Here are my main takeaways and “best” and “worst” awards from the 76ers’ 130-95, regular-season-closing victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
- The Sixers are deeper than perhaps folks give them credit for being. They didn’t miss a beat while, once again, playing undermanned. This time, JJ Redick (lower-back tightness) joined Joel Embiid (fractured orbital bone, NBA concussion protocol) as sidelined starters. Yet the team still coasted to a lopsided victory.
- Justin Anderson definitely needs to get more minutes. The reserve swingman has been battling injuries all season and also has been out of the rotation even when healthy. But Anderson often makes the most of his playing time. Wednesday was just another example, as he finished with 25 points and hit 5 (of 12) three-pointers. Both were career highs.
- Markelle Fultz looks nothing like a guy who had some confidence issues a couple of months ago. The 19-year-old became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double. The first overall pick had 13 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, two turnovers and one block in 25 minutes, 15 seconds in a reserve role. He made 6 of 13 shots in his 10th game back after missing 68 straight because of the yips.
- The Sixers joined elite company this season with their Wells Fargo Center-record 80 points in the first half. The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are the only other NBA teams to score at least 80 in a first half this season. This was the eighth time the Sixers scored at least 70 before intermission this season.
- The Sixers are the first team in NBA history to enter the playoffs with a 16-game winning streak, breaking the record of 15 games set by the Rochester Royals during the 1949-50 season.
“Best” and “worst” awards
- Best performance: This was a tough one, because of Fultz’s triple-double. But I had to give this to Anderson. He was on a major mission Wednesday night and couldn’t be stopped.
- Worst performance: Bucks small forward Khris Middleton missed six of his eight shots en route to scoring just four points. He also finished with just one rebound.
- Best defensive performance: This goes to Sixers reserve guard TJ McConnell, who had a game-high four steals.
- Worst statistic: This goes to Bucks forwards Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo for combining to shoot 7 for 22.
- Best statistic: I have to give this to the Sixers’ 80 first-half points.