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Nets get dominated by Sixers in final preseason game, 133-114

NBA: Preseason-Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — No more parties on L.I.

After starting off 3-0, the Nets finished the preseason with a 133-114 blowout loss Wednesday night at The Nassau Coliseum. The Nets won their two ABA championships in the building in the 1970s. Safe to say: the same luck —and skill level— weren’t in the air tonight.

Atkinson and the Nets take it as a positive.

“I kind of saw it coming, and we talked about it. I think coaches have to try to be ahead of it. Listen, it’s a great wakeup call. I’m going to turn this into a positive. Maybe going through the preseason 4-0, we’d think we’re a juggernaut. Really, we have a long way to go. So, it was a good wakeup call for all of us, players and coaches,” Atkinson said after the loss.

The Nets held an early 17-7 lead and it looked like the preseason norm — wearing out teams with the fast pace and three-pointers.

Then, everything went downhill from there.

The 76ers went on a 31-5 extended run across the first and second quarters. Joel Embiid was a force in the half with 20 points and seven rebounds in 10 minutes, while Dario Saric knocked down four three-pointers. The only player strong enough to cover Embiid was Mozgov and even he struggled.

“Well, we put him on the free-throw line 16 times in the first half (18 overall). That’s tough to overcome. But it gives us information for the regular season when we do play him,” Atkinson said of Embiid.

“He’s got it all. I don’t see any flaws in his game. Offensively he’s big as Shaq. He can shoot it like Dirk. He’s got the whole package. The league – as far as bigs – he’s going to make some noise this year,” Russell said of Embiid.

The perimeter defense was another story. The Nets allowed Philly to shoot 13-of-30 from deep. Saric nailed five of them, leading Philadelphia with 26 off the bench. He would’ve outscored the entire Nets bench if it weren’t for garbage time.

“It definitely makes you more aware of protecting the paint,” Atkinson said of Sixers’ dominance inside the paint. “There was one where we doubled down on him, and he kicked it out and they hit a three. There’s a factor there. I can’t deny it.”

Embiid finished with 23 on the night — 14 coming at the free-throw line. The Nets did not have the bodies to cover him. He only played 15 minutes.

Philadelphia scored 46 points (!) in the second quarter and led by 25 at half. It was, by far, Brooklyn’s worst defensive performance of the preseason, to say the least.

The Nets never really made a run and even trailed by 35 midway in the fourth quarter. D’Angelo Russell led the Nets and did all he could to keep them afloat, but he needed help. He dropped 24 points in 24 minutes on 9-of-20 shooting.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson sparked the club in the first quarter with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting, but he committed five turnovers and didn’t log any minutes after the second quarter. After the game, it was revealed he suffered a hand injury. No word on its severity.

Defense was a much different story. The Sixers tore them up inside and outside, and the Nets simply weren’t communicating enough on that end.

Allen Crabbe struggled mightily after a 14-point performance in Brooklyn’s last preseason game. Crabbe was 1-of-8 from the field. Jeremy Lin chipped in 14 points, but foul trouble plagued him throughout the game. Caris LeVert started the game 1-of-6, but finished 4-of-10 on the night.

The Nets finished the preseason with a 3-1 record. Unfortunately, it ended on a disappointing note.

“I think we handled it well. We came ready to play straight from training camp. Our hard work from training camp led us into the preseason and we played well,” D’Angelo Russell said.

For the 76ers perspective, take a look at SB Nation’s Libery Ballers.

Next up: the regular season! October 18 at Indiana.

For post-game audio, check out LISTEN UP!