On the second half of a back-to-back, the Brooklyn Nets traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Sixers — who were without All-Star center Joel Embiid. On Dec. 15, the Nets defeated Philly at the Barclays Center without Caris LeVert and Kyrie Irving, so with both guards back in the lineup, one would hope a similar outcome would result — right?
In a game where neither team led by double-digits, the Nets and Sixers battled tooth-and-nail. It was fun to watch, but for Nets fans, it would have been smart to shut the TV off after the third quarter. Despite being a close game down the stretch, the Nets could not outlast Philly due to a collection of momentum-swinging plays made by Ben Simmons and company. In a season of nail-biting losses, blown leads, and plain disappointment, the Nets lost yet another close game. Tobias Harris’s 34 point performance — including his fourth-quarter domination — was too much for Brooklyn to handle.
Entering the fourth, the Nets led 90-86. At that point, the Sixers had not possessed the lead since early in the second quarter. While Brooklyn did not dominate the first three quarters, they did have a palpable edge over Philly, but fatigue played a big role in this game. The Nets have played three games in the last four days, while the Sixers were well-rested.
The Nets seemed to lose every ounce of energy and hustle, and to make matters worse, they shot an abhorrent 18-30 at the free-throw line. If the Nets made just six more free throws, the game would have gone much differently.
In the first half, the Nets came out firing from beyond the arc. Brooklyn went 8-14 (57.1 percent) from deep, but shot themselves in the foot by committing seven turnovers. The Nets went on to make only four three-pointers in the second half.
That is not a recipe for success, especially against a talented team in the Sixers.
At the end of the first half, DeAndre Jordan suffered a dislocated right middle finger and did not return to action. In his stead, Nic Claxton would normally fill in, but the rookie is currently playing for the Long Island Nets. That left Rodions Kurucs — who has played well as of late — as Brooklyn’s next tallest man (6’9). But it was Wilson Chandler who filled the role, albeit for just a few minutes.
Jordan’s presence would have been very helpful in the second half, as the Nets allowed a whopping 13 offensive rebounds, allowing the Sixers to capitalize on extended possessions.
The Nets will have to wait until Saturday to rebound from back-to-back losses. They will play their first game against the unstoppable Milwaukee Bucks.
Kyrie Irving Point Guard
14 PTS, 6-21 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-2 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 36 MIN
If any player could follow up a 32-11 night, Kyrie Irving would be that player. Two games into his return, Irving has not skipped a beat.
After a rough start shooting, Irving ceded his shots to Dinwiddie. The plan worked exceedingly well.
But when Dinwiddie cooled down, Irving still failed to find his shot. Down the stretch, clutch Kyrie did not come to play. The result, a Nets loss.
Irving finished the game with a team-worst minus-29 +/- rating.
Caris LeVert Shooting Guard
12 PTS, 4-10 FG, 1-3 FG, 3-6 FT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 22 MIN
With Kyrie’s return, Caris LeVert’s return has flown a bit under the radar. Coming off the bench, LeVert has played solid minutes. His offensive output has been a major lift to a Nets team looking to get back on track.
LeVert missed three free throws, and those missed points would have gone a long way towards a Nets win. Hopefully, LeVert bounces back strong against a dominant Milwaukee team on Saturday.
Spencer Dinwiddie Point Guard
26 PTS, 8-16 FG, 3-8 3PT, 7-10 FT, 2 REB, 8 AST, 2 TO, 36 MIN
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 17 points in Tuesday night’s loss. However, he went 1-5 at the free throw line. Since December 26th (vs NYK), Dinwiddie has struggled mightily from the stripe. It has been difficult to watch.
While Irving struggled, Dinwiddie had the keys to the car. He led the offense just like old times, scoring at will. The Sixers struggled to stop him, and Dinwiddie showed progress at the stripe, converting on seven of his ten attempts.
Time will tell if Dinwiddie and Irving can dominate together going forward.
Jarrett Allen Center
17 PTS, 7-8 FG, 3-5 FT, 10 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, 31 MIN
Tuesday night, Rudy Gobert had his way with Jarrett Allen. The Frenchman bullied the Fro in the paint, as Gobert out-rebounded Allen 18-2! Yes, you read that stat correctly.
Allen played significantly better tonight, especially on the offensive end where he missed only one shot. Al Horford proved no match for Allen — even off the dribble. Allen also recorded yet another double-double.
This is the type of game Allen hopes to have each time he steps on the court, although a block or two would be nice!
Keeping it rolling, Jarrett.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 16, 2020