January 23, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers turned up the defensive heat in the second half and hands the Brooklyn Nets a back-to-back loss

Ouch! The Brooklyn Nets’ 117-111 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers must hurt, particularly since the Nets led through the first three quarters. But in the fourth, the 76ers turned up the defensive heat and took charge led by Ben Simmons and handed the Nets a back-to-back loss. The Nets are now 18-24 (six games under .500), while the 76ers improved to 29-16 on the season with the victory.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on Philadelphia’s changes that affected the second half

“Obviously there are two big keys to this game,” responded Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Give them a lot of credit for the first one, they turned us over a ton – 22 turnovers – and I thought they really hurt us on the glass. I think they ended up having 13 more shots than us, which is not going to work against a really good team. Turnovers and we didn’t rebound the ball like we need to. Credit to them, their length and their athleticism. Ben Simmons had five steals and they were all over the place. We gotta take care of it. We gotta screen better. We gotta pass better. We gotta make better decisions. It’s on us too, but first and foremost, credit goes to them. Heck of a defensive team.”

Atkinson did give praise to his younger players who fought to keep the Nets in the game.

“They swarmed us defensively,” Coach Atkinson continued. “I was really pleased with our bench and with our young guys. Obviously Nic (Claxton) was really good. That whole group was good, so that bodes well for the future. They kept us afloat there in the first half and did a great job.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Brooklyn Nets with 22 points, five boards, and a team-high seven assists in 35 minutes. Caris LeVert totaled 16 points, six rebounds, and a season-high six assists in 29 minutes off the bench; Nicolas Claxton scored a career-high 15 points (6-of-8 FG) and four rebounds in 17 minutes against Philadelphia, also off the bench, which was just one game after scoring a then-career-high 14 points on Saturday vs. the Milwaukee Bucks; Jarrett Allen recorded his team-high 20th double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds in 31 minutes; Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot came off the bench and tallied a season-high 12 points in 15 minutes while shooting 4-of-4 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point range; Taurean Prince posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes and; Joe Harris chipped in 12 points and three rebounds in 33 minutes.

Some wondered if playing tough teams, i.e., Milwaukee and Philadelphia were causing a mental struggle for this Nets team.

“We don’t really have time for a mental struggle,” responded Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. “Obviously, our season has been very up and down with injuries and lineups and all of that different stuff, so we have to continue to come together as a group. Our focus can’t be external, it has to be internal. Obviously, getting healthy of course, but just figuring it out and gaining that chemistry with our own units, our own lineups and then once we kind of have ourselves down, then we can impose our will on the other teams.”

Brooklyn Nets rookie, Nicolas Claxton, had no mental issues at all when his number was called. He made the most of his time when he was called to play.

“It’s big, especially against Philly – they’re a solid team, Milwaukee is a solid team,” Claxton said about playing real minutes in two straight games. “So, me going out there and producing, I think, is just showing everybody and me showing myself, that I can play at the highest level.”

Philadelphia 76ers Scoring Leaders

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons played like he was on a mission; he led all players with 34 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, five steals, and two blocked shots. Al Horford scored 19 points and six rebounds; both Tobias Richardson and Josh Harris each scored 15 points, Richardson added six rebounds to his total points and Harris added four assists, and; Furkan Korkmaz chipped in 10 points and three assists off the bench.

As the Brooklyn Nets led the Philadelphia 76ers through the first three quarters, with only one point separating the Nets from the 76ers at 91-90 going into the final quarter, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown turned up the defensive heat.

Coach Speak: Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown praises Ben Simmons and his team’s defensive effort

“The spirit of the group, the committed sort of team effort to play defense and rally around each other was evident tonight,” Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown told the media. “We sort of played off of Ben Simmons. He, for sure, was the beacon to our defense, but as a group, as a team, we had many contributors tonight. We went with an unlikely group. I had Ben at the five and Mike Scott at the four and had the young guys surround that group. We just rode that longer as they performed. I wanted to see it. It performed well, so we played it longer. Ben Simmons was ridiculously dominant tonight. He played some four. I played him at the five. He had the ball. He was just multi-skilled, used all over the place in multiple positions. Ball handler, screen setter, post target, he was on the five-man defensively. He was just incredible tonight.”

