Skinner had a season-high 20 points and 14 rebounds as the 76ers overwhelmed the Milwaukee Bucks, 108-81, for their fourth straight road win.
Making just his fourth start of the season, the 6-9 Skinner played center and controlled the paint on both ends, adding two blocked shots. He made 9-of-12 shots and corraled seven offensive boards, helping Philadelphia to a huge 52-23 advantage on the glass.
“Statistics-wise, this is defintely the best game for me,” Skinner said. “But I have had other good games this year where I helped the team but maybe the numbers didn’t show it.”
The 76ers never trailed, jumping to an early 16-2 lead, holding a 27-point halftime bulge and leading by as many as 33. They shot 48 percent (42-of-87) and posted their largest victory margin as they matched their longest road winning streak of the season.
“We played great, we rebounded great, we shared the ball,” 76ers coach Larry Brown said. “Whether that means it’s the best game we’ve played, it’s hard to say. We played well early in the year.”
“We had some good games early in the year and we’re trying to get back to that now,” Skinner said. “This was a positive step.”
Ray Allen scored 18 points for Milwaukee, which had a three-game winning streak snapped with its worst loss of the season.
Beginning an eight-game homestand - their longest in 30 years - the Bucks (22-22) may have fallen victim to the schedule. They won at New Orleans on Monday night to improve to 11-12 on the road, while the 76ers had not played since Saturday.
“That was a big part of it,” Bucks guard Sam Cassell said. “When you see our big guns (shooting) and it’s short all night long, I know what that tells me - it tells me that we’re tired.”
“Hopefully, we can get the funk out of the building and start a streak like we have on the road,” Bucks coach George Karl said.
Skinner had eight points and seven rebounds in the first quarter as Philadelphia bolted to a 34-16 lead. His early aggressiveness was infectious as Van Horn and Aaron McKie - both of whom have been playing passively over the last month - got off to quick starts.
“It was the same as any other game - play my role,” Skinner said. “We played better team defense tonight than we have. We just wanted to make them shoot difficult shots.”
“He did a great job. He gave us the energy we needed, rebounding the way he did, he scored points for us,” Iverson said. “It was one of his best efforts of the year and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Van Horn scored 10 points in the period, including a three-point play that capped a 13-0 burst and gave the Sixers a 16-2 lead just over five minutes into the contest. McKie scored six of his 14 points in the quarter.
Midway through the second period, the Bucks had just four players on the court as Ervin Johnson came off the floor even though Toni Kukoc was not allowed to come into the game. Moments later, a jumper by Derrick Coleman gave the Sixers a 48-28 lead.
Four free throws by Van Horn and a drive by Iverson closed the first half and gave Philadelphia a 61-34 bulge. Milwaukee closed to 70-53 on a 3-pointer by former Sixer Tim Thomas with 5:40 left in the third period, but Van Horn answered with a jumper, sparking a 7-2 run.
“We didn’t let them make a run and get back into the game,” Skinner said.
A 3-pointer by rookie John Salmons gave the Sixers their largest lead at 100-67 with 5:36 to play.
“This definitely is a game we need to throw out the window,” Bucks guard Michael Redd said.
Tim Thomas and Redd scored 14 points each for Milwaukee, which shot 43 percent (30-of-70), including just 6-of-23 from the arc.
“They wanted this one more than us tonight,” Bucks forward Anthony Mason said. “They pretty much dominated us in all phases of the game.”