Everyone, you can exhale now. The Philadelphia 76ers won after a hard fought battle against the Brooklyn Nets, 120-116, picking up another important win in the second half of the season. For most of the game there seemed to be no energy, not just on the court but also in the stands. A mostly quiet crowd didn't give the Sixers their usual home court advantage, and the result was a very un-Philadelphia like first half. But a J.J. Redick three pointer before the halftime buzzer gave the Sixers some energy that led them to a strong end of the fourth quarter and an eventual win.
The Sixers did a good job at limiting extra chances for the Nets, only turning the ball over five times (a season low). Couple that with another great game by Ben Simmons (21-8-12) and a resurgent second half by the birthday boy Joel Embiid (24-19) and the Sixers came away with a scrap it out win.
In the second game of a back to back, coach Brett Brown decided to shake up the rotation a bit, playing both Justin Anderson and Richaun Holmes in extended roles, scaling back the playing time of T.J. McConnell, and not playing Amir Johnson at all. It worked out for the best, as Justin Anderson gave the Sixers a much needed spark in the first half, scoring 11 points in the game and 9 points in the first half. Holmes on the other hand didn’t have an outstanding stat line, ending the game with a 2-2-2 line, but once again giving the team some energy and an above the rim presence off the bench.
Even with productive games from several Sixer players, the Nets wouldn’t go away. Shooting 15-30 from three point range isn’t going to happen often, so seeing the Sixers able to weather the storm was impressive. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and DeMarre Carroll led the Nets with 21 and 18 points, respectively, consistently making big shots to put extra pressure on every single one of the Sixers offensive possessions.
The Sixers team at the beginning of the season might have lost this game. Seemingly out of the game for most of the night this Sixers team was able to buckle down and get baskets when they mattered. No matter who the opponent is it’s good to see this team learn from the past and show a little more resiliency when the odds seem stacked against them. Once the playoffs come around the presence they have shown the second half of the season could play a role.
Next up is a home matchup against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, as another chapter of the Joel Embiid-Dwight Howard rivalry will be written. But for now, happy birthday Joel, go celebrate with some shirley temples.
- Justin Anderson needs more minutes, the shine of new free agent addition Marco Belinelli seems to have worn off and Anderson gives the team an athleticism and defense combo from the bench that would help a lot.
- It hurts watching defenses give Ben Simmons so much room on the perimeter to shoot knowing he will never test them.
- Jahlil Okafor has this weird ability to show why he is a former top three pick in the NBA Draft against Joel Embiid, he scored 10 points tonight against his former team and looked like a reliable NBA player
- Robert Covington is seemingly shooting a lot less lately. In the beginning of the year he seemed to pull up and lunch three pointers from anywhere at will.
- With 14 games left in the season, the Sixers are only 1.5 games out of the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Saying that at the begging of the season would sound blasphemous.
- If the Sixers do find a way to host a playoff series at home, just thinking about the crowd is giving me goosebumps. Wells Fargo would be rocking, like much of the season but surprisingly, not tonight.