Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points to help the Milwaukee Bucks defeat the Philadelphia 76ers, 118-110. The Bucks ended the third quarter on a 27-3 run, overcoming a 19-point deficit in the process.
A majority of the Bucks run came with 76ers center Joel Embiid on the bench. By the time Embiid came back onto the floor, the momentum had already shifted in favor of Milwaukee.
Philadelphia’s most recent collapse highlighted an even bigger problem: struggles continue to plague the team with Embiid off the floor.
When Joel Embiid is on the floor this season, the 76ers outscore opponents by 10.2 points per 100 possessions. Furthermore, Embiid boasts an impressive real plus-minus of 5.14, good for seventh in the league and first among centers. But in games in which he hasn’t play, Philadelphia has an abysmal 3-8 record, and are barely above average when he’s on the bench.
Of course there are many ways to mediate this issue. The return of Markelle Fultz to the team and further implementing the newly acquired sharpshooter Marco Belinelli will only help the 76ers.
An upcoming free agency that could involve trading for Kawhi Leonard and/or signing LeBron James is a long shot. But would be immediate solutions to their problems.
The 76ers and Bucks have 0.5 games separating them in the Eastern Conference standings. Regardless of where these two young teams stand in the playoffs, they’ll be a tough out for any contender.