Sixers beat Bucks, stay undefeated at home

The Buck stops here and gets stripped by Sixers big men Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand. Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings committed three turnovers.
The Buck stops here and gets stripped by Sixers big men Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand. Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings committed three turnovers. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 17, 2012

Protecting home court is one of the most basic and rudimentary elements of a successful season in any sport, and right now very few NBA teams are doing that as well as the 76ers.

On Monday, the Milwaukee Bucks, still winless on the road this season, learned firsthand how difficult it is for visitors when they play at the Wells Fargo Center. The Bucks became the Sixers' sixth victim in as many home games, falling, 94-82, in front of 17,281 fans on Martin Luther King's Birthday.

The Sixers (10-3) are just one of four teams that have yet to lose at home this season. San Antonio is 9-0, and Chicago and Indiana are 5-0 at home.

While the opponent was new, the formula was the same tried-and-true method the Sixers have used so regularly and with such efficiency on most nights this season.

"What they have done really well this year is they have some guys that are very good with the ball," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. "But when a guy is open, he gets the ball. And he gets it on time and on target. They are really playing unselfishly. They have guys that can do things with the ball, but they sacrifice and spread the ball around, and it makes them difficult to defend."

No team has scored more than 89 points against the Sixers at home, where they also have limited Toronto to 62 points and Detroit to 73. Monday's win was their ninth in the last 10 games.

The Sixers have played six of their last eight games at home, and nine of their next 10 also are scheduled for the Wells Fargo Center. Coach Doug Collins has emphasized the importance of winning these early home games, because the Sixers close the season playing nine of their last 11 on the road.

"We can't let them come in here and beat us on our home court - we've got to defend our home court," Collins said, noting that the Sixers have home games coming up against Denver and Atlanta. "We've got two important home games, and then we go to Miami to play a big game there."

Relayed the message, Sixers guard Jrue Holiday said this has been the team's approach all season.

"He has always emphasized that," Holiday said. "Our home court is our home court. You don't want anybody breaking into your home."

Holiday led the way Monday with 24 points, a season-high five steals, and five assists. Andre Iguodala, who found out earlier in the day that he was one of 20 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, contributed 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a pair of blocks.

Spencer Hawes, hampered lately by a lower-back strain, recorded his sixth double-double of the season (11 points, 10 rebounds), leaving him one shy of the seven he needed 81 games to get last season. And Lou Williams came off the bench to score 17 points for the Sixers, who led, 31-25, after one quarter and never trailed after that.

They accomplished this without the services of reserve guard Evan Turner, who was out with a bruised right thigh.

Holiday and Iguodala did fantastic jobs defensively against the Bucks' best scorers, Brandon Jennings and Stephen Jackson. Andrew Bogut led the Bucks (4-8) with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocked shots. However, Holiday limited Jennings, who averages 18.7 points, to seven points on 3-for-11 shooting. With Iguodala shadowing him, Jackson finished with nine points on 3-for-12 shooting.

"I thought Jrue Holiday had his best game of the year; he was fabulous," Collins said. "I thought Andre Iguodala was magnificent in every phase of the game. Defensively, I didn't take him out in the second half because we were a man short. I think today was a great statement today for him."


Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com or @deepsixer3 on Twitter.

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