NBA

Giannis after win over 76ers: You could see that everyone was locked in

By Sports Desk April 23, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo felt the Milwaukee Bucks were "locked in" from the start after recording a fourth successive win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Bucks scored 77 points in the first half before holding off a 76ers fightback to triumph 124-117 in a battle between two of the leading contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Antetokounmpo led the way with 27 points, though the two-time NBA MVP had plenty of help from his colleagues. Khris Middleton had 24 points while Bobby Portis contributed 23 off the bench.

Milwaukee landed 20 of their 40 three-point attempts as a team, though Antetokounmpo was just as impressed with their efforts when not in possession of the ball.

"Guys were finding open guys, getting downhill, knocking down shots. Everybody set the tone from the start," Antetokounmpo told the media.

"From the start, you could see that everyone was locked in. Defensively also, we really seemed locked in.

"Offensively, we found one another and knocked down shots."

Joel Embiid had 24 points for the 76ers, though he landed just nine of his 21 shot attempts - including going 0-for-4 from three-point range.

Antetokounmpo praised the work done by Milwaukee center Brook Lopez when going up against Embiid, with the Bucks happy to let the MVP candidate take jump shots rather than work closer to the basket.

"Embiid is a great player, he's been playing well all season long," Antetokounmpo said.

"You've got to live with that jump shot. You don't want to send him to the free-throw line and you don't want him to get downhill, with his right hook, and get an easy lay-up.

"The gameplan was good - he was going to shoot his jump shot all night. If he makes it all night? Great. But if you don't make it, it's good for us.

"Brook did a great job on him, but he [Embiid] is a great player too."

Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers felt his team - still without Ben Simmons due to an unspecified illness - paid the price for a slow start, insisting his team were "soft" defensively to allow Milwaukee to open up a commanding lead.

The 76ers hit back as they held their opponents to just 16 points in the fourth quarter, though in the end the gap proved just too big.

"Everybody seemed fatigued, not just Joel, I would love to say Joel played better than most of our guys tonight," Rivers said.

"I just felt like we were late on everything. We were soft tonight defensively. That first quarter, they get every shot they wanted. We didn't offer any resistance."

Related items

  • Cavs give Garland $193m extension Cavs give Garland $193m extension

    The Cleveland Cavaliers and guard Darius Garland have agreed to a five-year, $193 million contract extension, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday.  

    The extension is the maximum a player can have added to his rookie contract and could be worth a reported $231m.  

    The deal is the largest in franchise history.  

    Garland scored 21.7 points per game last season and averaged 8.6 assists, helping to guide Cleveland to a resurgence.

    With a 44-38 record, 2021-22 was the Cavs' first winning season without LeBron James since 1997-98.  

    Garland, 22, is now locked into a promising young core that includes 21-year-old Evan Mobley and 24-year-old Jarrett Allen in the frontcourt.

    The Cavs drafted Garland fifth overall in 2019, and the point guard was named to his first All-Star team last season.

  • Golden State Warriors sign free agent Donte DiVincenzo to two-year deal Golden State Warriors sign free agent Donte DiVincenzo to two-year deal

    The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent Donte DiVincenzo to a two-year, $9.3million deal – with the second year being a player option.

    DiVincenzo, 25, was a first-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2018 after winning his second NCAA Championship on the same Villanova team as Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson, earning the Final Four's Most Valuable Player in the 2018 title.

    He found a role immediately with the Bucks, and went on to start in all 66 of his regular season appearances in their championship season in 2021, before getting injured in the first round of the playoffs.

    In that season, he averaged 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 38 per cent from long range, proving himself as a strong complementary piece that can provide above average wing play on both ends of the floor.

    During the Bucks' championship run, Pat Connaughton usurped DiVincenzo's role, with Milwaukee opting to trade him just two months after he returned from his six-month injury layoff.

    While he was never able to truly fit in with the Sacramento Kings after arriving mid-season, he still averaged 18 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.7 steals per 100 possessions in his 25 games off the bench – all career-high marks.

    For the Warriors, DiVincenzo figures to fill important minutes after the departures of both Gary Payton II to the Portland Trail Blazers and Otto Porter Jr to the Toronto Raptors.

  • Jazz trading Gobert to Timberwolves Jazz trading Gobert to Timberwolves

    The Utah Jazz are trading center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday.  

    Utah will receive multiple first-round picks in return for the three-time All-Star, along with Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt and Leandro Bolmaro.  

    ESPN reported that the Timberwolves are sending its 2023, 2025 and 2027 picks unprotected and a top-five protected 2029 pick to Utah.  

    The news comes a day after the Timberwolves and star Karl-Anthony Towns agreed to a four-year, $224million contract extension, giving Minnesota one of the most decorated frontcourts in the NBA.  

    A busy offseason continues for Timberwolves president Tim Connelly, who took over basketball operations this offseason after building the Denver Nuggets into a contender.  

    Gobert led the league last season by grabbing 14.7 rebounds per game. Fellow All-Star Towns ranked 14th at 9.8 rebounds per game.  

    Gobert's departure marks the end of an era for Utah, which peaked in 2020-21 when they secured the West's No. 1 seed but were ousted by the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs.  

    The Jazz went 49-33 last season, losing in the first round to the Dallas Mavericks. The team will now look to rebuild around three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.  

    Gobert has spent all nine of his NBA seasons in Utah, who drafted him 27th overall in 2013. He has averaged 12.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 611 career games.  

    Minnesota, who ranked 24th in the league last season by allowing 113.3 points per game, immediately projects to be stingier with Gobert, who was named the NBA's top defender three times in four seasons from 2017-2021.  

    Last season, the Timberwolves secured the No. 7 seed in the play-in tournament but fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round in six games.  

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.