The Philadelphia 76ers lost their season opener Thursday Night in Milwaukee in a thrilling game that showed the talents of both teams. The Sixers fought hard in this game, not giving up until the final whistle. A questionable decision to challenge a foul call by Nick Nurse diminished hope of a win and a late De’Anthony Melton three was too little too late. A 118-117 loss to a championship contender gives hope for the future, especially since Milwaukee’s new addition of Damian Lillard and the 76ers not having James Harden for the game.
So what went wrong?
Damian Lillard simply was unstoppable. 39 points is the most for a debut in Bucks history. He shot 45% from the field and made all 17 of his free throws. This was a main issue for the Sixers. Allowing this many free throws by just one player is simply unacceptable and can’t happen for a winning team. Giannis Antetekoumpo played decent for being an MVP finalist, putting up 23 points with 13 boards. He was contained pretty well by Philadelphia and this was definitely promising. However, it wasn’t enough, and Milwaukee pulled through.
With that being said, there were still promising things to take away from this game.
Tyrese Maxey was on fire. The young star in Philly put up 31 points with 8 assists, as well as 2 steals. This is promising since the possibility of James Harden not returning still looms (although now it seems as if he will return). Maxey will need to step up his game and even if Harden plays with Philadelphia again it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in an All-Star uniform in February. Kelly Oubre Jr. on the other hand may not have had the same type of debut Damian Lillard had, but he had an exceptional performance. 27 points shooting 81.81% from the field and 83.33% from three is more than serviceable. In fact, 27 points is the most points by a Sixer coming off the bench in their debut. Oubre has the potential to start with Tobias Harris(who also played great; shooting 88.89% from the field and scoring 20 points) as the two forwards in the starting lineup if he can keep up his offense.
The 76ers will attempt to win their first game of the new year on Saturday Night in Toronto at 7:30 P.M.