76ers aiming to keep streaking in Milwaukee (Jan 25, 2017)
MILWAUKEE -- Joel Embiid will be unavailable Wednesday night when the Philadelphia 76ers look to continue their hot streak when they take on the Bucks in Milwaukee.
Of course, don't expect the Bucks to be too disappointed that Embiid -- considered the front-runner for Rookie of the Year honors after missing his first two NBA seasons to injury -- won't make the trip.
Embiid torched Milwaukee when the two teams met 10 days ago, scoring 12 of his team-leading 22 points in the fourth quarter last Monday as the 76ers overcame a slow start and handed Milwaukee a 113-104 loss.
"This to me was our finest team win," head coach Brett Brown said afterward.
The Sixers had eight players score in double figures made 14 3-pointers in that contest, which left Bucks head coach Jason Kidd perturbed.
"At some point, we have to understand what the three means to us as a team if we want to win," Kidd said. "We can talk about it but if there's no effort in guarding it and understanding, again, it starts with effort. If we don't give it, we're going to give up a lot of threes."
Philadelphia extended its winning streak to three games with victories over Toronto and Portland but bounced back from a 110-93 loss at Atlanta Saturday night with a 121-110 victory over the Clippers last night in Philadelphia.
Embiid missed that contest, as well, as he dealt with a sore knee. Nerlens Noel took over, making his first start of the season, and scored 19 points with eight rebounds and three blocked shots as the Sixers overcame a 19-point deficit and won for the fourth time in five games, the seventh time in nine and the ninth time in 12.
"This reinforces and validates how we want to grow the program," coach Brett Brown said. "It's a team."
Milwaukee will be trying to maintain its momentum after snapping a five-game losing streak with a 127-114 victory over Houston Monday night. Giannis Antetokoumpo scored 31 and Jabari Parker had 28 to lead the Bucks, who shot a season-high 58.8 percent from the floor while also setting a season-high for points.
"We came out with the right energy," center Greg Monroe said. "Then whenever they made their run, it was just taking the punch and continuing to do what we do.
Milwaukee has the highest field goal percentage in the Eastern Conference at 47.4 percent, which ranks third overall in the NBA behind only the Golden State Warriors (.499) and San Antonio Spurs (.482).
But the Bucks struggled to score during their losing skid and in the process, tumbled from sixth to ninth in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"Sometimes as a young team, at the halfway point you might be a little tired," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. "Losing doesn't help; you get a little frustrated. I thought we have to smile. We haven't been smiling of late."
Milwaukee had won nine straight against the 76ers before the loss last Monday.