Bucks Defeat 76ers 119-98, Doc Rivers Makes Philadelphia Return

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA News
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the scoring with 30 points, and Damian Lillard contributed 24 points, as the Milwaukee Bucks secured a 119-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers during Sunday’s NBA action. ,

The game marked a notable return for Doc Rivers to Philadelphia. After his tenure with the 76ers, which lasted from 2020 to 2023 and saw the team failing to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs, Rivers, who was let go by Philadelphia following the previous season, experienced his 12th game as Milwaukee’s coach.

Reflecting on his return, Rivers expressed his affection for the city, emphasizing the personal connections and life experiences he gained there, aside from basketball. He shared a humorous moment with a fan, highlighting the positive interaction with the Philadelphia crowd despite a mixed reception during the team introductions.

“It was awesome,” Rivers said. “I had three good years here, and I’m not talking about basketball, I’m talking about life. I enjoyed my stay here. I have made friends for life. The fans were good, too. There were a couple hilarious comments. One guy told me that Larry David was looking for me to golf. I thought that was pretty funny.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

The Bucks quickly silenced the home crowd with an impressive start, spearheaded by Lillard’s early scoring. Milwaukee established a commanding lead early on, partly thanks to Lillard’s and Antetokounmpo’s dynamic performances. Antetokounmpo, nearing a triple-double, played a key role in extending the Bucks’ lead with his all-around play.

“I thought we were consistent,” Lillard said. “We got into the paint, we were willing to make the extra pass to find the open guy, and we got quality looks. To play good offense you find quality shots and have a lot of mix. I thought that’s what we did.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Milwaukee’s defense, highlighted by Rivers, played a pivotal role, especially in limiting Philadelphia’s free throw opportunities compared to Antetokounmpo’s attempts.

“We had been putting such an emphasis on defense,” Rivers said. “The last few games we’ve been terrific. When you have Giannis on your team, if you can get stops and get him in transition, Giannis in transition is a problem for everybody.”

Supporting efforts from Malik Beasley and Bobby Portis Jr. helped Milwaukee maintain their momentum, securing their second consecutive win post-All-Star break, showcasing improved team communication and defensive cohesion.

“It all comes down to communicating,” Beasley said. “Today was one of the first times we all were communicating. (Before) we were getting mixed up making sure we stay with our own guy or switch. We did a great job with that today.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

On the 76ers’ side, Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton led the scoring, but the team struggled to compensate for the absence of Joel Embiid due to injury, prompting 76ers coach Nick Nurse to emphasize the need for better offensive organization and execution.

“We have a lot of guards and a big man shortage,” Nurse said. “We’re trying to figure some things out. But we still have to do a little bit better of a job of ‘drive and kick’ style basketball with this group of guys. We’ve got to get organized. We’ve got to be more organized on the offensive end.”

Looking ahead, the Bucks are set to host the Charlotte Hornets, while the 76ers will face the Boston Celtics in their upcoming games.

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