Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler take over fourth quarter as 76ers hang on to overcome Antetokounmpo's career-high 52-point game

Two of the Eastern Conference's powerhouses locked horns in Milwaukee and they did not disappoint.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 40 points, 15 rebounds and six assists on 15-of-31 shooting from the field, scoring 18 points in the fourth quarter.

The 76ers make it four wins in a row, in Embiid's fourth game back since returning from injury, clinching their playoff berth in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008 and 2009, but it didn't come easy as they held off a ferocious effort from Giannis Antetokunmpo, who recorded a career-high 52 points on 15-of-26 shooting, adding 16 rebounds and seven assists.

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The 76ers built a 62-53 half-time lead, with Embiid (16 points) and Antetokounmpo (17 points) going back and forth as neither team had an answer for the respective superstars.

A three-pointer from Mike Scott with 9:34 in the fourth quarter gave the 76ers a comfortable 98-86 lead, before the Bucks made things interesting down the stretch, behind buckets from Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton, who scored 10 of his 19 points in the final frame.

Jimmy Butler checked back into the game with 8:13 remaining, as he and Embiid steadied the ship for the 76ers, combining to score 28 of the team's next 30 points.

The Bucks cut the deficit to just four points and looked on track to pull off the comeback, but Embiid had other ideas, sucking the enrgy out of Fiserv Forum with this dagger three to make the lead seven points with 34.9 seconds left.

Butler, who finished with 27 points, was relentless in the fourth, hitting tough shot after tough shot to lead the 76ers home. Ben Simmons finished with eight points, nine rebounds and nine assists on the night.

With the win, Philly move to 45-25, a full game clear of the fourth-placed Indiana Pacers, evening the season series against the Bucks at 1-1. The two teams will play one more time this season on April 5 in Philadelphia.

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