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OT: Nets fail to close against Embiid and the 76ers, 112-104

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Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

And. Here. We. Go.

Kyrie Irving will undergo arthroscopic surgery to correct the shoulder impingement that’s caused him to miss 27 games this season, including tonight’s road game in Philly. He is out for the season. Kevin Durant isn’t walking through those doors anytime soon, either.

This whirlwind of a season will have to be carried on the backs of the guys from last year, namely Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris. They’ve fared OK without Irving this year — 17-16 without him and 8-12 with him entering Thursday. They’ve been depleted all year, perhaps some of this can provide them with clarity, understanding that no help is on the way.

It’s on those who have played most - if not the entire season.

Back from the All-Star Break, the Nets lost a heartbreaker in Philadelphia, 112-104 in overtime. They fell to 25-29 on the season following the loss with their next matchup against Charlotte Saturday, an away game. Philly, meanwhile, improved to 26-2 at home this season. It was the Nets fifth loss in seven overtime games.

“Valiant effort, I thought valiant effort on our part,” Kenny Atkinson said of the game. “We had opportunities, they made plays at the end and we didn’t, and we put them on the foul line a ton. That’s the frustrating thing; we can argue we fouled them or we didn’t foul them, the fact of the matter is that they went to the line 35 times. Our margin of error is just too small to do that. We gifted them too many points”

Brooklyn did everything they could to get the win... besides close it out. They had several chances. First, it was an 8-0 run that put them up 101-95 with 2:15 left in the game. Of course, Philly answered closed out the quarter on an 8-2 run, tied at 103 apiece, as the Nets had 15 seconds to make them pay.

Dinwiddie drove and looked to be the hero yet again, but instead passed it off to Wilson Chandler who barely got a shot off. They went to overtime and scored just one point, while shooting 0-for-7 from the field with two turnovers. They’re 2-5 in overtimes this season.

The dagger came from the hands of Alec Burks, who hit a deep mid-ranger to put the Sixers up by six with 1:32 left. Dinwiddie’s field goal in the fourth was their final of the game — and the only one in the span of 8 minutes at 27 seconds.

Dinwiddie finished with 22 points and eight assists on a 7-of-19 shooting. LeVert was the leading scorer for Brooklyn, finishing with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists on a poor 9-of-29 shooting from the field.

Brooklyn shot just 35 percent from the floor, 29 percent from three and turned the ball over 16 times. Their defensive intensity and big second quarter kept them afloat in this game. But even a 20-point lead in unsustainable for the Nets.

Especially when you’re playing Joel Embiid, who finished with 39 points and 16 rebounds; 18-of-19 from the free throw line. Philly shot 44 percent from the floor and limited the turnovers in the second half with only four.

Here’s how it all started...

The 76ers started the game on a 22-6 run as Brooklyn missed 10 straight shots in the early portion of the game. Not long after, Kenny Atkinson drew a technical foul for a play involving Joel Embiid, and the Nets rallied behind his T.

They closed out the quarter on a 14-4 run and trailed by six entering the second, They turned that 14-4 run into a 44-8 extended run bridging from the first to second quarter, turning an 16-point deficit into a 20-point lead. It was a mix of solid defense, rebounding and a downhill approach on the offensive end.

The Sixers came punching back with a 12-2 run to close out the half, giving the Nets a 10-point lead at half. Considering Brooklyn’s big run, it probably should have been more. It shifted into the third when Philly outscored the Nets 35-26 and brought this thing within one entering the fourth.

The rest is history.

DeAndre Jordan was crucial coming off the bench, perhaps a sign of what’s to come when the Nets play physical bigs late in the season. He finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds — his eighth double double off the bench. Jarrett Allen scored zero points in just 13 minutes of action, while Harris was 4-of-8 from the field — all four misses coming from deep.

The Nets are 25-29 on the season. If we know anything about this team, it’s that they’re extremely unpredictable and they really struggle to close out games. Tough game in a tough environment, sure. But this is one they’ll tell you that they should’ve had.

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

Following the news about Kyrie Irving, feelings around Nets nation were pretty consistent. In terms of competing for a championship and flaunting their superstars, everybody had 2020-2021 circled anyway. Nobody expected Kyrie to miss this much time, but it is what it is. They have to think long-term.

“We’re looking at the big picture here,” said Sean Marks. “We are not looking at the next two-to-three months, we are looking at the next two-to-three years.”

Let’s get something straight: While expectations have lowered, it would be a disservice to say it’s a “lost year.” By no means is it a lost year with the Nets currently owning the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Going forward, it’s crucial they keep Caris LeVert healthy and growing with Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris. These are your key pieces (now) and for the future.

See what they can do without these guys. They’ve been an above-average team without both of them.

KD TEASE

Ahh.. what would we do without Devonte on Instagram? He’s provided us all with a ton of behind the scenes content on KD.

And of course, his brother Tony.

CARIS SETS A RECORD

Caris LeVert has the green light with Kyrie Irving as he showed Thursday, taking 29 shots and making nine. The 29 shots are the most he’s ever taken in a game. When he scored 37 against the Raptors recently, he took only 20. In fact during the last six games without Irving, LeVert has averaged 20 shots a game. In those six games, he’s averaging 24.2 points a game while shooting 44.2 percent overall and 46.0 from deep.

JORDAN MINUTES ON THE RISE

DeAndre Jordan played 37 minutes, the most he’s played this season, OT or not. He only played 30 minutes two other times this year: 30 each vs. Utah and Detroit, both early on in the season. Conversely, Jarrett Allen played only 20 minutes, his sixth lowest number this season.

For a different perspective on the game, head on over to Liberty Ballers, our Sixers sister site (say that five times fast) on SB Nation.

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Next up: Saturday at Charlotte, 7:00 PM ET.