The Philadelphia 76ers were able to come away with a 123-117 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday to be able to come away with the important tiebreaker over their rivals in the standings. However, it did not come easy after the team built a large lead.
The Sixers built up a 22-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the Nets kept grinding and they cut that lead down to just three led by their bench unit. Brooklyn sent Landry Shamet, Bruce Brown, Nicolas Claxton, Alize Johnson, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to get back in the game and they did so.
“It’s a long season,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I don’t overdo this kind of stuff. We knew who was on the floor, just like we knew was off, if you know what I mean. It was a letdown, we kind of let up, you know, it happens, but we won the game and so I’m glad we didn’t blow the game. I’ve been in games like this where you end up losing them and that hurts. At the end of the day, we got up 18 or 20. I thought we should have been up way more all game.”
Embiid shot 2-for-5 in the fourth quarter as he was having issues against Brooklyn’s aggressive doubles. They seemed to be fronting the post more often and that bothered the big fella a bit in this one. However, he brushed all of that off.
“That fourth quarter, that come back, it was just weird,” Embiid said after the game. “I will say, I felt like I sat too long and I kinda lost my rhythm. Them fronting and trapping had nothing to do with how our play in that stretch when I came back. We just didn’t have the same physicality that we had for the first three quarters.”
The lineup the Nets sent out there were a bunch of hustle players who will bother an opponent in order to work their way back into a game. This is one the Sixers need to learn from and understand that they need to be better in the future.
“It’s basketball,” said Simmons. “Things like that happen. Obviously, you don’t want it to happen, especially a run like that with who they had in at the time. We got to ourselves accountable in situations like that. We got to close out games and that’s on us. We just got lock in in the fourth quarter and not get too excited of the score late in games.”
At the end of the day, the Sixers got the win and that’s all that matters. However, in the bigger picture, one wonders if the Nets had their full assortment of weapons, if they would have walked out of Wells Fargo Center with a win.