PHILADELPHIA — For one night, at least, the Milwaukee Bucks were not the worst team in the NBA — record notwithstanding.
Guard O.J. Mayo scored 25 points off the bench Monday night as the Bucks built a 29-point halftime lead and breezed to a 130-110 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bucks improved their league-worst record to 11-45. The 76ers’ 15-42 mark is second worst.
Forward Ersan Ilyasova added 20 points for the Bucks, who lost six of their previous seven games, and their previous 10 on the road. Now 5-22 away from home, they shot a season-best 57.1 percent from the field and put seven players in double figures en route to a season-high point total. Their previous best was 117.
Guard Ramon Sessions scored 16 points for Milwaukee, while guard/forward Khris Middleton and guard Brandon Knight had 15 each.
The Sixers, who dropped their 11th straight, were as sleepy as the fan who dozed off in his baseline seat early in the second half. Eight of those 11 defeats came by double digits, with five by 20 points or more.
Other than a Thaddeus Young-charged run in the third quarter, Philadelphia was consistently out-hustled, as the Bucks’ 47-28 rebounding advantage shows. Milwaukee also had no problem solving the Sixers’ league-worst defense.
Young, a veteran forward, finished with 28 points, 16 coming in the third period. Guards Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten had 20 and 19 points, respectively.
Carter-Williams notched 10 points as the Sixers moved to a 28-26 lead late in the first quarter, but Milwaukee’s bench fueled a 19-3 run that bridged the first two periods and gave the Bucks a 45-31 lead.
Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had five of his 13 points in that run, and he and two other young forwards, John Henson and Jeff Adrien, energized Milwaukee with their play in the period, again and again keeping balls alive on the offensive glass.
Henson finished the night with 12 points, and Adrien had six points and 10 boards for the Bucks, who owned a 17-7 rebounding advantage in that quarter, turning seven offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points.
Mayo also contributed nine points in the period, all on 3-pointers, as Milwaukee outscored the Sixers 43-16 to build a 73-44 halftime lead. It was the highest-scoring quarter and half of the season for the Bucks, who ran up 22 second-chance points in the half, while the Sixers managed four.
Philadelphia’s second-quarter frustrations were typified on any number of plays. On one possession, Wroten missed two dunks. On another, Wroten and Carter-Williams collided while chasing a defensive rebound, with the ball trickling out of bounds to Milwaukee.
On yet another, Mayo executed a neat drop pass to Knight for a fast-break dunk.
Despite Young’s heroics, the Sixers could get no closer than 23 in the third quarter, and Mayo’s four-point play with 3.9 seconds left pushed Milwaukee’s advantage to 106-75.
The Bucks extended their lead to as many as 35 in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: No decision was made as to whether the Sixers will buy out the contract of veteran F Danny Granger, acquired last Thursday in a trade with the Indiana Pacers. Granger has been in Philadelphia since Saturday, and during that time he took a physical and met with coach Brett Brown and GM Sam Hinkie. He was not in the arena Monday night, however, and Brown said the goal now is to “sort out what’s going to be best for both parties.” The coach said an announcement could come as soon as Tuesday. … Milwaukee F Caron Butler sat out for the sixth time in eight games due to a sore left ankle. … Bucks coach Larry Drew played on seven losing teams in 10 NBA seasons, the worst a 12-70 Los Angeles Clippers outfit in 1986-87. Asked to compare that situation to the one his players face now, he said, “I know it’s not easy. I know that it weighs on you, but you stay professional, and you go out and continue to play hard. … It’s about getting better for us.”
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