What’s Next for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Philadelphia 76ers will travel to Toronto to face the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will remain home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

TIP-INS:

o Spencer Dinwiddie has now scored 20+ points in a single-season career-high 26 games this season (in 41 games played). He scored 20+ in 18 games all of last season (in 68 games played).

o Jarrett Allen is second in the NBA among players 21 or younger in double-doubles, trailing only Luka Doncic (26).

 

Spencer Dinwiddie, who should be an NBA All-Star candidate this season, led all scorers with 24 points; Wilson Chandler makes his debut for Brooklyn Nets

In their first meeting since the 2019 NBA First Round Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers squared off at the Barclays Center yesterday evening, and; the Nets recaptured its magic and stopped its two-game losing streak by defeating a Joel Embiid-less 76ers, 109-89. In defeating the Sixers, the Nets improved to 14-12, while the 76ers fell to 20-8 on the season with their loss. Also, the Nets’ 20-point victory over the 76ers marked the team’s largest victory margin of the season, the previous high of 19-points was against the Sacrament Kings on November 22nd. Brooklyn led by as many as 26 points last night, which marked the Nets’ biggest lead in any game this season. The previous biggest lead was 22 points vs. Sacramento on November 22, 2019. Additionally, the Sixers’ 89 points last night marked the fewest allowed by the Nets in a game this season; the previous low was Charlotte’s 91 points on November 20, 2019.

How The Nets Beat the 76ers By the Numbers:

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets spaced Philadelphia 64-54 in points in the paint, posting 40 points in the paint in the first half, which was just two points shy of matching the Nets' largest points in the paint output in any half this season.

The Nets slid past the Sixers in fast break points, overwhelming the 76ers 23-8.

Rebounding? No problem. Brooklyn outrebounded Philadelphia 52-38. The Nets rebounding efforts are off to a good start; entering last night’s game, the Nets ranked fourth in the NBA with 47.9 rebounds per game.

Going into the final quarter, the Nets led the Sixers 83-66, giving the team something to talk about at least for a day. The 66 points marked the fewest points Brooklyn surrendered through three quarters this season, and the Nets’ 17-point advantage marked the Nets' biggest through three quarters this season. Not too shabby.

Taking a step back, Brooklyn also led Philadelphia 57-43 at the half on Sunday night. Philly’s 43 points marked the fewest Brooklyn has allowed in a first half this season, and the 14-point lead marked the Nets' third-largest halftime lead of the season.

All of these metrics were a good sign for the Brooklyn Nets’ ability to bounce back, as the team was coming off of a 110-102 road loss to the Toronto Raptors the night before. Had Joel Embiid been in the lineup for the Philadelphia 76ers, in all likelihood he would have affected the point-spread and the 76ers rebounding count, but the way the Nets played yesterday, in all likelihood, they would have still won this game.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on Bouncing Back from Losing to the Toronto Raptors The Night Before

“I felt it in our little walkthrough,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I don’t think any of us were very pleased with our performance last night. Sometimes you just feel a tension. I felt like they were ready. One of our best defensive performances since I’ve been here. Collective – first group, second group – they’re a good offensive team, really top 10 in offensive efficiency, so, just excellent, excellent defensive effort.”

Coach Atkinson has been preaching defense to his players since he arrived in Brooklyn. He is a firm believer that good defense wins games and points it out every time his team misses the opportunity to turn up the defensive effort, particularly rebounding.

“Yeah, rebounding was one,” Atkinson said as he continued talking about the intangibles that come with a good defensive effort. “We’ve had problems with this team (Philadelphia) in the past in making them miss and not being able to corral a rebound. I thought rebounding was huge. Our general activity was good. I thought Wilson (Chandler) helped us. He helped by just having that big physical body of his. He guarded Ben (Simmons) in there for a while when TP (Taurean Prince) got in foul trouble. I thought that was a big stretch and (David) Nwaba gave us good minutes again defensively. But DeAndre (Jordan) I thought was really good, especially in the second half. But again, (an) excellent effort. I thought we shared the ball on offense, did a good job.”

Brooklyn Leading Scorers

Spencer Dinwiddie, who should be an NBA All-Star candidate this season, led all scorers with 24 points and a game-high six assists in 30 minutes. Dinwiddie, who has been starting since both Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert have been out with medical issues, is on a roll. Dinwiddie has recorded 20-plus points in four straight games, seven of his last eight games and 13 of his last 15 games (all starts). Dinwiddie has scored 20-plus points 17 times this season after doing so 18 times all of last season.

