The first time the Sixers beat the NBA-best Bucks this season was on Christmas Day. Their second win over Milwaukee was a bit different — it came in an NBA2K simulation Tuesday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Here are a few observations on the virtual Sixers’ 72-65 victory:
A game-changing run
The Sixers went on a 19-0 run starting in the middle of the first quarter to open up an early 16-point lead, and Matisse Thybulle and Alec Burks were two of the primary catalysts.
Thybulle was rewarded for passing up a wide-open dunk, finding Furkan Korkmaz for a three in the left corner. About a minute later, the rookie ripped the ball from the hands of Wesley Matthews, a player 10 years his elder, and cruised in the other direction for a dunk.
Burks played well on both ends, helping to push the pace and force the Bucks to guard dribble penetration, which they had trouble doing when Antetokounmpo was on the bench.
The one-man show
Antetokounmpo was tremendous, scoring 32 points. He just didn’t receive very much help.
The broadcasting crew evidently enjoyed his performance. With Milwaukee trailing 30-16, Antetokounmpo smothered a Tobias Harris drive and blocked his lefty hook attempt, prompting Kevin Harlan to yell out with great enthusiasm, “And the rejection by Giannis!”
The energy was great, but Harlan’s call was perhaps a bit much in the second quarter of a game the Sixers led by 14 …
Strong game for Harris
The Sixers’ frontcourt didn’t provide much offense in this one as Joel Embiid scored 10 points and Al Horford only managed four on 1 for 9 shooting. At least his one make was authoritative.
a dunk addition for Al. pic.twitter.com/zDLuFTOenK— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 7, 2020
Along with the bench, Harris helped mitigate those struggles. He scored 20 points (7 of 14), crashing the offensive rebounds and playing a determined, physical game.
A classic Philly fan …
The 2K fans in attendance at Wells Fargo Center chanted, “Go, Sixers, go!” on a few occasions. That particular chant hasn’t been in the rotation at Wells Fargo Center this year, but maybe the crowd has decided to switch things up a bit with the end of the virtual regular season nearing.
In the second quarter, we witnessed a moment that felt more realistic. As Antetokounmpo dribbled the ball up the floor and paused around the three-point arc, a lone Sixers fan yelled out, “Hey, who’s got Giannis? Come on!”
Even with the Sixers up by double digits, that no-nonsense demand of maximum effort and attention to detail seemed true to real life.
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