James Harden starred as he led the Philadelphia 76ers to a stunning win over the Milwaukee Bucks and snapped their 16-game winning streak in the process. The 76ers overturned an 18-point deficit to pull off a massive 133-130 win Saturday night.
Although two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo came to town and scored 34 points, Harden led the way as he scored 38 points as well as nine rebounds and 10 assists. It was a stellar performance from the 10-time All-Star, who won the MVP award himself in 2018.
Harden didn’t have to do it all himself, as MVP candidate Joel Embiid added 31 points and 10 assists. In fact, Harden and Embiid became the first 76ers duo to score more than 30 points and at least 10 assists each in the same game since Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer in 1965.
Therese Maxey also contributed with 26 points as the 76ers outscored the Bucks 48-31 in the fourth quarter to rally again and ultimately secure the deciding win in the regular season. That meant Milwaukee’s winning streak came to an abrupt end after the franchise embarked on its longest winning streak in the NBA since the Phoenix Suns’ 18-game winning streak earlier in the campaign.
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The Bucks built a solid 18-point lead in the third quarter before the 76ers exploded, scoring 23-9 to tie the game at 108 midway through the fourth. Antetokounmpo — who is in the mix to win his third MVP award — converted two free throws with less than two minutes left to make it 125-121 in his team’s favor before Harden and Embiid connected on consecutive three-point hits.
Then Philadelphia took the lead for the first time since the second quarter, and Maxey made two free throws to extend their advantage to four points with 25 seconds left in the game. The 76ers eventually held on to a 41-22 lead on the season, while the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks fell to 45-18 — just half a game ahead of the Boston Celtics.
For the Bucks, Brook Lopez scored 26 points while Gro Holiday added 26 points and 13 assists. Grayson Allen made six three-pointers and finished with 20 points, all of which came in the third quarter.
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Despite losing two key players in Tobias Harris and PJ Tucker, the 76ers still managed to make a comeback. Harris left the game and sat out the entire second half with calf soreness, while Tucker sat out the fourth quarter with back spasms. Harris scored three points in 13 minutes, while Tucker scored two points in 19 minutes to seal the victory for Philadelphia.
The 76ers will take on the Indiana Pacers in their next game on Monday night. The Pacers, 28-36, rank twelfth in the Eastern Conference and lost their last match against the San Antonio Spurs, despite facing the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
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