Joe Harris tallied 16 points (7-of-11 FG, 2-of-4 3FG) in 25 minutes; Garrett Temple recorded 13 points, and four assists in 29 minutes, and; DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench.

“Every game is different,” Spencer Dinwiddie responded to a reporter’s question regarding what was working defensively and how they can carry it over to their upcoming games. “I think the coaches did a great game plan for Philly. Obviously, their dynamics change when Joel Embiid is not on the floor, so you try to make them take tough twos. You focus in on Tobias (Harris), he’s their primary scorer. Obviously, Ben (Simmons) is a phenomenal playmaker, but you try to get under the screens, make his looks at the rim tough and then Al (Horford) likes to pop and shoot twos, and, you kind of (have to) live with some of those. That was kind of, I guess, the rough game plan.”

Philadelphia 76ers Leading Scorers

For the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons led his squad with 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists; Tobias Harris scored 17 points, six rebounds, and three assists; Josh Richardson contributed 11 points and four rebounds, and Al Horford chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

Coach Speak: Brett Brown on Key Elements That Hurt the Philadelphia 76ers

“It’s just that the defensive side of things let us down,” responded Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown regarding his team’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets. “I think the statistical facts of what we shot from three and what we shot from the free-throw line shows our starting group had a rough night putting the ball in the hole and the accumulation of a few things equal a long night.”

What’s Next for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Philadelphia 76ers will return home to host the Miami Heat on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will travel to New Orleans to play the Pelicans on Tuesday, December 17, at 8 p.m. ET, and then on to San Antonio to play the Spurs on Thursday, December 19, 2019, at 8:30 p.m. The Nets will then return home to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, December 21, 2019, at 6:00 p.m.

TIP-INS

Entering Sunday night’s game, DeAndre Jordan led the NBA in rebounds per game off the bench (9.1 in 19 games as a reserve).

Wilson Chandler made his Nets debut last night and totaled two points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 19 minutes.

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot posted a season-high eight points with a season-high five rebounds in a season-high 23 minutes off the bench last night against the 76ers.

 

Nets players D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert each scored a team-high-tying 26 points for Brooklyn

If you are a Brooklyn Nets fan and you don’t know that the Brooklyn Nets are in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, you must be hiding under a rock. Last night, Nets fans came out in force to support their team at the Barclays Center for Game #3 against the Philadelphia 76ers. The cheering was so loud at times, the collective fans drowned out the Brooklyn Brigade.

The Nets came into the Barclays Center last night “even Stevens” at 1-1, as the Brooklyn Nets snatched Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia 111-102, but lost Game 2 in Philadelphia 143-125. Unfortunately, last night, the Nets lost Game 3 to the Sixers 131-115, falling to 1-2 in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs series while the Sixers improved to 2-1.

In assessing last night’s game against Philadelphia, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said: “I think they (Philadelphia) did an outstanding job defensively. Taking away Joe (Harris) is huge. It’s like taking JJ (Redick) away. I think they are doing a great job there. Joe gives us a lot of our movement. Like I said, a lot of it is them, but I do think we can move it better. We obviously have to shoot it better. We didn’t shoot it well, and we also struggled at the rim. Not a good offensive performance on our part and I thought JJ’s run really got us off kilter defensively. When someone gets hot like that, the defense starts cheating and helping, and then other guys get off too. I thought that was a big part of the game.”

Atkinson continued his comment with heaping praise on Caris LeVert.

“He (LeVert) is playing really well right now,” Atkinson said about LeVert. “I think he is in a good groove. Obviously, he has come back from injury in great form. He was our lone offensive force out there tonight.”

LeVert was in a good groove, but, perhaps, Atkinson had not seen the score sheet. Or, perhaps, he was overwhelmed with LeVert’s performance since it has only been a short while since LeVert returned to the lineup after a horrific foot injury.

As it turns out, both D’Angelo Russell and LeVert, who came off the bench, were offensive forces for the Nets. Combining for 52 points, they both scored a team-high-tying 26 points. LeVert added seven rebounds and two steals to his total, while Russell added four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Other scoring leaders for the Nets included Jarrett Allen, who posted 15 points, six rebounds, and two assists; Spencer Dinwiddie also added 15 points and four rebounds off the bench, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who likewise came off the bench, chipped in 14 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

For the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons led all scorers with 31 points, nine assists, and four rebounds. Tobias Harris accumulated 29 points, 16 rebounds, and three assists; JJ Redick registered 26 points; Jimmy Butler added 16 points, seven assists, and two steals, and; Boban Marjanovic chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds.

