Brooklyn’s Late Push Not Enough as 76ers Earn Tiebreaker

B-

Final: 04/14/2021

L 117 123

Screenshot via YES

It was not the heavyweight bout that many had hoped, but the Nets sure made things interesting.

Brooklyn made a serious fourth-quarter push to come within three points of the 76ers down the stretch, but the Nets ultimately fell 123-117 in Philly on Wednesday. The result gives the Sixers the tiebreaker between the two teams if one is deemed necessary by the end of the regular season.

Not much was expected from a Nets team that was missing Kevin Durant, James Harden, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Chiozza… the list goes on. Still, the Nets made Philadelphia work for it after the 76ers seemed to have clinched victory.

After trailing by as many as 22 points, Brooklyn went on a 21-2 run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to as little as three in the closing minutes. The 76ers were forced to bring their starters back out after Brooklyn’s initial run — and this was all with Kyrie Irving on the bench.

It was a reserve-led run that forced the 76ers to work until the final buzzer. Alize Johnson pushed the pace as Landry Shamet, Bruce Brown, Nic Claxton and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot out-worked Philadelphia’s starters to make things interesting in the final minutes. 

It was an admirable effort from Brooklyn, but Philadelphia ultimately held on — largely thanks to their defense. The Nets shot 51.8% overall and made just 4-of-21 shots from three. Meanwhile, the 76ers shot 51.7% and 13-of-28 from distance. 

Brooklyn fell behind early due to turnovers and was never able to fully make up the gap. The 76ers scored 28 points off the Nets’ 15 giveaways, which ultimately helped them hold onto the lead down the stretch. 

The Nets’ sloppiness came as they were without many of their ball-handlers, especially as Chiozza is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after having surgery on his broken right hand. Brooklyn had difficulty getting stops throughout the night, recording 11 points off 10 Philadelphia turnovers. 

Joel Embiid took advantage of Brooklyn’s smaller lineup throughout the night. DeAndre Jordan did a good job of containing him early and Johnson frustrated him late, but Embiid largely got what he wanted with 39 points and 13 rebounds.

This was not a full-strength Nets squad, but they still managed to show fight and exposed some of Philadelphia’s weaknesses while closing the game on a 27-11 run. That only leaves room to imagine what Brooklyn can do against the 76ers in Scary Hours.

We will just have to wait and see what the playoffs bring. 

Kyrie Irving

A-

The stats: 37 PTS, 13-22 FG, 1-3 3PT, 10-10 FT, 3 REB, 9 AST, 2 STL, 3 TO, 33 MIN

Kyrie did everything he could to keep Brooklyn in this one.

Kyrie got his way to the paint and went a perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line. He willed his way inside and showed off his craftiness while nearly notching a double-double. 

Kyrie was on the bench while Brooklyn made its big run in the fourth quarter and Steve Nash never put him in again. It would have been fun to see if Kyrie could have helped earn the victory, but he did his job when he was on the court. 

Landry Shamet

B+

The stats: 17 PTS, 4-10 FG, 1-5 3PT, 8-9 FT, 1 REB, 3 AST, 2 TO, 36 MIN

Landry Shamet got the start and made the most of it.

His three-point shot was lacking, but he remained aggressive and got himself to the line often. He also played a big role in the team’s fourth-quarter push as the squad took turns with ball-handling duties.

With Joe Harris not getting many opportunities, a majority of the scoring load fell on Shamet. He continues to remain up to the task, whether off the bench or in the starting unit. 

Jeff Green

B

The stats: 15 PTS, 7-14 FG, 1-5 3PT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 3 TO, 28 MIN

Jeff Green helped the Nets stretch the floor while also protecting the paint.

Uncle Jeff was an early form of offense for Brooklyn as they remained within seven points of the Sixers at halftime. The Nets were in need of an alternate weapon with Joe never finding a groove.

Jeff did contribute to Brooklyn’s turnover troubles and was quiet in the second half, but he was a good weapon for the Nets early. A few more three-pointers from Jeff (or anyone) and this could have been a different outcome.

DeAndre Jordan

B+

The stats: 12 PTS, 6-7 FG, 14 REB, 5 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 26 MIN

DeAndre Jordan had his way early against Philly.

DJ had a BIG first quarter with 11 early rebounds, finishing with 14 total. He even got more involved with play-making than Nets fans are used to while registering five assists.

DeAndre has had his struggles, but he matched up well to do damage early against Philadelphia. Ultimately, Brooklyn had difficulty containing Embiid inside — but DJ had productive minutes. 

Alize Johnson

A-

The stats: 8 PTS, 3-6 FG, 2-2 FT, 8 REB, 1 STL, 2 TO, 12 MIN

Alize Johnson gets a lot of credit for Brooklyn’s fourth-quarter push.

Alize was not afraid to push the pace against Philly and out-work the 76ers’ starters. He was at the forefront of the 21-2 run as he helped to handle the ball, and even took it to Embiid a few times.

Alize was a team-high +16 in just 12 minutes played. The effort nearly paid off in a victory but Alize is showing he is worthy of his newly-signed contract in the opportunities he has been given. 

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