When the Philadelphia 76ers started the two-game series at the Fiserv Forum against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, they were expected to struggle a bit. Although the Sixers had Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Seth Curry in the mix after the three were unsure if they would play or not, Philly was still missing its starting point guard in Ben Simmons.
From the jump on Thursday, the Sixers were well on their way to getting blown out. 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers mentioned that the game was pretty much decided in the first quarter after the matchup. The Sixers were fatigued as they were playing in the second night of a back-to-back.
Also, Simmons' absence has been notable, which Rivers mentioned was a factor as to why the Sixers struggled in the first game. Unfortunately for the 76ers, Simmons didn't return for Saturday's bout. Neither did the veteran reserve Furkan Korkmaz, who's been dealing with a sprained ankle.
And to add insult to injury, 76ers center Joel Embiid also missed the matchup as his shoulder was sore. Many anticipated a performance exactly like Thursday's, but the 76ers actually got off to a decent start. Despite being shorthanded, missing two All-Stars, the Sixers managed to keep the score within ten going into the half.
After allowing Milwaukee to knock down 40 points in the first quarter alone on Thursday, the Sixers held the Bucks to just 50 points through the first two quarters on Saturday. When the third quarter rolled around, the Sixers got off to an excellent start. Four minutes into the second half, the Sixers got the score within one point.
Following a Milwaukee timeout, though, everything went downhill for Philly. Before the Sixers knew it, they went from trailing 55-54 to losing 86-63 by the time the third quarter wrapped up. Considering they were so close to tying the game up and taking the lead possibly, the 76ers attempted to explain what went wrong after the game.
"I don't remember [what went wrong], to be honest," said Sixers veteran Seth Curry after the game. “They hit some threes. Guys had some breakdowns defensively. I guess I got to watch the film and figure it out. I don’t remember what happened.”
Considering the game changed up so quickly in the second half, the reason it happened became such a blur to the 76ers. “Maybe we had a couple of defensive breakdowns, they hit a couple of threes, but off the top of my head, I don’t know exactly what happened,” said Sixers rookie Tyrese Maxey. “We got to go back and watch the film and try to learn from it.”
While the players need to re-watch the game to figure everything out, Doc Rivers doesn't need a replay to figure out what happened. "They just were better, honestly,” Rivers said. "We made our own mistakes. We missed three or four shots in a row, and they made shots.”
Overall, Milwaukee did shoot much better than the Sixers on Saturday. The Bucks drained 51-percent of their shots from the field and hit on 45-percent of their threes. Meanwhile, the Sixers only knocked down 37-percent of their shots from the field and just 22-percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
Although the game was a lot closer than expected through two quarters and some change, the Bucks destroyed the Sixers on Saturday afternoon with a 132-94 victory. That sent the Sixers home with their fourth-straight loss.
Now, Philly will face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night at home, where they hope to get back on the right track and hopefully snag the first seed in the Eastern Conference once again.