“I thought it was one of Ben’s (Simmons) more dominant games,” Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown stated. “As a team, I think we went into a two-minute meltdown. At the end of the third period, Brooklyn went on that run. They sort of sat in the zone and we didn’t handle it that well. Short of that particular phase in the game, I thought Ben was exceptional.”

In closing out his postgame comments to the media, Nets coach Atkinson was forward-thinking about what happens next for the Nets.

“I think we have to look at everything,” Coach Atkinson said. “It starts defensively in terms of what we have to do. I think we look at lineups. It’s only 1-2. We come back here Saturday and if we win, it’s a different series. I think we have to look at some different things. Obviously, what we have been doing the last two games is not working.”

On Saturday, April 20, 2019, the Nets have an opportunity to even this first-round NBA playoff series against the Sixers and make it 2-2. Game 4 of this series starts at 3:00 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Nets defeat Philadelphia 76ers 122-97 and contained Joel Embiid to just 16 points

It was Marathon Sunday in New York City and the Philadelphia 76ers probably felt like their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday was a marathon they couldn’t wait to see come to an end. The Nets took the Sixers off their game and cruised to a comfortable 122-97 victory at the Barclays Center. With the win, the Nets improved to 4-6 this season (3-2 at Barclays Center), while the Sixers fell to 6-5 (0-5 on the road).

A notable metric from Sunday is that the Nets forced a season-high (and NBA season-high) 28 turnovers on the Sixers, which marked their most turnovers forced in a game since March 7, 2014, vs. Boston (also 28 turnovers). Another remarkable stat is that Brooklyn also committed a season-low nine turnovers, good for a +19 turnover margin, which marked the Nets’ largest positive turnover differential in a game since the 2002-03 season on January 17, 2003, against the Toronto Raptors, which was also +19.

Individual Nets players have been having a great start to this young season, lifting above their own records. Caris LeVert, who has been having a break-out season scored 20 points tonight, his sixth 20-point game of the season (in his 10th game), matching his total from all of last season. LeVert didn’t register his sixth and final 20-point game of the 2017-18 Season until March 19, 2018, against Memphis. And, tonight, he scored 18 points in the first half, which marked the highest-scoring half of LeVert’s career. Keep an eye on LeVert, as he is an NBA All-Star in the making.

In addition to LeVert, other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders are part of the team’s young core. Starting PG D’Angelo Russell, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, each scored 21 points. Hollis-Jefferson, who is coming back from injury, was part of the second-unit and added six rebounds and three assists to his total, while Russell added six assists and just one turnover in his 25 minutes on the floor. Starting center, Jarrett Allen, in his second year with Nets and the NBA, registered a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. This is Allen’s third double-double of the season, an improvement over his total four double-doubles in his rookie season. Spencer Dinwiddie, also part of the second unit tonight, tallied 12 points and eight assists; while Joe Harris, as a starter, chipped in 11 points and three assists.

For years, the Nets’ Achilles heel has been the third quarter. But not tonight, as Brooklyn scored 41 points in the third quarter alone, which wasn’t lost on Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“That’s where you’re like, decent first half,” Atkinson stated. “The third quarter is going to decide where the game goes. So, again, we made shots too. That helps a ton. I think we scored 41 points in the third quarter and kept our defense sharp. And like we talked about before the game, closing a really good team out, that’s the tough part. So I thought we handled that. I thought we were really good to finish it out.”

“We wanted to close them out in that third,” LeVert added regarding the Nets scoring 41 points in the third quarter. “We knew it could go either way, they could make a run or we could make a run, and we wanted to throw the first punch there.”

VIDEO: IN HIS OWN WORDS: CARIS LEVERT

The Nets had only nine turnovers versus the 76ers’ 27, an indicator that Brooklyn handled the ball well while putting defensive pressure on Philadelphia.

“I don’t know the numbers…,” Russell responded. “But as far as getting in the passing lane, anticipating passes and anticipating their plays, we did a good job of that.”

“Defensively, Brooklyn was good and we were not,” stated Brett Brown, head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. “I give Brooklyn credit.”

