Wed. Final: 76ers 110, Bucks 105
By Todd Welter
Next game: Friday, January 9 vs. New Jersey
Andre Miller scored a game-high 28 points but it was a rare way of him scoring that made the difference for Philadelphia as the 76ers topped the Bucks 110-105 at the Bradley Center.
With the 76ers only up one with just under a minute to go, Miller found himself matched up against Michael Redd. Redd gave him a wide open look at a three. Not the end of the world that Redd had a defensive breakdown considering Miller is a 28% three-point shooter.
Even Miller second guessed himself and thought he should pass off. Basic fundamentals of basketball is never pass up the open shot so Miller calmly drained the three with 21 seconds left that gave the Sixers just enough breathing room to survive Milwaukee.
"At first I wanted to get the ball to Andre (Iguodala) and let him make the play at the end," Miller explained. "I really didn't know whether to attack the basket or pull up for the shot. I think I surprised Michael a little bit because the scouting report is that I'm not going to shoot the three-pointer. It's something I work on but I don't usually take them."
Andre Iguodala added 20 points for the 76ers as the Bucks turned in yet another poor defensive effort. The Bucks allowed the 76ers to shoot 51.5% from the field and make 8-15 three-pointers.
"They scored a lot of points; too many points," Michael Redd said. "It's uncharacteristic of our team. Tomorrow we go back to the drawing board and try to get better. We have to figure out what we did wrong."
What is going wrong is for the third game in a row the Bucks allowed an opponent to shoot at a high percentage. Redd did have one thought at how to fix the Bucks recent defensive struggles.
"We have to clog the paint up more."
That has been difficult for the Bucks to do lately without Andrew Bogut, who missed his third game in a row with back spasms.
"You can't make any excuses," Richard Jefferson thought. "They were playing with out Elton Brand. Toronto was playing without Jermaine O'Neal. This is a league where you're going to play without people. The team that wins the most games when they're short handed will be the team that is where they need to be at the end of the season."
Toronto shot 54% in Milwaukee's last game but the Bucks pulled out the win because the defense got stops in the fourth quarter. That was not the case in this game as Philadelphia shot 52.6% in the final quarter. The defensive breakdown allowed the 76ers to go on an 18-7 run to take a four point lead with 1:50 left.
"We haven't had any will on the defensive end to start the game," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles thought. "We're breaking down all over the place. We shot the ball well enough to stay in these games but with so many breakdowns we're having a hard time overcoming them."
The Bucks offense sputtered down the stretch also decreased the chances Milwaukee would overcome the Sixers The Bucks shot just 36% in the final quarter and blew a seven point lead they held going into the fourth.
The Bucks did have one last gasp at tying the game but Charlie Bell tried to get a foul on his three-point shot with six seconds left. No whistle was blown. His shot was nowhere near the basket and the Bucks lost at home for just the second time in nine games.
Jefferson scored a team-high 27 points for the Bucks. Charlie Villanueva was just behind him with 26 points. Redd also reached 20 points as the Bucks shot 47% from the field.
The 76ers improve to 15-20. The Bucks drop to 17-20. Up next for the Bucks is the finale of this three-game homestand as the New Jersey Nets come to town on Friday.