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Giannis, Bucks Dominate Joel Embiid, 76ers After Ben Simmons Leaves with Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 23, 2020

MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 22: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers on February 22, 2020 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Gary Dineen/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks coasted to a 119-98 home victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday behind Giannis Antetokounmpo's 31 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists.

Khris Middleton added 25 points for the 48-8 Bucks, who own the Eastern Conference's best record by seven games over the second-place Toronto Raptors.

Joel Embiid, Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton each scored 17 points for the 35-22 76ers, who played the majority of this game without point guard Ben Simmons.

The 76ers' floor general suffered an irritation of his lower back 4:44 into the game and did not return. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey, the irritation occurred on a first-quarter layup.

Simmons sat his team's previous game against the Brooklyn Nets with lower back tightness.

The Bucks have won seven of eight. The 76ers' four-game winning streak ended.

             

Notable Performances

76ers C Joel Embiid: 17 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST

76ers SG Furkan Korkmaz: 17 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST

76ers SG Shake Milton: 17 PTS, 2 AST

Bucks PF Giannis Antetokounmpo: 31 PTS, 17 REB, 8 AST

Bucks SF Khris Middleton: 25 PTS, 9 REB, 2 AST

Bucks PG Eric Bledsoe: 12 PTS, 8 AST, 4 REB

     

Bucks' Dominance Continues in Easy Win

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel encapsulated the Bucks' phenomenal game (and season) in one postgame tweet:

Matt Velazquez @Matt_Velazquez

Bucks win, 119-98. It's their 14th wire-to-wire win and 18th win by 20 pts or more. Giannis also went bananas for 31 pts, 17 rebs, 8 assists in 29 mins. Middleton had 25 pts on 10/15 shooting in 31 mins.

There isn't a shortage of statistics to explain just how good the Bucks have been this year.

They've outscored their opponents by 12.4 points, or nearly six more points than their closest competitor in that stat, the Los Angeles Lakers.

They're one of three teams to lose fewer than 10 road games this season and will probably finish that way by virtue of a 22-5 record.

The Bucks are also a mind-boggling 42-5 in their past 47 games, good enough for an .894 winning percentage.

On Saturday, they cruised to victory courtesy of a third quarter in which they outscored the 76ers 37-23. Antetokounmpo scored seven points before the 76ers scored one and had 12 in the quarter.

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Back-to-back buckets on Embiid. #FearTheDeer https://t.co/qxRWNXF47o

Antetokounmpo also got help from his teammates, with Middleton hitting a baseline jumper and Wesley Matthews sticking a three after a slick dish from the presumed back-to-back NBA MVP:

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Wiz wit. #FearTheDeer https://t.co/YDA6Qqlzmw

Everyone was hitting shots, with big man Robin Lopez even sticking a corner three.

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Tea party 🍵 #FearTheDeer https://t.co/fFKtddvGbm

The Bucks were also tough on the boards, so much so that 6'3" guard George Hill put home a tip-in on the offensive glass.

When the quarter was over, the Bucks were up 93-73 and well on their way to win No. 48.

Granted, the 76ers were without Simmons for all but five minutes, and the point guard has given the Bucks some serious trouble in the past. But Milwaukee still made this game largely uncompetitive before the third quarter was over, which has become commonplace.

More games like this are on the way for the Bucks as the regular season nears its end, but the real question is how the team will perform in the spring.

Last season ended with a disappointing Eastern Conference Finals loss to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors despite Milwaukee's home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

However, this year's team is deeper, Antetokounmpo is somehow better and the team's archnemesis (ex-Raptor Kawhi Leonard) is now a Los Angeles Clipper.

We'll see how the playoffs turn out, but expect more blowouts as the year winds down.

        

What's Next?

Both teams will play next on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

The 76ers will host the Atlanta Hawks at Wells Fargo Center, and the Bucks will visit the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena.

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