3 takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks’ shameful loss to Philadelphia 76ers

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 17 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 17 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton, Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 17 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

In their last game before the NBA All-Star break, the Milwaukee Bucks had the opportunity to go out on a high note as the Philadelphia 76ers visited town. Another top-notch Eastern Conference contender, the 76ers would be a good test for the Bucks, even as their newest addition – a former league-MVP in James Harden – sat out with nagging hamstring issues.

The Bucks appeared prepared for the opportunity as they led the 76ers early on, and it looked like they were ready to pull away in the second quarter. Yet, right when the Bucks built up a 12-point lead, everything went downhill from there. Philadelphia closed the first half on a monstrous run, having finished with 45 points in the period to turn this game around completely to lead by eight points at the half.

While the Bucks battled their way back into the game through an up-and-down second half, even taking the lead late in the game, it was not enough. The 76ers held on to defeat the Bucks with a final score of 123-120, sending the champs into the All-Star break with a brutal loss that should certainly sting. With all that being said, let us take a closer look at three takeaways from the game.

Khris Middleton’s horrific shooting slump continued as the forward clocked in one of his worst performances with the Milwaukee Bucks this season

It is no secret that Khris Middleton has been in a shooting slump for most of February, having his share of tough performances. Playing on the nationally-televised stage against a formidable foe, this was the perfect opportunity to snap out of this slump, but the forward had no such luck as he struggled for the Bucks all night long. Struggled might be putting it too lightly, as this was one of Middleton’s worst games of the season to this point.

Middleton could not buy a bucket consistently all night long, mainly from 3-point territory, where he shot a gruesome 2-of-12. Three of those misses came with under 32 seconds left to play, with the forward missing a trio of clutch triples that would have either tied the ball game or pulled the Bucks within one point. Some will question why Middleton was getting those looks when he was having such a poor night shooting the basketball, but this team has deferred to him in these clutch situations time and time again, so it was no surprise to see them stick with it.

Being plagued largely by his poor 3-point shooting, Middleton finished with 19 points on an ugly 6-for-20 shooting from the floor. In what has regularly been the case this month, Middleton just outright failed to look like the version of himself that was selected to represent the Bucks in the All-Star Game this weekend. He was missing shots he would typically bury with ease, getting lost on the defensive end, and turning the basketball over in crucial moments. Hopefully the break can do him some good, as the Bucks will need the three-time All-Star version of Khris Middleton upon returning to the court next week.