Nothing could faze the Philadelphia 76ers.
Not the loss of two starters. Not an 18-point deficit late in the third quarter. Not even the fact it was facing the NBA’s hottest team on the road.
Joel Embiid made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 41.4 seconds left and the 76ers rallied to beat Milwaukee 133-130 on Saturday night, snapping the Bucks’ 16-game winning streak.
“You find something that works and you try to stick with it,” said James Harden, who had 38 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. “We found something late, in that fourth quarter, and we just stuck with it. We got some stops and things changed for us.”
Milwaukee had the longest winning streak by any NBA team since the Phoenix Suns had 18 straight victories early last season. The streak ended because the Bucks got outscored 48-31 during a fourth quarter in which the 76ers shot 12 of 21 overall, 7 of 11 from 3-point range and 17 of 19 from the line.
“They went wherever they wanted to go, scoring from the paint, floaters, isos, offensive rebounds, free throws, 3s,” said Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 34 points and 13 rebounds. “You name it. They were able to get everything. We’ve got to be able to play 48 minutes of good basketball and defend for 48 minutes. This is a good lesson for us.”
Philadelphia completed the comeback even though Tobias Harris didn’t play in the second half due to left calf soreness and PJ Tucker sat out the fourth quarter with back spasms. 76ers coach Doc Rivers didn’t have an immediate update on either player.
Embiid finished with 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. This marked the first time the 76ers had two players collect at least 30 points and 10 assists in the same game since Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer did it way back on Oct. 30, 1965.
Philadelphia’s MVP candidate still wasn’t satisfied. Embiid argued that he “didn’t have a good game.”
“I thought tonight I could have been better,” Embiid said. “I missed a lot of easy shots I usually make.”
Not when it mattered, though.
The 76ers trailed 125-121 before Harden hit a 3-pointer with 1:21 left. After Antetokounmpo missed a shot from around the basket, Embiid sank a 3-pointer that gave Philadelphia its first lead of the second half.
“I had to make it, being down one at that point,” Embiid said. “I had to do it.”
After Jrue Holiday missed a 3-point attempt with 25 seconds remaining, the 76ers went 6 of 6 from the line the rest of the way to seal the victory.
“I thought it was a great look,” Holiday said. “Honestly I thought it was in. I left it a little bit short.”
Tyrese Maxey added 26 points and Georges Niang had 16 for the 76ers. Maxey has scored at least 23 in four straight games.
Brook Lopez and Holiday scored 26 points apiece for Milwaukee. Grayson Allen had 20, all during the first 9 minutes, and 19 seconds of the third quarter.
Allen went 6 of 6 from 3-point range during that stretch. His final 3-pointer gave Milwaukee a 95-77 lead with 2:41 left in the third.
But the 76ers came all the way back.
“In the last couple minutes, it’s a tight game, it’s just shot-making and who can get a couple of stops in a row,” Harden said. “We were the team to do that.”
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