The Philadelphia 76ers look to get back in the win column after suffering their worst loss of the season as they hit the road for a matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night to begin a three-game road trip.
Philadelphia is coming off a demoralizing 135-87 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. The 48-point margin is tied for the sixth-largest losing margin in franchise history, and it is the largest since Dec. 7, 2015.
Joel Embiid finished with a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds on 3-of-9 shooting, his lowest scoring total since Dec. 15. Tyrese Maxey contributed 11 points, and Paul Millsap and Georges Niang each chipped in nine off the bench.
Thursday's meeting with the Bucks will be the last game that the Sixers are without James Harden, as he plans to make his debut on Feb. 25 after the All-Star break. Harden was traded to Philadelphia at the deadline and is averaging 22.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 10.2 assists this season through 44 games.
"Originally, when I was going through everything I was going through in Houston, Philly was my first choice. It just didn't happen," Harden said. "I just knew for a very long time this was a perfect fit and obviously you got a big man, the best big man in the league in Joel, and then obviously the coaching. Just from top to bottom it made sense."
Embiid has certainly been backing up Harden's words with his play over the past month, as the five-time All-Star is averaging 30.3 points and 13 rebounds in February while recording a double-double in six of seven games.
Milwaukee had better luck on Tuesday night, walking away with a 128-119 win over the Pacers. Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a season-high 50 points on 17-of-21 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds after missing one game with a sore ankle to hand Indiana its seventh straight loss.
Khris Middleton added 19 points and eight assists, and Jrue Holiday went for 14 points and eight assists. Lindell Wigginton made a significant contribution off the bench, scoring a career-high 12 points.
"He's (Antetokounmpo) just in a good place, in a good rhythm at the free-throw line, very confident there, you get 14 of those and then a couple three balls and it can add up for him," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. "So, 50's never easy but it's great to have him back."
Although it has Antetokounmpo back, Milwaukee will still be without Pat Connaughton after he underwent surgery on the fractured fourth metacarpal on his right hand, and Brook Lopez, who is still recovering from back surgery.
George Hill has also been sidelined with a neck injury, Wesley Matthews was inactive against the Pacers due to a sore toe and Grayson Allen is questionable after leaving Tuesday's game with a hip injury.
The Bucks have a chance to improve to 2-0 on the season over Philadelphia, having beaten the 76ers 118-109 back on Nov. 9. Milwaukee has taken the past six meetings between the teams, with its last loss coming on Dec. 25, 2019.
--Field Level Media
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