by the Sixers, a Grayson Allen layup and a clutch 3-pointer by Matthews.