Aussie NBA rookie Ben Simmons continues to shine and polish his reputation in the chase for NBA Rookie of the Year accolades, but his heroics were for naught in the recent game against the Milwaukee Bucks, where Simmons’ supporting cast was no equal to the challenge and resulted in a 118 – 110 win for the Bucks.
The two teams are neck and neck so far as the playoff standings in the Eastern Conference are concerned. The 76ers are 34 – 28 on the season, while the Milwaukee win moved them to 34 – 29, just half a game back of Philadelphia.
Simmons had a career-high tying 15 assists for the game to complement his 12 points and five rebounds, but even though Simmons dished eight of those fifteen assists in the first quarter, allowing the 76ers to go up by as much as 20 points, he and his teammates were unable to sustain that level of intensity for the entire game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the primary force for the Bucks, scoring 35 points, grabbing eight rebounds and handing out seven assists.
The two teams have played three times this season, with Milwaukee winning two and Philadelphia one. The season series could be a harbinger of the playoffs, depending on how the two teams finish the season and if they both qualify for the playoffs, where they finish in the standing to determine their playoff opponents.
The 76ers need to do a much better job on the defensive side of the ball, as surrendering 118 points will typically result in a loss.
The other area in which they need to improve drastically is in turnovers. They had 26 against the Bucks, their high for the season. It is difficult to say exactly how this impacted the final score, but if you resorted to extremes and calculated that if the 76ers had scored on all 26 of the possessions they squandered, they could have, at a minimum, added to the total by 52 points.
That is an extreme assumption, but even scoring two points on half of those 26 possessions would have been more than enough to win the game.