Balanced Sixers bump off the Bucks

MILWAUKEE - This one should not have added up, but the 76ers picked an opportune time to play their most complete game of the season tonight against a Milwaukee Bucks team that made its early mark this season by defending its turf.

Receiving a major boost from the return of Kyle Korver, the Sixers defeated the Bucks, 114-99, before 13,186 at the Bradley Center.

Milwaukee had been 6-0 at home, including wins over Toronto, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas.

The Sixers (4-9) snapped a three-game losing streak. They also entered the game having lost seven of their last eight.

Andre Iguodala scored all 20 of his points in the first three quarters. Iguodala was more impressive distributing the ball with 11 assists while also adding four rebounds. With his jumper working, the Bucks had to play him tight, and Iguodala was able to drive by defenders.

"Andre kept the game going for us with his offense, and when he wasn't scoring, he was doing a great job passing," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "I just think this was a great effort from our team."

Korver, who missed the previous four games with a groin injury, added 20 points off the bench, hitting 8 of 13 from the field. It was his best effort since scoring 20 points in an opening-night 106-97 loss in Toronto.

"I really felt good physically," Korver said. "I got a couple of open shots early. I didn't feel my rhythm early, but then I did get it."

Point guard Andre Miller, showing the form that made him so effective last year, added 18 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

Willie Green scored 15 points and Samuel Dalembert, who had not been a major part of the Sixers' offense recently, had 22 points and eight rebounds. He scored 16 of his points after intermission.

The Sixers ran the fastbreak effectively, showed greater ball movement in the half-court set, and defended capably.

Leading by 11 entering the fourth quarter, Cheeks' team got a major lift from Jason Smith, who blocked a few shots and scored five quick points as the Sixers pulled away against Milwaukee (7-5), which saw a five-game winning streak end.

Milwaukee is vastly improved from last year's team that was ravaged by injuries during a 28-54 nightmare.

This season, the Bucks are healthy. A year ago, injuries forced sharpshooter Michael Redd to miss 29 games and the Bucks were 5-24 without him.

Redd, now in his eighth season, has raised his scoring average each year in the NBA.

The additions of 7-foot rookie Yi Jianlian and former Buck Desmond Mason have given Milwaukee more depth.

The Sixers played arguably their best opening quarter, owning a 32-18 advantage. Not only did they get the running game going, they looked sharp in the half-court offense. The spacing was some of the best it has been all season.

Miller set the tone by taking it to the basket repeatedly on Bucks point guard Mo Williams.

The Sixers also received a boost from Korver, who scored five first-quarter points and he helped spread the floor, enabling the team to drive easier to the basket.

In addition, Iguodala was aggressive taking it to the hoop, especially on one drive when he dunked over 7-foot Andrew Bogut.

"We got out to a great start, then I hit a couple of shots early," Iguodala said. "That opened things up for me. Korver was a big key. He shot the ball well, and when he's out there, that opens everything up."

The Sixers could not keep pace in the second quarter because Milwaukee hurt them with their reserves, mainly Charlie Villanueva and Royal Ivey, an underrated off-season signing from Atlanta.

The two combined for 17 second-quarter points.

The Sixers played a strong first half, committing only four turnovers. They held Redd held to six first-half points, but the Bucks trailed only by 56-52 at intermission.

Iguodala helped the Sixers increase the lead to 12 in the early part of the third quarter.

This was a night when Iguodala was hitting from the perimeter, which opened things up for him to take it to the basket.

Green contributed two third-quarter treys.

Milwaukee kept making runs, but the Sixers answered. They entered the fourth quarter leading by 85-76 and once got a chance to test their closing skills.

This time, they closed it.


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com. Read his blog at http://go.philly.com/deepsixer.