Joel Embiid Had a Triple-Double and Did Some Brilliant Trolling, But Wasn't the Best Player on the Floor

April 05, 2019 - 10:17 am

PHILADELPHIA (94WIP) -- The Phiadelphia 76ers are on a three-game losing streak at the worst possible time.

The Milwaukee Bucks rallied for a 128-122 win at Wells Fargo Center Thursday night, going on a 15-4 run over the final 2:26 of the game. The Bucks scored 46 points in the fourth. That simply can't happen in big games.

The Sixers' magic number to clinch the No. 3 seed is still two, despite the return of Joel Embiid after he sat out the previous three games. There are three regular-season games left, and they hold a two-game lead on the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers.

Here are observations from a frustrating Sixers loss:

Embiid vs. Giannis

It's a shame the Sixers only played the Bucks three times in the regular season, because Embiid against Giannis Antetokounmpo is a heavyweight fight worth five times the price of admission. The superstars went back and forth at one another all game long, creating tremendous theater.

Antetokounmpo won the battle, scoring 45 points with 13 rebounds, which included going 16-for-21 from the foul line.

Embiid pulled off a triple-double with 34 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 13 assists, but he was 12-of-31 from the floor.

The Bucks won the season series, 2-1, and Antetokounmpo gets the last laugh for now.

The toughness of Embiid

Embiid made a lot of Sixers fans concerned with 1:28 to go before halftime as he went into the locker room after tweaking his ankle stepping on Antetokounmpo's foot.

In the second half, Embiid went up for a dunk and Antetokounmpo got a piece, resulting in Embild falling hard on the floor on his back, which has bothered him at times this season. Embiid was slow to get up, again concerning the crowd, but he played on without an apparent problem.

The big guy may miss large chunks of games, but he's as tough as they come. Not to mention, he's also got magic healing powers.



What can't Embiid do?

Eric Bledsoe pulled a "Marcus Smart"

The "Marcus NOT SO Smart Award" of the night goes to Bledsoe, who was ejected with 9:24 left in the first quarter because he chucked the ball at Embiid after the center lightly threw the ball at Bledsoe in between plays.



Embiid and Mike Scott were given technical fouls, and Bledsoe was ejected.

That was a big blow to the Bucks and huge for the Sixers, especially considering how much they struggle against playmaking guards.

Mike Scott and JJ Redick clutch

The Sixers bench has been a weakness all season. Scott was forced into the starting lineup because of the back injury to Jimmy Butler, and he didn't disappoint making six of eight 3-point attempts, finishing with 22 points.

Redick was also very good, finishing with 29 points, which included 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.

Not bad, Zhaire

Nineteen-year-old rookie Zhaire Smith made his home debut in Game 79 of the season, and held his own. Though he missed a wideeeeeee open dunk, he played strong defense, was aggressive and looked like he belonged.

After what Smith went through this season with the broken foot and allergic reaction, anything the Sixers can get out of him this season is a bonus.

What in the world was Brett Brown thinking?

Late in the third quarter, the Sixers coach very, very briefly had a lineup on the floor of Tobias Harris, T.J. McConnell, Shake Milton, Jonah Bolden and Mike Scott. The Bucks still had Antetokounmpo in the game.

I know the Sixers are shorthanded, but that should never happen, especially with Antetokounmpo in a game of this magnitude. The Bucks went on a run that turned a nine-point Sixers lead into four heading to the fourth quarter.

Tobias Harris' slump continues

Harris scored 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the floor. The most glaring problem from the time Embiid has missed is he hasn't developed strong chemistry with Harris yet. Harris needs to be better considering what the Sixers gave up for him.

Ben Simmons only took five shots

Simmons distributed the ball nicely, finishing with 13 assists. However, he only took five shots and finished with six points. An All-Star needs to be more active offensively than Simmons was Thursday night.

Bryce Harper ringing the bell was perfect

I had a feeling a certain someone named Bryce Harper would be the ceremonial bell ringer for this game. Like Eagles stars Nick Foles and DeSean Jackson before him, the Phillies' new star slugger received a thunderous roar from the Wells Fargo Center crowd.

WIP's Jack Fritz disagreed with using Harper for a regular-season game. I couldn't disagree more.

This was a huge game for a struggling Sixers team, one that's still trying to lock up the third seed in the East.

Harper brought even more energy to the building in what was certainly a playoff atmosphere. Not to mention, who says the Sixers can't bring him back for a playoff game? 



Powerhouse suite

Harper wasn't the only Philadelphia sports star at the game. Teammate Rhys Hoskins and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz were in the same suite, which was quite the sight to see.



They were joined by Kayla Harper, Maddie Oberg and Hoskins' finance, Jayme Bermudez.



Alston Jeffery was in the building as well, sitting courtside.

Sixers missing critical scoreboards

The silly observation of the night: Other than the main scoreboard at Wells Fargo Center, there's a secondary scoreboard that is critical to the viewing experience -- the board that shows how many points, fouls and rebounds players on the floor have. That board on the Jumbotron and the ones at both ends of the building were out for the entire first half.

I had a computer in front of me with a box score. Folks in the stands though weren't as fortunate.

By Dave Uram