Philadelphia did take the first quarter, leading the Nets 21-18. Even at the end of the first half, no one could see a slaughter-fest in the making, with the Nets having a four-point lead of 51- 47. Additionally, the Nets have a history of collapsing in the third quarter. But, not tonight, the second half just didn’t go right for the Philadelphia 76ers, which left Coach Brown befuddled, the Nets ended the third stanza 92-75, and the final quarter 122-97.

“I think it was a combination of some frustration on offense and with our inability, at times, to guard them one-on-one,” Brown said about what didn’t go right in the second half. “Brooklyn did a good job of making shots. I thought they did a really good job of hitting rollers and finishing or throwing lobs for dunks. In general, it was a poor performance that was unexpected and nobody is going to overreact to it, but that’s the lay of the land. That’s what happened. That’s the way I see it.”

Philadelphia scoring leaders were Ben Simmons with 20 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Joel Embiid registered 16 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists. JJ Redick scored 15 points in 27 minutes off the bench. Dario Saric added 14 points and three rebounds, and; Landry Shamet came off the bench to chip in 12 points.

The Sixers will travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Nets will embark on a four-game road trip (their second-longest road trip of the season), beginning on Tuesday night in Phoenix to play the Phoenix Suns.

The next time the Nets will play at home at the Barclays Center will be on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., against the Miami Heat.

 

TIP INS - The Nets Moving in the Right Direction:

• The Nets scored 39 points off Philadelphia’s 28 turnovers, which marked their most points scored off an opponent’s turnovers since the 2002-03 season (47 points on 11/22/02 vs. Cleveland).

• Brooklyn’s nine turnovers were good for a +19 turnover margin, which marked the Nets’ largest positive turnover differential in a game since the 2002-03 season (+19 on 1/17/03 vs. Toronto).

• The Nets registered a season-high 70 points in the paint, which marked their most points in the paint in a game since the 2016-17 Season (72 points in the paint on 4/1/17 vs. Orlando).

• The Nets have recorded 60+ points in the paint three times through 10 games after doing so twice all of last season.

• Brooklyn tallied 41 points in the third quarter, which marked the Nets’ highest-scoring quarter of the season and their third-highest-scoring third quarter in Barclays Center history (since the start of the 2012-13 season).

• The Nets improved to 9-4 all-time against the Sixers at Barclays Center, matching their most wins against any opponent at Barclays Center (also: nine wins over the Orlando Magic).

Did the Raptors have a knee-jerk reaction to NBA Playoffs loss when it fired Dwane Casey; Becky Hammon getting wide support for NBA head coaching position

In this episode, What's The 411Sports hosts, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about the NBA Playoffs; the abrupt firing of Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey; support for Becky Hammon's NBA head coach consideration; Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics; LeBron James; Cleveland Cavaliers; the NY Knicks selecting David Fizdale for the head coaching position; Brooklyn Nets players in Los Angeles for practice and bonding, and a whole lot more.

 

 

Nets D’Angelo Russell leads all scorers with 26 points, but couldn’t pull his team anywhere near a W against Philadelphia

Sunday night was a sad day for Brooklyn Nets fans at the Barclays Center. The Nets were up against the Philadelphia 76ers and it was a far cry from when the Nets defeated the Sixers 116-108 on January 31, 2018. Fast forward six weeks and one can see that this Philadelphia 76ers team is clearly on a mission, and the Brooklyn Nets were just collateral damage as they fell to the Sixers 120-97.

Currently, Philadelphia is in the sixth seed in the NBA Eastern Conference and it could move up, as positions three through eight are so close in the standings that positioning could change on any given day. Barring injury, the way the 76ers played on Sunday, it could move up a notch or two. Who would have thought at the beginning of this season, that the Philadelphia 76ers would be 1.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. I am concerned that the Cavaliers may not rep the Eastern Conference this season, but that’s a story for another day. Clearly, this Philly team bought into the philosophy of trusting the process. And, with 8 of the 11 Philadelphia 76ers team members scoring in double digits against the Nets, this team is making a statement. On Sunday, the 76ers said, “we belong in the conversation of top NBA teams.”

So, considering that the Nets beat the 76ers just six weeks ago and on Sunday, even though the Nets are healthy, they received a shellacking; are the Sixers really just that good?

