Once upon a time, the Sixers/Bucks match up was one of the most competitive rivalries in the league. Billed as Julius Erving vs. his dynamic counterpart, Marques Johnson, this was a game never associated with boredom. The Sixers usually defeated the Bucks but ironically were the last team Dr. J faced; Milwaukee bested Philly in the 1987 playoffs.
Flash to 2010 and the tables turned. Milwaukee won 95-90 on the road in Philly Friday night…their 4th straight win and 3rd without Andrew Bogut to inch closer to locking up a higher seed in the playoffst. It was the Sixers 6th straight loss after winning two straight on March 24 and 26.
Milwaukee led wire to wire.
Philly did all it could to give away the win by shooting a miserable 45% (9-20) from the free throw line. In 10 of the last 16 games the Sixers have shot below 70%. Milwaukee actually made more free throws (21) than Philadelphia attempted. That dubious stat has reared its rather ugly head in 11 of the past 21 games (27 games overall after just 10 the previous season).
The Bucks led 48-36 at the half on 50% shooting while the Sixers were held to 32.5%.
Carlos Delfino had 18 of his game high 23 points in the first half on 6-8 shooting and made all of his 4 three point attempts (5-8 total). Star rookie point guard Brandon Jennings recorded 16 points, 7 assists and 5 steals.
Luke Ridnour was stellar off the bench and scored 18 points (9 in the 4th) on 8-12 shooting. Luc Mbah a Moute had 13 points and 9 rebounds.
For the Sixers Andre Iguodala had 21…hitting 9 of 13. He’s played well the last third of games and over his last 9 he’s shooting a scorching 59% from the floor and 55% from the behind the arc. Jrue Holiday had 13 points and a game high 8 assists but also had 7 or the Sixers 17 turnovers. Lou Williams had 15, Jodie Meeks and Willie Green 11. Sammy Dalembert had 7 points and a game high 15 rebounds.
After being down close to double digits most of the game the Sixers furiously shot their way back in the 4th. With 3:41 left and Milwaukee up by ten, Lou Williams took a sweet no look bounce pass from Iguodala in the lane and threw down an almost eye level tomahawk slam. The dunk caused Delfino to smile as he ducked his head to get out of the poster shot. On the next Sixers possession, Williams scored three the old fashion way on a driving layup plus the free throw. The play ignited the crowd and energized the Sixers who crept within 4 with 1:39 left after a Dalembert lob from Williams. After a timeout with 47 seconds left, Dalembert caught another lob… a set play…from Holiday. A Holiday three moved the deficit to two and after Jennings made two penalty free throws, Iguodala hit a clutch 25 foot pull up 3 to get it down to 1 with 12.9 seconds left. After Mbah a Moute hit two from the line to push the lead back up to three Dalembert was whistled for a foot on the baseline. Similar turnovers have been typical of the Sixers late in games and the play knocked the wind out of a valiant comeback. Jennings hit two from the line to close out the scoring.
I ask Coach Jordan about Iguodala’s heightened play as of late at the 2:30 mark…