PHILADELPHIA — Brandon Jennings had a blank stare as he scanned a disappointed Milwaukee locker room.
With the Bucks in the playoff chase, Jennings was benched in the fourth quarter, and wondered why he was singled out.
“I don’t see any All-Stars in this locker room,” he said.
Well, the Bucks didn’t see him on the court. Jennings was scoreless for the first time in his NBA career and did not play in the final quarter of the Bucks’ 100-92 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Jennings was quiet and controlled as he talked of his annoyance about sitting while the Bucks fell further behind seventh place in the East.
“I think that everyone should be held accountable,” he said. “There’s no maxed-out players in this locker room. So don’t try to put me on a pedestal and just give everyone else the freedom to do whatever they want.”
The Bucks’ playoff push stalled in Philly — and so did their bus. Milwaukee’s team bus was stalled out outside the Wells Fargo center, forcing arena workers to bring out jumper cables to try and get the vehicle going.
Jennings and the bus were both out of juice.
“I just felt like I needed to do something to energize our team,” coach Jim Boylan said of his decision. “When you play that position in this league, there comes with it a lot of responsibility. The talent at that position is outstanding. So you have to bring it every single night. If that’s not happening, you need to do something.”
Monta Ellis scored 29 points for the Bucks. Ersan Ilyasova had 13 points and 18 rebounds.
After blowing an 18-point lead, the Sixers rallied from seven down in the fourth to win.
Spencer Hawes had 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday and Damien Wilkins each scored 18 points. Thaddeus Young and Dorell Wright both scored 14 points for a Sixers team that put six players in double figures.
The Sixers returned from a 1-3 road trip to win their third straight game at home. On Fan Appreciation Night, the Sixers gave them something to feel good about.
“When a team’s at home, you have all the fans on your side and energy is flowing through the building,” Young said. “You definitely get up for those kinds of games.”
The Sixers wasted an 18-point lead and needed to find their touch from 3-point range to get back into this one. Wright gave them a one-point with a 3-pointer and Holiday followed with another to make it 93-87. Evan Turner, who scored 13, made Philadelphia’s eighth 3-pointer and the lead was up to nine.
From there the Sixers massaged the lead until they hit 98 points with a minute left. With the crowd of 16,640 bellowing “We want Big Macs!” if the Sixers hit 100 points, Wilkins obliged with a thunderous dunk that sent fans into a frenzy.
Fast food is about the only way to satisfy a Sixers fan this year after a season full of promise collapsed under Andrew Bynum’s balky knees.
The Bucks are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and fell 2 1/2 games behind Boston for seventh and the chance to avoid a first-round series against Miami.
Ellis took control in the third to help the Bucks grab the lead after a tough first half. He twice hit tying shots in the quarter as Milwaukee was 13 of 25 from the field. Mike Dunleavy hit a 3 to help them take a 78-76 lead into the fourth.
They couldn’t keep it going. Jennings was scoreless off three missed shots in 17 minutes for the Bucks in the half. He was benched early in the third quarter and did not return. There was no injury report on Jennings, whose rookie contract expires at the end of the season, making him a restricted free agent.
He was scoreless for the first time in his 281st career NBA game.
“It’s all about how hard you want to play and that has to be there every single night,” Boylan said. “That is something we need to address. That is what we are all paid to do. It’s definitely something that is of a concern.”
Well out of the playoff race, but over .500 at home, the Sixers raced to an 18-point lead in the first half. Wright buried a 3 to start a 14-2 run that gave them a cushy lead.
“This season’s been tough,” Hawes said. “Going forward, we have a lot of pride. It’s not just about next season, it’s about finishing this season the right way.”