“Yeah, they’re a great team,” Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell stated. “They’ve got a lot of great players over there. They’re well-coached, but I feel like we could have given ourselves a better chance by being better prepared coming into the game from the players’ perspective, the players’ standpoint, so we’ve just got to lock in as a group and do that for these last few games.”

“I mean they came out, just from the jump, ready to play,” Russell continued. “You’ve got to give them credit. We didn’t (come out and play). For 48 minutes they just kept making that happen, being aggressive. Aggressive won.”

Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric, who were among the starting five, were the top three leading scorers for Philadelphia. Embiid scored 21 points, eight rebounds, and three assists; Covington had 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists; while Saric tallied 18 points, six rebounds, and three assists. JJ Redick and Ben Simmons also started and contributed in their own way; Redick added 12 points and Simmons chipped in 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

It should be noted that three of the 76ers’ bench players scored in double-digits. Marco Belinelli totaled 13 points, Ersan Ilyasova put up 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds; while T.J. McConnell chipped in 10 points, four rebounds, six assists, and four steals.

On the other hand, comparatively speaking, other than D’Angelo Russell, the Nets played like they were captured by witchcraft or something similar. Russell led all scorers with 26 points, six assists, and three rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie, a winner of the NBA All-Star Taco Bell Challenge, scored 13 points, six assists, and three rebounds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert did not start on Sunday, and as part of the Nets second unit, Hollis-Jefferson scored 12 points and six rebounds, while LeVert tallied 10 points and five assists.

Anyone can have a so-so day and not perform as expected, and this night was Joe Harris’ turn. The Nets’ sharp-three-point shooter only finished with five points on 1-for-5 shooting.

Although the Brooklyn Nets started off slowly, by the end of the first half, the Nets were only down by 10 points (70-60). So, how did the Nets fall into this position?

“We’ve just got to stop people,” Dinwiddie responded. “And some of that was them (Sixers) hitting tough shots, so you have to give them credit on some of them. But we also had mental errors where we gave up 10, 12 points in the game. Can’t do that, obviously changes the whole flow of the game. Just a completely different psychology to the game.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson echoed his players.

“They dominated us in every fashion,” Atkinson said responding to a reporter’s question. “I don’t think there is an aspect of the game tonight where they didn’t dominate and I just have to give them a lot of credit. I thought they were the more aggressive team. They really, really got after us defensively and then offensively, we couldn’t stop them, obviously. So, these are the tough ones for a coach because you’re trying to get something positive out of it and for some reason, and that’s on me, we didn’t have it tonight. We just didn’t have it and I think they dominated us at every position. At the coach position also. I just think it was a great job by the Sixers. They played a great game.”

“At the coach position also.” I am not surprised that Atkinson admitted that 76ers dominated the Nets’ coaching staff as well because sometimes Atkinson is just too forthcoming. However, during his pregame press conference, Atkinson alluded to trouble ahead when he said that this Philadelphia team is a different team from the team the Nets played in January.

AUDIO: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s Philadelphia 76ers’ pregame press conference

Comparatively speaking, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown, during his pregame press conference was by no means “smash mouth” in his expectations for his team’s outcome. Nevertheless, Brown clearly was expecting his team to get a “W”.

VIDEO: Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown gives media insight into his decision-making prior to facing off with the Brooklyn Nets

Postgame, Brown gave his assessment of the Sixers performance against the Nets.

“We came out at halftime at the start of the third period and were just sort of trading baskets,” Brown stated. “We tried to call timeout and regroup our guys. This team (Brooklyn) is a very dangerous team and I thought we responded. I thought from that point on we played defense to hold that team to 37 second-half point, 14 in the fourth period. Brooklyn is hard to guard, they are really hard to guard. I think that’s what excites me the most was our second half defense.”

“We’re just trying to improve on the things that will matter if we’re fortunate enough to play in the postseason,” Brown continued. “Turnovers are always on our mind. We played with the fourth fastest pace. We have a young rookie point guard.”

Perhaps because the Philadelphia 76ers are bigger and more talented than the Brooklyn Nets, they were destined to beat the Nets on Sunday. However, I contend that if your mind is focused on your strengths and positive outcomes, you just might win or, if not, the blow may be a little softer.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts.

TIP INS:

Next up for the Brooklyn Nets (21-46) are the Toronto Raptors (49-17) on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Yeah, I know, it’s probably going to be brutal.

For Philadelphia, check out the 76ers (36-29) as they battle it out with the Indiana Pacers (39-28).

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