LOS ANGELES, United States, Jan 17 – Philadelphia center Joel Embiid came on strong in the fourth quarter on Monday to power the suddenly surging 76ers to a 113-104 NBA victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee.
Embiid, playing his injury delayed rookie season, scored 22 points with 12 rebounds and five blocked shots in 29 minutes as the 76ers notched their fourth win in five games.
Although he got off to a slow start after sitting out a game against Washington on Saturday to rest, he was firing on all cylinders by the fourth quarter.
He scored 12 points in the final period as the Sixers pulled away. It was his strong move to the basket that drew a sixth foul against Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo with 2:51 remaining.
“I thought in the first half, I didn’t have my legs with me,” Embiid said. “They were really heavy. But I just got it going and my teammates, also.”
“I rely on my defense to get my offense going and I think I played real well defensively today.”
The 76ers made just 35 of their 78 shots from the floor, but that included 14 of 37 from three-point range.
They also hit 29 of 36 free throws in a game coach Brett Brown called “our finest team win”.
The Bucks have had trouble lately stopping the three-pointer — although they led the league in three-point defense a few weeks ago.
They have allowed at least 10 three-pointers in each of their last seven games.
“We can talk about it but if there’s no effort in guarding it and understanding, again, it starts with effort,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “If we don’t give it, we’re going to give up a lot of threes.”
Nor did the Bucks make many threes, connecting on just five of 14 attempts from long range.
Antetokounmpo was hot early in the game but he was hindered by foul trouble in the second half, when he scored just two of his 23 points.