It was far from smooth sailing, but the Milwaukee Bucks picked up their fifth win of the season last night, and that is all that matters.
Taking on an incredibly shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers team, the Bucks looked to be in trouble early after giving up 39 points in the opening quarter. They managed to bounce back and fight it out over the final three quarters in a back and forth battle, and they ultimately got the 118-109 win on the road. With all that being said, let us take a look at three takeaways from the matchup.
Several role players find their stride for the Milwaukee Bucks in win over Philadelphia 76ers
As the Bucks navigate through injuries and illnesses to their roster, coach Mike Budenholzer has called upon several role players to step up and play larger roles. Last night’s matchup against the 76ers was a perfect example of this, and several of them lived up to the billing with noteworthy performances in the win.
The first was Bobby Portis, who continues to start at center as Brook Lopez deals with lingering back soreness. Portis has struggled to find his footing lately as he missed time to start the year due to injury, but he gave Milwaukee a massive lift last night. The big man scored 19 points while knocking down four 3-pointers in eight attempts, finally finding his rhythm from the outside. He also hauled in 10 rebounds, tallying his second consecutive double-double to help win the game.
Another player who certainly caught some attention was Semi Ojeleye, who proved to be a huge factor off the bench early. Ojeleye tallied 11 points and shot a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor, which included hitting three shots from behind the arc. He was fantastic offensively, and he nearly joined Portis with a double-double himself by grabbing eight rebounds. Bucks fans have been critical of the forward following his slow start to the season, but this performance should tone that down for the moment.
Other role players to help seal the deal were Pat Connaughton and Jordan Nwora. Connaughton struggled to find the bottom of the net for most of the game, but he sunk a clutch triple in the fourth quarter to extend Milwaukee’s lead in the final few minutes. Nwora clocked in and scored eight much-needed points for the Bucks off the bench, which proved to be crucial in the end.
With the team desperately needing a win, it was great to see these players chip in.