MILWAUKEE — The 76ers had a bad combination Monday night.
They were without NBA all-star center Joel Embiid, and they struggled mightily in their three-point shooting. That contributed to a 107-95 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Embiid was ruled out of the game Monday morning, one day after being deemed “available” to play. It would have marked the first time he has played in both games of a back-to-back situation in his two-year career.
The Sixers (24-23) dropped to 2-8 in games without him this season.
This loss came on a night when they made a season-low two three-pointers in 26 attempts. Their previous season low was three. The Sixers did it in back-to-back games against the Cleveland Cavaliers (Nov. 27) and Washington Wizards (Nov. 29).
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) January 30, 2018
The Sixers’ 7.7 percent shooting on threes was also a season low. Their previous season low of 10.7 percent came in the game against the Cavs.
They missed their first 18 attempts before two-way player James Young made a three-pointer with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the third quarter. Robert Covington hit their second three with 7:39 remaining.
“We just tried to find somebody to make a three,” coach Brett Brown said of his team’s futile effort from long range. “We just couldn’t find out. Without Joel, we knew that if we were going to win we needed a three-point successful night.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks (27-22) with 31 points and 18 rebounds for his 22nd double-double of the season. Khris Middleton added 19 points.
Dario Saric had 19 points to lead the Sixers. Ben Simmons added 16 points, while Covington and Richaun Holmes had 13 apiece.
But the big news of the day was Embiid’s quest to play on consecutive nights, which will be delayed until the end of the week.
He was listed as available, assuming his body felt good after Sunday’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But the team decided he needed rest after he played 35:32 in the 122-112 setback at OKC — the most he had played since getting 48:39 of court time in a triple-overtime loss to the Thunder on Dec. 15.
“When you look at it sort of in totality with all the games coming up, we didn’t feel comfortable putting him in a situation tonight,” coach Brett Brown said.
Embiid and the Sixers will face the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center to cap their four-game road trip. The plan is for him to play Friday at home against the Miami Heat and Saturday against the Pacers in Indiana.
This is the sixth back-to-back situation the Sixers have faced this season, and Embiid has missed at least one game in each of them. He has missed 10 games this season because of rest and/or minor injuries.