The Sixers will reconvene for a game at Minnesota on Feb. 20. Twelve of their remaining 31 games will be on the road - including 12 of their final 16.
The loss dropped the Sixers (22-29) four games behind the eighth-place Bucks (26-25) in the Eastern Conference race for the playoffs. Eight teams in the East will make the postseason. The Bucks are 3-0 against the Sixers this season and hold the tiebreaker.
After making 55.9 percent of their shots in the first half and leading by 13 points in the second quarter, the Sixers played flat in the second half, when they made just 15 of 42 shots.
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 20 points. They lost a game for the first time when leading going into the fourth quarter (they were 20-0) because they made only 6 of 23 field-goal attempts.
"They adjusted to us," said Spencer Hawes, who finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. "Down the stretch when we needed a big shot, it seemed like we would get right there, but we couldn't get over the hump."
Monta Ellis led the Bucks with 27 points. Former Sixers center Samuel Dalembert, starting in place of the injured Larry Saunders, had 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
The Bucks, who trailed by 75-72 at the start of the fourth quarter, went ahead for good when Ellis sank a layup that made it 82-81 with 6 minutes, 25 seconds to play.
But the Sixers had an opportunity to win the game late.
Ellis missed the second of two free throws with 12.6 seconds to play and the Bucks ahead, 94-92.
After a timeout, the Sixers got the ball to Jrue Holiday. Although he missed a short jumper that would have tied the score, the Sixers still had one last opportunity after a scramble for the ball led to a jump ball.
But the Sixers' Royal Ivey was unable to get the ball under control as Luc Mbah a Moute dislodged it from his hands. He knocked the ball into the backcourt as time expired.
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