MILWAUKEE -- The phrase “must-win” is used too often in sports, but if the Sixers wanted to make a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season, a win on Wednesday would go a long way toward that goal.
The Bucks came into the contest with two wins over the Sixers already this season. Milwaukee also sits in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and had a three-game lead over the Sixers coming into this game.
The Sixers could not cut into that margin as they gave up a lead in the fourth quarter of a 94-92 loss. The Bucks won the season series with one more game to play between the two teams.
At the 9:19 mark of the fourth quarter, the Bucks took their first lead of the game at 78-77. Milwaukee was persistent. The Bucks trailed by 10 points after one quarter of play, seven at the half and three points heading into the final 12 minutes.
Follow the leader
Brandon Jennings scored 12 third-quarter points before finishing with 21. Jennings was scoreless in the fourth quarter. His backcourt running mate, Monta Ellis, led all scorers with 27.
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 20 points on 19 shots. Spencer Hawes had 19 points and nine rebounds.
Nick Young scored 12 points in the first quarter on 4 of 4 shooting from the field, including a couple three-pointers. However, he scored just two points the rest of the way.
Jrue Holiday headed into his first All-Star Game with a 16-point, 12-assist game.
Milwaukee shoots 43 percent from the field and 34 from three-point range for the season. At the half, the Bucks were shooting 36 percent from the floor and were just 2 of 8 from three.
In the third quarter, the Bucks shot 55 percent to close within three points and then proceeded to hold the Sixers to 6-of-23 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Take a bow
Former Sixers center Samuel Dalembert 20 has not played much this season when head coach Scott Skiles was in charge. With Skiles now out and Larry Sanders sidelined the last four games with a back injury, the 31-year old Dalembert has filled in nicely.
In the four games prior to Wednesday, Dalembert was averaging 16.5 points and 10 rebounds.
Against his former team, Dalembert scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
The Sixers will have four days to rejuvenate their bodies and minds. They have been together since training camp commenced on Oct. 1, which is 135 days of work and disappointment given they sit in ninth place in the East.
When the Sixers return for a Monday night practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, they will have 31 games to play in the regular season beginning at Minnesota on Feb. 20. They will then return home to face the champion Miami Heat on Feb. 23.