The way the 76ers dominated the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, it looks as if this could be the year they start paying up on some of those "We Owe You One" promises to their fans from years past.
With Andrew Toney and Julius Erving scoring seemingly whenever they felt like it, the 76ers jumped on the Bucks early and never let them get in the game on their way to a 120-108 victory before 14,716 at the Spectrum. The 76ers lead their best-of-seven NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, 2-0.
The next two games, Saturday and Sunday, will be in Milwaukee, however, where the 76ers have yet to win in three tries this season.
"We were as alive as we've ever been," said Philadelphia Coach Billy Cunningham. "We looked and acted like we really wanted to play and this was the result."
Toney in his second straight start in place of injured Lionel Hollins, scored 31 points, making 14 of 22 shots from the field, and added six assists. He had 26 points in the first game of the series Sunday, won by Philadelphia, 125-122.
Erving followed his 34-point performance of Sunday with 24 tonight, making 10 of 13 shots. He added seven assists, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Brian Winters led Milwaukee with 21 points and Mickey Johnson and Marques Johnson had 19 each, but the Bucks' leading scorer for the season, Sidney Moncrief, took only seven shots and scored nine points tonight. With him out of the offense, the Bucks didn't have much of a chance.
"I just had a bad game," said Moncrief. "I wasn't as aggressive as I should have been and just didn't play well. Our game plan didn't involve me that much in the first quarter because we were trying to get Bob (Lanier) more involved."
Milwaukee scored the game's first three points, but the 76ers then scored nine straight, four of them by Darryl Dawkins, and the Bucks were never really a factor after that.
"They took it to us right away, established the tempo, were aggressive and everything," said Moncrief. "Then the game got out of hand because we let them get out in the open court."
The 76ers led by 13, 57-44, at halftime and shot 67 percent in the third period, to increase the lead to 17, 87-70, going into the final quarter.
The Bucks did make a run at Philadelphia midway through the third period, cutting the advantage to six, 67-61, after baskets by Winters and Marques Johnson, but that's when the 76ers took off on an 18-7 burst to quiet the visitors. Bobby Jones had five of the points and Toney four. Erving had three assists in the spurt.
The 76ers led by as many as 23 points in the fourth period before the game was turned over to the reserves.
Toney became a starter after Hollins fractured a knuckle punching Atlanta's Tree Rollins in the back of the head during the last series. His left (shooting hand) will be in a cast for at least two weeks.