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Where Brooklyn At? Nets dominated by Sixers on home floor, 120-97

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Game over.

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.”

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.

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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.