6 observations from Sixers-Clippers

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6 observations from Sixers-Clippers

The Sixers could not complete a comeback against the Clippers in a 94-83 loss at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night (see Instant Replay).

Here's a look at some key factors from the game:

1. No containing CP3
Before the game, Sixers head coach Brett Brown explained how he hoped to contain Clippers point guard Chris Paul.

“We need to keep the game in front of us on all levels. He is so special in regards to disposition and mindset,” Brown said before the game. “He is the alpha dog.”

Obviously, containing Paul is easier said than done since he had little difficulty driving to his spots on the floor. Though he had 13 assists to go with 25 points, Paul could have had a lot more assists, and that’s just counting the passes he made to Willie Green.

Green shot 3 for 11 and missed five wide-open shots that would have been assists for Paul.

As far as Brown’s “alpha dog” comment in regard to Paul, it’s an apt description. Paul was clearly in charge of the game, dictating its ebbs and flows. The people sitting courtside had no trouble hearing Paul direct his teammates around the floor or call for outlet passes after missed shots.

2. Man in the middle
As for rebounds, there were plenty of them for both teams on Monday night. The Sixers missed 20 shots in the first quarter and 17 more during the second quarter.

Those missed shots worked out well for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who grabbed 11 rebounds in the first half and 21 for the game. Jordan entered the game averaging 12.9 boards per game, the fourth-best average in the league.

Like Paul, Jordan had plenty to say on the floor during the game. During the second half, Jordan told the Sixers’ Brandon Davies, “I take those,” as they leapt for a rebound.

The Sixers made just three three-pointers against the Clippers, missing 18. Spencer Hawes went 0 for 2 from three-point range and saw his three-point streak end at 20 games.

The 20-game streak is the sixth-longest in team history.

Hawes was marginalized by the Clippers’ big men, shooting 1 for 6 for two points and four rebounds. At one point during the third quarter, Blake Griffin posted up Hawes in the middle of the paint as if he caught the Sixers in a mismatch.

3. Be aggressive
Brown also talked about the Sixers’ need to get more aggressive play from Evan Turner during the pregame powwow with the media. Whether Brown provided the impetus for Turner’s focused play or some other reason, it worked.

Turner got to the basket as evidenced by seven shots made in the paint and eight rebounds.

The aggressiveness wasn’t just reserved for Turner’s drives to the basket. While protesting a call near the Clippers’ bench during the third quarter, Los Angeles’ bench player Ryan Hollins stood up and said something to Turner.

Rather than telling Hollins to mind his own business, Turner told the center to be quiet in much more direct and colorful language.

Sometimes the direct approach best drives the point home.

4. Loud and clear
The (non) call Turner was protesting was an emphatic blocked shot by Griffin on a little jumper by Davies. Griffin swatted the ball into the fourth row behind the Clippers’ bench, though it was clearly a goaltend. Either way, the Sixers kept the ball.

5. Showing some fire
Turner and Lavoy Allen were in the middle of a little dust-up with the Clippers’ Paul and Jordan. Paul is no stranger to getting his ire up against bigger players, especially strong guys who set big picks. In fact, two summers ago, Paul had to be pulled away from Anderson Varejao during a pre-Olympic exhibition game between the U.S. and Brazil.

6. No worries
Thad Young shrugged off the non-existent trade rumors (see story) with a team-high 11 rebounds and plenty of drives to the hoop against Griffin.

“I definitely love Philly, and want to continue being here,” Young said. “If they see fit to trade me, then hey, my time is up and I have to move on.”

Sixers-Bucks 5 things: Joel Embiid back to face the 'Greek Freak'

Sixers-Bucks 5 things: Joel Embiid back to face the 'Greek Freak'

Sixers at Bucks
3:30 p.m. - CSN/CSNPhilly.com/streaming live on the NBCSports App

The Sixers (12-26) look to get back in the win column when they face the Milwaukee Bucks (20-19) at the Bradley Center in a Martin Luther King Day matinee.

Let's take a closer look at Monday afternoon's matchup:

1. Back on the Embiid express
The Sixers have started to show flashes of coming together and finally turning the corner on their massive rebuild. However, they are nowhere near the point that they can remove the biggest piece of the puzzle and still expect to win games.

The Sixers found that out again on Saturday night, as they were pummeled during the second half of a 109-93 loss to the Washington Wizards with Joel Embiid sidelined for rest.

The team didn't want to use the rookie phenom's absence as an excuse, but it was clear his presence was missed.

“We didn’t have that extra oomph,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after the loss. “Obviously, the omission of Joel Embiid clearly is impactful, but that’s the challenge. We just didn’t have it tonight.”

Embiid and his 19.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game will be back in the lineup against the Bucks.

2. Freak of nature
The Sixers won't be the only squad with a star in the making on the court Monday afternoon.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has shown plenty of potential since he was selected by the Bucks 15th overall in the 2013 draft (Anthony Bennett, who was recently released by the Brooklyn Nets, was taken No. 1 overall that year, for those of you keeping track at home). But the man known as "The Greek Freak" has taken his game to new heights this season.

Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.4 points on 53.5 percent shooting in addition to 8.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.8 steals per game this season - all career highs. He's also coming off a 33-point, eight-rebound and six-assist performance in the Bucks' 111-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

With Antetokounmpo playing point guard full time now and the Bucks' starting five boasting players all above 6-foot-7, it's hard to determine how the Sixers will match up on defense. Whatever the plan is to slow down "The Greek Freak," it will have to be a total team effort.

3. Protect the paint
All of that size and athleticism for the Bucks is a big reason they attack the rim so much. Milwaukee is tied with Oklahoma City for the league lead in points in the paint with 50.6 per game.

The Sixers were dominated on the low block for 54 points by the Wizards on Saturday with Embiid out. For the season, they rank 14th in the league in points in the paint allowed at 42.3 a night.

One thing that might help the Sixers is their shot blocking. They swat 5.6 shots a game (sixth in the NBA), which could deter some of those romps to the rim by the Bucks.

4. Injuries
T.J. McConnell (right wrist), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Khris Middleton (hamstring) is out for the Bucks.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost 12 of their last 14 games to the Bucks.

• Ersan Ilyasova spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Bucks (see story on his return to Milwaukee). This will mark the fourth time he has faced his former team.

• Jabari Parker, selected No. 2 overall in the 2014 NBA draft right before Embiid, has emerged this season with 20.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.

T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C., the Sixers announced Monday morning.

McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.

The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.

The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.

Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.