PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers picked up an improbable win against the Milwaukee Bucks at home to push their winning streak to three games. With a final score of 110-102, the Sixers dominated in the second half despite not having James Harden or Tobias Harris and losing Tyrese Maxey for the second half after he injured his foot.
Joel Embiid, of course, had another dominant game with 32 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks. The Sixers also got key contributions from bench players Shake Milton (15 points, six assists) and Georges Niang (17 points) as well as 24 points and five assists from Maxey before he got hurt. For Doc Rivers, though, it was someone else who might have been the real MVP for Philly.
“It was an easy game for us to let go of the rope and we didn’t, and that’s what you love about this team,” Rivers said. “It's funny: if someone didn't watch this game, they're gonna look at the box score and they're gonna see P.J. Tucker: 0-1, four rebounds, two assists — and he may have been our most important player on the floor tonight. I said that to our guys and everybody started clapping because they saw it and it's a great example [of] how you help your team sometimes it doesn't have to be scoring. He was huge for us tonight in what he did and so good for him and good for some of our young guys to see that.”
Tucker earned such big praise from Rivers by fearlessly taking on the assignment of guarding Antetokounmpo, which he also did in the Sixers' prior meeting with the Bucks. The Bucks superstar shot just 4-11 from the field in the second half while committing three fouls and two turnovers and recording one assist, though he did still score 25 points.
While some of Antekounmpo's struggles were self-inflicted at the free-throw line, Tucker's physicality ensured that he had to fight for a lot of his buckets. The Sixers are showing a lot of promise after a rocky start to the season and have their tough, veteran forward to partly thank for it.