BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Brett Brown knew his team couldn’t take the Nets lightly entering Sunday’s matchup.
“We understand the gym we’re coming into tonight. There’s not going to be any surprises about how they play or who they are. We’re not taking anything for granted,” said the 76ers head coach before the game.
So instead, they just ran them out of the gym with a 120-97 victory, Sunday night in Brooklyn. Joel Embiid dominated the undersized Brooklyn defenders with 21 points and eight rebounds, while all five starters finished in double figures on 32-of-57 (56%) shooting.
“I just feel like we’ve got to treat every team like Golden State,” said D’Angelo Russell after the game. “When we came out ready to play everybody stepped up. It wasn’t 48 minutes, but we started the game and gave ourselves a chance. I feel like today we didn’t really give ourselves a chance.”
It looked bad from the start.
Int the opening half, the Sixers shot 67 percent from the field and scored 70 points. Embiid and Dario Saric combined for 29 points in the half but somehow, the Nets only trailed by 10 at half, 70-60. They trailed by as many as 19 in the second quarter.
Russell kept the team afloat with 14 points – plus some help from Jahlil Okafor who checked in and made three consecutive stops against Embiid.
The 130 points are the most combined points in a first half of a Nets game this season.
The Nets cut it to six early in the third quarter with DLo cooking, but Philly finished the quarter with a 13-point lead entering the fourth. With 6:38 left in the fourth, Philly went up 24.
Brooklyn’s putrid defense made it extremely difficult for them to play in the open court the way they’d like. Philly’s defenders picked the Nets up at half court which also made it difficult for Brooklyn to get the ball moving around the perimeter. It’s a defensive strategy other teams have used ... and with some success.
Overall, they shot 10-of-28 from deep and turned the ball over 18 times. Aside from Russell, Brooklyn’s starters shot a combined 9-of-33 (27 percent) from the field.
Russell was one of the bright spots of the night. He finished with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting in 28 minutes. It’s the most he’s scored since November 11 against Utah when he dropped 26. Spencer Dinwiddie, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Caris LeVert were the only other Nets in double figures.
JAHLIL OKAFOR: “VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE”
In Kenny Atkinson’s pre-game talk with the media, he was asked what’s the latest with Jahlil Okafor, who hasn’t played since February 12. Atkinson mentioned how the Nets are shortening the rotation, and how Okafor is a “Victim of circumstance.”
Atkinson called Jahlil Okafor “a victim of circumstance,” and hopes to find some minutes to look at him down the stretch. #Nets— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) March 11, 2018
We touched on this a few days back, but he ended up scoring four points in six minutes on Sunday night.
BRETT BROWN PRAISES NETS
Prior to the game, Sixers head coach Brett Brown had some nice things to say about the Nets and their rebuilding process.
“I think they do a great job… They always play with a motor, they always play with a spirit. You never really see them roll over. It was a thing I was proud about in Philadelphia and the city demands that. You really better come with a hard hat and an edge. I don’t have any advice. What I see is that he’s really good at what he’s doing. We went overboard with development, we went overboard with relationships, tried to hold the locker room together. You blink and five years later we’re in a pretty good spot. From afar looking across the fence at this team - and Sean Marks is a very close friend of mine. They, too, get Jeremy [Lin] healthy and the style of play, they’re headed in the right direction.”
He’s one of many to praise Atkinson, Marks and the direction of the Brooklyn Nets.
The Brooklyn Nets have not won two consecutive games since January 19-21 when they defeated Miami and Detroit. They’re now 21-46 on the season and will face East-leading Toronto on Tuesday.
For a different perspective, head on over to Liberty Ballers.
- Game Report: Philadephia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets 97 - NBA.com
- Highlights: D’Angelo Russell 26 points (Video) - NBA.com
- Stauskas for three (Video) - NBA.com
- RHJ rolls for the jam (Video) - NBA.com
- Strong move by Dinwiddie (Video) - NBA.com
- Cunningham with the rejection (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Post-Game Plus PHL@BKN (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson on 76ers’ aggressiveness (Video) - YES Network
- Russell on lack of defense (Video) - YES Network
- Dinwiddie on mental mistakes (Video) - YES Network
- Embiid, Covington lead 76ers to easy win over Nets - Adry Torres - AP
- 76ers show just how far Nets’ Process is away from working - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets ran out of options so Jahlil Okafor got a chance - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- 76ers come out hot and burn Nets - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Philadelphia’s ‘process’ proves there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Nets - Michael Scotto - The Athletic New York
- 76ers keep foot on gas to blow out Nets in home return (Game Grades) - Elizabeth Swinton - The Brooklyn Game
- PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 120-97 BROOKLYN NETS: THREE TAKEAWAYS - Alex Labidou - Brooklyn Nets
- Joel Embiid leads balanced attack as Sixers prevail 120-97 over Brooklyn Nets - Keith Pompey - Philadelphia Inquirer