Sixers battered by Bucks as Okafor sits again

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The Sixers' bench watch their game against the Bucks.

The 76ers had another performance reminiscent of last season.

No matter how much effort they displayed, it was obvious that the Sixers didn't have a chance Monday night as the Milwaukee Bucks cruised to a 112-98 victory at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers (23-40) were without Jahlil Okafor for the second straight game because of right knee soreness.

But his presence probably wouldn't have made a difference in a game that was basically over late in the second quarter.

That's when the Sixers trailed by 19 points twice en route to suffering their fifth loss in the last six games. Milwaukee extended its lead to 27 points with 9 minutes, 36 seconds left. And this was a Bucks squad (29-33) that the Sixers beat in this season's previous two series meetings.

But that was before Joel Embiid was lost for the season with a torn meniscus/bone bruise in the left knee and Nerlens Noel and Ersan Ilyasova were traded.

"How can we not just look at that and just admit it? I mean, let's call it for what it is," Sixers coach Brett Brown said of his post-trade deadline team being similar to last season's post-trade deadline squad. The Sixers only won two games after last season's trade deadline and finished 10-72 for the season.

"My analytics people told me I played 64 five-man rotations since [this season's] all-star break [heading into Monday's game]," Brown said. "That's not 40 games. That's six games. . . . So it's borne out of injuries. It's borne out of trades.

"That's just the way it is."

On this night, Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tony Snell took advantage.

Antetokounmpo finished with a game-high 24 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and two steals.

Snell added 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals despite sitting out the fourth quarter. The shooting guard made 8 of 11 shots, including 5 of 7 three-pointers. Eighteen of his points came in the first half.

Justin Anderson, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Shawn Long paced the Sixers.

Anderson had a team-high 19 points to go with six rebounds in a reserve role. Covington finished with 15 points, two blocks and a steal. Saric added 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Long had 13 points and seven rebounds after signing a 10-day contract earlier in the day.

The Sixers added Long after petitioning the league for a 16th roster spot because they have four players out for at least an additional two weeks after missing at least three games.

Embiid, Ben Simmons (right foot), and Jerryd Bayless (left wrist) had season-ending injuries. Tiago Splitter (right calf) could return in a couple of weeks.

But on this night, the Sixers were once again without the guy expected to start after Embiid's injury and Noel was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

Okafor has been dealing with knee soreness since having surgery on March 22, 2016, to repair the meniscus. The injury cost the NBA all-rookie selection the final 23 games of last season.

Brown was asked if he is concerned, considering that the surgery was almost a year ago. The coach mostly sidestepped the question.

"More missing him - not on the court - stands out to me the most," he said. "I hear the question. But for me, I'm just going into the game tonight and who we are going to play with."

Richaun Holmes (eight points, nine rebounds) started in place of Okafor for the second straight game. Brown said he doesn't think the second-year veteran will be sidelined long.

"I don't think so," the coach said. "He was fine today going through shootaround, same old  same old that we all heard for a while a long time on, trying to err on being smart.

"But I can't make that a perfect statement. But my gut says I don't believe so."

Okafor is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday morning.

He has played only 984 minutes so far this season after being buried behind Embiid and Noel on the bench. That's down from the 1,591 minutes he played last season, and that campaign ended on Feb. 28, 2016.

The Sixers went into intermission down 17.

"What can I say?" Saric said. "We start again minus-17 [at halftime]. It's unacceptable if you ask me, because we don't have enough guys with maybe five, six injuries, and we started minus-17 and tried to win the game. I think it's not possible."

kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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