The Sixers made it a perfect week Saturday with a 116-94 win over the Bucks, going 3-0 in games played since Monday.
Joel Embiid dominated with 29 points and nine rebounds as the Bucks fell short without Giannis Antetokounmpo (right knee soreness). JJ Redick (leg), Jerryd Bayless (wrist) and Malcolm Brogdon (personal reasons) also were sidelined.
The Sixers improved to 22-20, including victories in eight of their last 10 games. This stretch includes recent wins over the playoff-contending Bucks, Celtics and Raptors.
The Sixers moved up to sixth in the Eastern Conference, ahead of the Pacers (24-22) and Bucks (23-22) in the top eight.
“We’ve been able to find our identity,” Embiid said. “That’s to be physical, be the best defensive team in the league and move the ball. That’s what we’ve been doing and we’ve got to keep on doing that.”
• T.J. McConnell had impressive looks attacking the basket, including a spin move to draw a three-point play. The backup point guard neared a double-double with 11 points and seven assists, a continuation of his solid contributions off the bench.
“It's huge,” Ben Simmons said of McConnell getting to the rim. “They like to go under on him, he knocks that down most of the time. You'll see me yelling at him but it's a good thing, to shoot the ball. He's a great player and great person.”
• Ben Simmons came close to a triple-double. He posted 16 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Simmons mixed a jumper into his 8 for 13 shooting night. This was Simmons’ 25th game this season with a minimum of 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins are the only players to record those stats in more games.
• The Bucks starters scored all but 11 of their points. Khris Middleton recorded a 23-point, 14-rebound, 10-assist triple-double.
• The Sixers came close to a third-quarter letdown, an issue they’ve been focusing on shaking. They led the Bucks 70-59 two minutes into the quarter before the Bucks went on a 16-5 run over nearly six minutes. The Sixers committed seven of their 18 turnovers during that stretch. Embiid came up with five points, a block and a rebound in the closing three minutes of the third to help the Sixers reclaim control.
“They’re young, they’re kind of wild, we’re trying to tame them as much as we can,” Brett Brown said. “But it’s also part of the passion and the thing that makes them good. So the takeaways are the snapshot of how erratic and fun and sometimes good, sometimes painful this young team is.”
• Brett Brown went deep into the Sixers depth chart in the absences of Redick and Bayless. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (16 points, three rebounds) got the start at shooting guard while Justin Anderson (two points, three rebounds) and James Young (four points) got a bump in minutes.
“He attacked the rim, he made threes, he is one of our best athletes on the team and he’s fearless,” Brown said of Luwawu-Cabarrot. “I just think from a human standpoint to see him get rewarded after him staying positive and with the team that’s a feel good story tonight.”
• Eagles fans represented when the fight song was played and booed loudly when Vikings fans were shown on the Jumbotron: