“You’re not playing,” Sixers coach Brett Brown told Shake Milton at the All-Star break. “You’re not in the rotation.”
By Peter Gleason
That was just two weeks ago!
And Brown figured he would be playing Ben Simmons, Alec Burks and Josh Richardson ahead of the 23-year-old Milton, a second-year player out of SMU.
Milton, who had been playing in the NBA’s G League as recently as December, recalled hearing that message, saying, “It definitely sucks.” But Milton said he knew he could only stay ready should something happen.
Something happened yesterday.
On national televiision.
With Simmons out indefinitely, Milton scored a career-high 39 points during a 136-130 loss to the Clippers in LA.
“A hell of a story,” Brown would say afterward, recounting Brown’s improbable journey.
Milton’s G League career high is 36 points for the Delaware Blue Coats on Dec. 29, 2018. And he has had three different stints with the 76ers’ G League team this season alone.
Milton was understated afterward about his eye-popping numbers, saying in part, “Once you get in a groove, once you get in a rhythm, the rim looks big.”
But he came out blazing with 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting in the first half, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range. In all, Milton made 14 of 20 shots, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range.
“Once the first couple ones knocked down,” he said, “I felt pretty good.”
At one point in the second half, Milton had made his first five 3-pointers and tied an NBA record for most consecutive 3-pointers made (13), a figure he set over the past three games.
Embiid, out with a left shoulder sprain, tweeted, “Shake!!!! BANG BANG” in support of Milton’s huge game.