The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 107 – 95 on Monday night in Milwaukee, collecting their fourth successive victory since firing Jason Kidd.
Despite being held scoreless for three quarters, Dellavedova burst to life in the fourth term, making a number of pivotal plays for the Bucks. During a six minute stretch, Dellavedova erupted for all ten of his points on the night. Maker finished with two points in his 18 minutes.
Dellavedova spoke with The Pick and Roll postgame and underscored the importance of this victory.
“We definitely needed to get this one,” Dellavedova said. “Philly got us at their place the other week. We are really close in the standings. These kind of games are worth two.”
Bucks head coach Joe Prunty praised Dellavedova’s performance, explaining that he enjoyed a great night that extended beyond numbers on the box score.
“A lot of times people are going to look at the stat sheet,” Prunty explained. “They are going to say that 2 for 4 from three is what stands out the most, but he does so many little things out there for us.
“He will not only get you into offence. It’s knowing the offence, knowing where guys can be successful or setting screens. Executing plays. Obviously making shots when we need him. He hit two big ones. At the time they were big shots. He’s an important piece.”
Simmons may be the much-hyped rookie, but that didn’t prevent Dellavedova from schooling him with the occasional veteran move throughout the evening. The Maryborough native iced the contest with a wonderfully exotic euro step and reverse finish around his countryman.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 30, 2018
“Might have got a little lucky on that one,” Dellavedova said postgame, when asked about the play.
All three Australians shared the floor for stretches throughout, and there were multiple occasions where both Dellavedova and Maker took turns defending Simmons on the same possession. Midway through the second quarter, Dellavedova jumped in front of a slashing Simmons and drew an offensive foul that prematurely ended an unassuming half for the rookie. He left for halftime with 4 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds in only 11 minutes of action.
Going strictly off the box score, Simmons was the most prominent of the Australians. He finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in 29 minutes, although this was far from Simmons’ best performance. Foul trouble restricted his impact in the first half, while the combined length of Milwaukee’s frontline was a constant challenge on the offensive end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo started the game defending Simmons and was his primary defender whenever the two shared the court. The Bucks also utilised the combined length of their roster to curtail Simmons, as Antetokounmpo routinely sagged away from the Australian on the perimeter and relied on his lengthy teammates – namely Khris Middleton, John Henson and Maker – to help restrict the rookie.
A team defensive effort was something Prunty raised during his pregame press conference, as the interim coach praised Simmons’ ability to impact all phases of basketball. “He can put up big numbers across the stat sheet,” Prunty explained. Milwaukee was effective in limiting Simmons’ impact on this night.
After securing victory, Dellavedova reinforced the potential that lies with Simmons.
“He’s having a great year and obviously had another great game tonight,” Dellavedova noted. “He’s got all the potential in the world so I am looking forward to seeing where he can take it.”
Eric Bledsoe left the game for Milwaukee after three minutes due to left ankle soreness, and Dellavedova could see increased minutes if the former Sun is forced to sit out.
Milwaukee now has two days off before playing the Wolves in Minnesota. The 76ers finish their four game road trip against Brooklyn on Thursday morning (AEDT).