Shake Milton’s clutch three is just what the Sixers needed

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The 76ers were seconds away from deja vu. 

They coughed up another double-digit fourth-quarter lead to a team they should have been beating with ease. A loss to the San Antonio Spurs would have made them 0-2 at the Walt Disney World “bubble” and left them with a very bad taste in their mouths.

But trailing by two with the clock winding down, new starting point guard Shake Milton had as good a bounce-back moment he could have possibly had. 

Milton — two nights after a scoreless and foul-riddled clunker for him against the Indiana Pacers — drilled the go-ahead and eventual game-winning three-pointer with 7.2 seconds left in the Sixers’ 132-130 win over the Spurs. 

S H A K EM I L T O N pic.twitter.com/QomN3Dxo23

— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 4, 2020

Philadelphians love a redemption story, and Milton — who scored 16 points on six-of-nine from the floor and two-of-four from three-point range — is one of the handful of positives in a puzzling season for the Sixers. 

“He wasn’t guarded. They threw him the ball and he didn’t think, he just shot it,” head coach Brett Brown said postgame. “Shake … it’s quite clear — articulate, intelligent young man. And the poise and grace that he goes about his business with, I think was reflected in that moment. He just was very calm and took a lot of belief in himself and ended up with maybe one of the biggest shots of his career.”

And arguably, the biggest shot of the Sixers season to date. 

Fittingly, Joel Embiid — who Milton got in a visible argument with on Saturday after a sloppy first quarter versus Indiana — was one of the first to celebrate with Milton after the big bucket.

SHAKIN' RIGHT IN TO A WIN! pic.twitter.com/H9zxtP6na4

— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 4, 2020

“I was really happy,” said Embiid, who scored 27 points with nine rebounds. “It’s good to be in that situation and hit the game-winner. Extremely happy for him. He’s been working really hard this season and it’s showing off, and that was a big shot he hit, and he gave us the win.”

Shake came up to me before the game and said “IT BECAME PERSONAL FOR ME” just like MJ lmao!! Nice shot young fella #TheProcess

A post shared by Joel "The Process" Embiid (@joelembiid) on Aug 3, 2020 at 8:33pm PDT

In addition to his scoreless performance versus the Pacers on Saturday, Milton only took one shot and committed five personal fouls. Monday was the exact opposite, and Milton’s tweet later that night may have been just as good as his crucial basket. 

pic.twitter.com/A0ddEfXVhg

— SHAKE (@SniperShake) August 4, 2020

Along with Embiid and Milton, the Sixers were led by Tobias Harris’ 25 points and Josh Richardson’s 19. 

“This is all about confidence and keeping yourself upright and knowing who you are, and tonight he was able to really establish that and make big shots for us, so that was key,” Harris added.  

Milton’s heroics put a bandage on a rough night for Ben Simmons, who fouled out and hasn’t been his dominant self defensively since the Orlando restart, as well as San Antoni’s 43-point fourth quarter. On Saturday, the Pacers scored 46 in the final period to come back and beat the Sixers 127-121. 

Brown prides his team on its defense. After another alarming showing on that end Monday, the head coach didn’t mince words during his postgame Zoom call. 

“It stinks,” Brown said. “It’s not anything we are or believe in or talk about. We were very lucky to win tonight. … The good news: It is well within our reach immediately to flip the switch. We have to have an immediate paradigm shift and an admittance that we can’t afford to pick and chose. … In general, it ain’t gonna get it done. It’s not who we are and it needs to be fixed, and fixed it will be.”

While the Sixers were lucky to win Monday, they did so technically at a “home” contest, even though the game was at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. 

“Toward the end, I was getting a little nervous, but then I realized we was at home, so we was bound to win,” Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

Tobias was getting a little nervous, but then realized it was a home game so the Sixers had to win. -- pic.twitter.com/IjAM8iqdQX

— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 4, 2020

Thus, the Sixers (40-27) are 30-2 at “home.” Late Wednesday afternoon, they’ll have their next chance at a “road” win when they play the Washington Wizards.