MILWAUKEE — The Sixers’ three-point shooting went M.I.A. in Milwaukee.
“Our threes were today, I don’t know, something that we forgot in Oklahoma or at home,” Dario Saric said. “It was really hard for us.”
The Sixers went 2 for 26 from long range in their 107-95 loss to the Bucks Monday at the BMO Bradley Center (see observations). They shot 7.7 percent, the second-lowest percentage by an NBA team this season.
Starters Saric (0 for 8), Robert Covington (1 for 8) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (0 for 4) accounted for the majority of attempts as the team struggled to generate extra offense in the absence of Joel Embiid, who was held out because of the back-to-back set.
“We tried to find somebody to make a three and we just couldn’t find it,” Brett Brown said. “Without Joel, if we were going to win, we needed a successful three-point night.”
The Sixers didn’t hit a three until James Young knocked one down from Ben Simmons with 3:28 to go in the third quarter.
"I think it was just our bad game," Saric said. "We were tired from the game against Oklahoma. We lost so much energy there on that game."
The Bucks countered the Sixers’ struggles with 11 treys (39.3 percent). They were sparked by the bench, which shot 8 for 15. The Bucks’ reserves carried so much of their three-point scoring, Giannis Antetokounmpo shot only 1 for 5 on his way to a game-high 31 points.
The home team Bucks locked down on the Sixers’ long-range game after the Sixers shot 10 for 25 in their Jan. 20 matchup in Philadelphia. Covington and Luwawu-Cabarrot each drained three treys in the Sixers’ win.
“We obviously defended the three-point line extremely well,” Bucks head coach Joe Prunty said. “In some cases, they put up shots that they missed, but overall the effort to go out and cover, that was really good.”
The Sixers are right in the middle of the pack in the NBA when it comes to three-point shooting, ranked 18th at 35.9 percent. They shoot 37.6 percent in wins compared to 34.3 percent in losses.
“I think if we would have hit a lot of threes,” Simmons said, “it would have been a whole different game.”