MILWAUKEE -- Unlike the rest of the week, which featured a pair of overtime games, the Milwaukee Bucks got their drama out of the way early Saturday night.
Moments before the tip against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Bucks announced that forward John Henson was scratched from the lineup with a twisted left knee.
And that was the extent of the drama.
Milwaukee led nearly the whole game as it dispatched Philadelphia, 116-106, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The win was the Bucks' first at home in six tries this month and pushed the 76ers' road losing skid to 12. It also marked the Bucks' first double-digit victory.
"I was really concerned about coming into this game after particularly last night's overtime loss in Cleveland," coach Larry Drew said. "Mentally, I thought our guys would bounce back. I was just concerned from the fatigue factor because again being short-handed I was going to have to ask some guys to really log some minutes."
Two players especially stood out for Drew -- Khris Middleton and Miroslav Raduljica. Both were used differently because of Henson's injury, with Middleton receiving more time at power forward and Raduljica getting more playing time in general.
Middleton quashed Philadelphia's strongest run in the second half -- the only time the game truly seemed to be in jeopardy -- almost single-handedly.
After the 76ers cut the deficit to two with an 8-0 run to open the second half, Drew called a timeout to help his team regain its composure. Middleton then made back-to-back shots to start a streak of nine straight made baskets for the Bucks.
By the time Milwaukee missed again, its lead was back to double digits. Middleton scored 10 of his team-high 27 points and had a steal during that stretch.
"He kind of took the game over, he made some really key shots," Drew said.
Raduljica, a 25-year-old rookie from Serbia, followed up his first career start Friday with a career-high 14 points Saturday. One of two big men available to Drew with Henson, Larry Sanders, Zaza Pachulia and Ersan Ilyasova all out, Raduljica made the most of his opportunity.
"Miroslav, I thought he was the difference," Drew said. "He played an outstanding game from start to finish....We're real confident with him on the floor. We know with him on the floor from a big-man standpoint he's going to do big-man things."
Three Bucks other than Middleton and Raduljica scored in double digits. Brandon Knight did most of his damage in the first half with 17 of his 21 points. He also didn't commit a turnover for the second straight game.
Playing for the first time since Dec. 6 after missing time due to a sore left knee, Caron Butler scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds while playing nearly 40 minutes. Rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo turned in 12 points.
"I think overall he played a solid game," Drew said, referring to Butler. "Another thing that I think that this team has desperately missed from him is just his leadership....He kept the guys positive and that's something that we've really missed with him being gone."
Butler said he felt good and it helped that he was able to get into a rhythmn early, scoring 13 points in the first half. After watching for two weeks and seeing progress from his teamates, he was glad to be able to contribute from the opening minutes.
"Something that I saw in the last two or three games is that they were developing a good style, a good brand of basketball amongst the young guys," he said. "We just needed a little something to get us over the hump and I was just really trying to get out there bad, to show what I am capable of doing, trying to lead this team."
Philadelphia got strong contributions from Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes and rookie Michael Carter-Williams. Young finished with a game-high 30 points and 10 rebounds, Hawes had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Carter-Williams added 19 points and 12 assists.
Outside of those three, the 76ers shot just 10 for 43 (23.3 percent). Evan Turner scored 10 points, but six of those were on free throws. He shot just 2 for 15 before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks will try to win back-to-back games for the first time when they take on the Bobcats on Monday in Charlotte.
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