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Next time "match" my minutes with Giannis

Next time “match” my minutes with Giannis

Giannis pulled out late in the second half to take the Bucks out of the double-digit hole. When Joel Embiid was eliminated from a Tuesday night game in the third quarter between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks, his team led 82–72 with 3:37 left in the period. It was basically back and forth all night, but the 6ers took the lead by double digits and were in the best position to secure the win.

But then two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored the next 15 points for the Bucks to close the gap to 91–87 with 10:36 left in the fourth quarter. Embiid returned to the game shortly after Giannis’ ridiculous offense, but by then Milwaukee had already gained momentum, leading the game to come to last possession. Giannis’ block on Embiid’s return attempt, which was originally thought to be a goalie, gave the Bucks a 118–116 comeback victory, gave them a one-game lead in the East standings, and a tiebreak over the Sixers.

After the game, when asked what he thought the Sixers had gone wrong, Embiid pointed to Giannis’ 15-point streak and the fact that Philadelphia had no response to slow him down.

“The game really changed when I came on the bench,” said Embiid. “I don’t think we did [a good enough job] at the end of the third quarter, at the beginning of the fourth. Their best player scored 17 points in a row or whatever. I didn’t think we did what we had to do. They made that run, closed the gap, picked up momentum and continued.”

When asked what the Sixers could have done differently to slow Giannis down, Embiid said that it didn’t help him to be on the bench during Antetokounmpo’s entire run.

“When I was on the floor, I really felt confident that I would always be there to help. I thought we didn’t follow that strategy, we didn’t build a wall and he had a lot of freedom to just attack and get whatever he wanted. It changed the game. Maybe next time just match the minutes.”

Matching Embiid’s minutes with Antetokounmpo’s is Philadelphia’s best response to trying to slow down the current Finals MVP because Doc Rivers’ plan to throw Paul Millsap to Giannis certainly didn’t work. However, if these two teams face each other in the playoffs, I suspect that Rivers will implement this plan so that Philadelphia will not be used due to the lack of Embiid.