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Injury-ravaged Sixers crushed by visiting Nets

Down four starters, the Sixers got crushed wire-to-wire Saturday by the Nets.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this is certainly a less-than-ideal scenario for the Sixers to be in.

The Brooklyn Nets came to town Saturday and blew out a depleted Sixers team 136-121. Cam Thomas led all scorers with 40 points, shooting 14-of-26 from the floor. The Nets got 22 points from Mikal Bridges and 20 points from Lonnie Walker IV.

Ben Simmons finished with nine rebounds and five assists, but did not attempt a field goal.

Tyrese Maxey was the Sixers’ leading scorer with 23 points, shooting 8-of-23 from the floor to get there, while Kelly Oubre Jr. had 16 points shooting 3-of-14 from the field.

As the team continues to mull over the best option for Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris was once again out of the lineup due to an illness. Nicolas Batum was also out after being listed as questionable.

Here are some thoughts from the Center.

First Quarter

  • The combination of being picked up by Mikal Bridges, plus a waiting Nic Claxton at the bottom of the paint, the Nets’ defense offered Maxey a lot of length to fight through. He opened the game shooting 2-of-8 from the floor.
  • With all the injury news and a slightly earlier tip off time, it felt like there was negative juice in the building pregame. That did change when Ben Simmons checked in five minutes into the game to a chorus of boos and was serenaded with them every time he touched the ball.
  • A really good job by Patrick Beverley to jump start an offense that looked dead in the water. He drove to the basket to end a three-minute scoreless draught. Then he found a cutting Danuel House, Jr. on his next drive, but the offense cratered again when Maxey went to the bench. Philly shot 30% from the floor in the first.
  • Things were not going much better defensively for the Sixers as the Nets shot 63% from the field in the quarter, and made nearly half of the 14 three-pointers they attempted. The Sixers trailed by 16 after the first.

Second Quarter

  • As things continued to spiral, Nick Nurse decided to mix things up and throw Ricky Council IV in early in the quarter. His energy was definitely needed, but Terquavion Smith might’ve been the two-way guy to go to given how hopeless the half-court offense was.
  • A good example of how much the half-court offense struggled was the teams’ leading scorer for much of the half, Oubre, taking nearly 13 minutes of game action to make his first field goal. His first eight points of the night came from the line while he shot 1-of-10 from the floor in the first half.
  • They also didn’t make their first three-pointer until there was four minutes left in the half. They only took 11 shots from behind the arc in the half and two of their three makes were from Maxey. It was bad offensive process compounded by even worse results, but a small heater from Maxey brought the lead back to 16 at the break.

Third Quarter

  • The Sixers needed to get some bounces their way to go on a sufficient run to get back into the game, and they started the second half with just about the opposite. They gave the Nets free trips to the line in the form of transition take and technical fouls. Maxey then got whistled for stepping out of bounds even though it looked like his heel was inside the line.
  • No matter what different lineup combination the Sixers tried, they just weren’t capable of cobbling together nearly enough stops. Thomas, who gave the Sixers fits all night, really got going in the third as 21 of his 40 came in the frame.
  • If there was one tiny silver lining in this game, it was another solid night for Jaden Springer. Through three quarters he had only five points, but three of those came on trips to the free throw line. He even forced an airball out of a scorching Thomas. Still, Philly trailed by 23 after the third.

Fourth Quarter

  • It is really hard to tell if any of these lineups are “we are waving the white flag” lineups, given how banged up the team was. Nurse gave it a couple minutes into the quarter before throwing in the two-way guys for the rest of the game.
  • It was only a matter of time before a Sixer got tossed. They were frustrated by the officials on top of a disappointing night. Unsurprisingly it was Pat Bev, who went sprinting back towards the official who T’ed him up to earn his second. He was ejected and had to be pulled away by assistant coaches Bobby Jackson and Bryan Gates.
  • Perhaps the next time this team is starved for creation (and there will be a next time), they’ll give some real minutes to Terq. He made it a show at the end of the fourth, finishing with 17 points, shooting 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
  • The Sixers remain at home for their next contest, where they’ll take on the Dallas Mavericks Monday night at 7 p.m. ET.

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