Jae Crowder has only played in four games since joining the Milwaukee Bucks last month, but he’s already gained a deep appreciation for his new team.
The Bucks will attempt to extend their winning streak to 17 games on Saturday when they host the Philadelphia 76ers, who have dropped three of their last four.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points and Jrue Holiday added 23 points in Milwaukee’s latest victory, a 139-117 decision over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. The Bucks hit a season-high 26 3-pointers in the win.
“I didn’t even realize we hit that many 3s,” said Bucks center Brook Lopez, who scored 18 points while sinking four 3-point shots. “I knew we hit a lot, but that’s a lot of 3s.”
Milwaukee’s win streak is the longest in the NBA since the Phoenix Suns won 18 straight last season. The Bucks’ team record is 20 straight wins, set in the 1970-71 season -- when they also added a 16-game win streak en route to an NBA championship.
Seven players scored in double figures in Milwaukee’s win over Orlando. Grayson Allen, AJ Green, Joe Ingles and Lopez each made four 3-point tries, while Antetokounmpo and Pat Connaughton added three apiece.
Crowder, who tallied six points and four rebounds in 20 minutes, has been dazzled by his surroundings over the past few weeks.
“It’s like a machine,” said Crowder, who was acquired from the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 9. “It’s like everyone moving as one. It’s like you can feel it, you can see it, even when I didn’t play you can see everyone is moving as one, on the same page, and I just think that’s what’s big when it comes to a winning streak.
“The team feels like a machine, everyone is playing the right way, and they’re playing purposeful basketball, and everyone is moving accordingly, moving as one. So, it’s good to be a part of.”
The Bucks have split their first two meetings against the Sixers this season, both at Philadelphia. Milwaukee won 90-88 in the season opener on Oct. 20 and lost 110-102 on Nov. 18.
Philadelphia is looking to bounce back from a 133-126 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. The Sixers struggled to slow down Dallas stars Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, who combined for 82 points.
Joel Embiid scored 35 points, Tyrese Maxey added 29 and James Harden had 27 for Philadelphia, which allowed the Mavericks to make a season-high 25 3-point attempts, also the most the Sixers have allowed in a game this season.
“Everybody they passed to made it,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “You have nights like that, and they had a night like that tonight.”
Embiid returned after sitting out Wednesday’s 119-96 road victory over the Miami Heat due to left foot soreness. The six-time All-Star is averaging 33.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 blocks per game.
Embiid said he is confident his foot soreness won’t be an ongoing concern for the Sixers, who are third in the Eastern Conference, five games behind first-place Milwaukee.
“I believe in myself,” Embiid said. “I believe that I’ve put in a lot of work and, like I said, no freak injuries and I’ll be fine. I believe that we as a team have everything we need. It’s all about everybody being on point, everybody doing their job. I believe in myself and I believe in us.”
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