Nets Crumble in Third Quarter as Philly Pulls Out Victory

C-

Final: 02/06/2021

L 108 124

Screenshot via YES Network

The Big Three was down to one on Saturday, and Brooklyn’s sloppy end to the third quarter gave the 76ers all the momentum they needed.

With James Harden holding down the fort, the Nets fell 124-108 to Philly on the second half of a back-to-back. Kevin Durant missed the game due to health and safety protocols and Kyrie Irving was ruled out with a right index finger sprain.

Though down two stars, the Nets started the game with a competitive fire. The offense flowed through Harden as he dished five assists in the first five minutes and added early points.

Brooklyn built a lead as large as six points in the first half as they made an effort to attack the paint and work their way outside. Philly answered back, though, scoring 22 points in the paint in the first quarter and 62 overall, compared to Brooklyn’s 32.

The Nets largely took care of the ball in the first half, recorded just five turnovers while showing some fight. Brooklyn’s bench kept up the slack without Harden on the court as well, out-scoring Philly 16-14 while the Beard got a rest.

As it turns out, Harden would get plenty of rest time later as he and most of the starting rotation sat out of the fourth quarter. Brooklyn fell out of contention in what seemed like a flash as the tables turned in the final five minutes of the third quarter.

Thanks to sloppy possessions and six third-quarter turnovers, a Danny Green technical foul sparked a 23-7 run that gave the Sixers a 16-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Passes were lazy and defense was lacking, a continuation of recent trends, as the 76ers pushed the pace. That 43-point third quarter for Philly led to a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter as Steve Nash took the opportunity to rest his stars on the second half of a back-to-back. 

The secondary unit cut the deficit to as many as 10 in the fourth quarter but Harden and Joe Harris remained on the bench. Landry Shamet had another breakout game with 22 points against his former team while Norvelle Pelle made his debut and showed some hustle despite being out of shape with six points, five rebounds and three blocks.

The Nets ended up scoring 18 points off Philly’s 15 turnovers, though the 76ers answered back with their 16 points off Brooklyn’s 17 turnovers. Brooklyn struggled to defend in transition as Philly scored 27 fastbreak points and out-rebounded the Nets 59-42, including 13 offensive rebounds.

Joel Embiid led seven 76ers in double figures as he posted 33 points and nine rebounds. Tobias Harris added 21 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

The loss followed a frustrating night for Brooklyn on Friday as Durant was pulled from the game twice, and now they will be without him until next Friday after he was deemed a close contact to a Nets employee who tested positive for COVID-19. As for Irving, he is seemingly likely to be back next game if the swelling in his finger goes down.

Two tough losses for the Nets after they had built some momentum, but mounted mistakes do not get rewarded with victories. The team has two nights off before facing the Pistons on Tuesday.

James Harden

A-

The stats: 26 PTS, 10-20 FG, 3-8 3PT, 3-4 FT, 8 REB, 10 AST, 2 TO, 29 MIN

The Beard was on his way to another triple-double if he was not benched for the fourth quarter.

Harden did his job by setting the tone early, getting the Nets off to a quick offensive burst with a series of assists and made shots. Brooklyn looked as if they were going to remain competitive again with Philly after the win earlier this season.

Harden took on the load of the offensive responsibility with Durant and Irving out and did what he could to facilitate the lineup. As things got more sloppy in the third quarter, Harden could not save the night on his own and instead got some needed rest time.

Landry Shamet

B+

The stats: 22 PTS, 7-17 FG, 5-13 3PT, 3-3 FT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 2 TO, 33 MIN

One night after going 4-of-8 from three on Friday, Shamet ramped up his three-point attempts even more.

Is Landry finally turning into a consistent threat off the bench for Brooklyn? It is too early to tell, but it seems as if his confidence is back and even broke out some handles against his former home in Philly.

We still need more efficiency from Landry, but more production from him is always welcome. He got more run time than usual but showed he can make his time count.

Joe Harris

B

The stats: 14 PTS, 6-9 FG, 2-3 3PT, 1 REB, 1 TO, 22 MIN

It was a bit of an uneventful night for Joe, who sat out a majority of the second half.

It was business as usual for Joe in his time on the court, though he is usually more present on the boards. He was efficient with his shot attempts but did not have the opportunity to get involved elsewhere.

Joe did not have a chance to help Brooklyn get out of their rut, but the rest time was good as well. He can come back fresh for Tuesday.

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot

C

The stats: 13 PTS, 5-12 FG, 2-6 3PT, 1-2 FT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 3 TO, 33 MIN

TLC got the start and additional playing time down the stretch. He seems to switch off between good and bad plays throughout the game.

The good? Two steals and a pair of threes. The not great? The three turnovers and the four missed threes. We know TLC is capable of more offensively, he just needs to show it in bigger moments. 

Jeff Green

C-

The stats: 10 PTS, 3-9 FG, 2-6 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 1 STL, 1 TO, 29 MIN

Jeff Green needs his shooting stroke back. He was hot to start the game but fell off as time went on.

Uncle Jeff does a lot defensively, but with him starting, the Nets needed more on offense. Maybe next time. 

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