Image by Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
The Philadelphia 76ers (37-64) who were winners of 6 out of their last 8 traveled to Los Angeles to face the Clippers (41-19) for the beginning of a 4 game road trip on the west coast. They entered the game as 13.5 point underdogs with no-one giving them much chance of anything with out their two All-Stars Joel Embiid & Ben Simmons. Someone would need to step up in their absence if there was going to be a chance and that someone was Shake Milton.
The Sixers came out very aggressive on both ends of the floor in attack mode, jumping out to a 25-11 lead midway through the quarter. Shake (11), Harris (13), and J-Rich (9) all combined for 33 first quarter points but the Clippers bench made a run late in the quarter. Lou Williams led that charge with 8 points in 3 min and 46 seconds to cut the Sixer lead to just five.
SIXERS 39 – CLIPPERS 34
The Clippers run continued early into the second quarter taking a 2 point lead before the Sixers could even register a point. You could also see a matchup nightmare with Montrezl Harrell developing in the paint against Al Horford & Kyle O’Quinn. Another starter, Josh Richardson, was knocked out of the game with a concussion which put even more pressure on starting point guard Shake Milton to step up his game further. Now being guarded by Kawhi Leonard, the moment was not too big for Shake as he went off for 26 first half points carrying the Sixers to a 2 point lead at the break. Former Clipper Mike Scott added another 8 off the bench but the Sixers defense was missing in action. They would need continued scoring help from the bench if they were going to be able to stay in this game.
SIXERS 72 – CLIPPERS 70
Al Horford, who ended up fouling out, may have been going down but he wasn’t going down without a fight. He battled hard in the 3rd scoring 10 points but Kawhi Leonard (30pts) & Paul George (24pts) came right back with an answer every time. Shake Milton tied an NBA record 13 straight three pointers but that would be his only 3 of the quarter. The score was tied at 89 at which point the Clippers bench, led by the trio of Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Reggie Jackson went on a 19-7 run to close the quarter out going up by 12 going into the fourth. Quitting time for the Sixers?
CLIPPERS 108 – SIXERS 96
The Sixers and Clippers traded baskets for most of the quarter keeping the Sixers within striking distance. The silver lining in this game for me was that they easily could have folded the tents multiple times in this game but chose to fight which is not typical of the road Sixers team we have seen this year. Shake Milton, who finished with a career high 39 points, re-entered the game for a fouled out Al Horford by assisting on and knocking down his own three cutting the lead to just 4 points with 3:46 seconds to go in the game.
Ultimately, Lou Williams (24pts) and Montrezl Harrel (24pts) would spoil Shakes great game. They were the difference leading a Clippers bench that scored 69 points. The Sixers bench actually scored 43 points which isn’t bad but defensively the Sixers couldn’t stop anything.
FINAL SCORE CLIPPERS 136 – SIXERS 130
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