PHILADELPHIA — When the Nets confronted the 76ers two days earlier than Thanksgiving, they misplaced to a decimated group. On Wednesday, within the rematch — the primary time the Nets’ Ben Simmons confronted former teammate Joel Embiid — the trouble was far, much better, however the finish outcome the identical.
Enjoying their seventh straight sport with out Kevin Durant, the shorthanded Nets misplaced a 137-133 heartbreaker earlier than a venomous crowd at Wells Fargo Middle, who booed Simmons’ each contact.
The followers most likely would’ve booed his each breath if they might, such is town’s hatred of Simmons, who requested a commerce final season amid a deteriorating relationship with Embiid and obtained traded to the Nets for James Harden.
Embiid, who returned to the lineup Wednesday after he sat out Saturday with foot soreness, was largely outplayed by Nic Claxton, who had a career-high 25 factors on 11-for-12 capturing, whereas including 11 rebounds and two blocks. However the Nets didn’t lose due to Embiid. They misplaced as a result of their sloppiness dug a gap too deep to climb out of.
The Nets trailed by 17 within the third quarter and had been nonetheless down 116-102 within the fourth, earlier than an 18-4 blitz tied the rating. However they couldn’t recover from the hump, and gave an 8-2 run proper again.
A Kyrie Irving bucket lower the Sixers’ result in 133-131 with 45 seconds left, however Harden adopted with a finger roll to primarily ice it.
It was a significantly better effort than the Nets’ Nov. 22 loss at Wells Fargo Middle, when the Sixers performed with out Embiid, Harden and Tyrese Maxey.
“When [Embiid plays], I believe we’ve got to dictate. It’s important to create some type of havoc and get them to react to you,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn mentioned. “In case you let [the bigger guy] dictate what’s occurring, then it’s not going to truthful fairly effectively.
“Whether or not that’s altering the issues we do all through the course of the evening or making them suppose somewhat bit on who he’s going to protect, what his place goes to be defensively, we’ll throw some issues defensively at him that we’re dictating, not reacting.”
On Wednesday, the Nets misplaced the lead throughout a 7-0 second-quarter Sixers run and by no means obtained it again. They had been outscored 10-2 off turnovers within the quarter.
Seth Curry, who arrived with Simmons within the Harden deal, led the Nets with 32 factors on 7-for-10 capturing from behind the arc. Irving added 30 factors and 10 assists, whereas Simmons began horribly, however completed with 12 factors, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Nets (29-18) fell to 2-5 since shedding Durant to a sprained proper MCL on Jan. 8. The group introduced Tuesday he gained’t be reevaluated for 2 weeks.
Maxey had 27 factors and Embiid scored 26 on subpar six-for-18 capturing for the Sixers (31-16). Harden completed with 23 factors — eight within the fourth quarter — and 7 assists.
The Nets led 43-41 moments into the second quarter when Irving discovered T.J. Warren for a brief fadeaway. However they surrendered seven unanswered factors, capped by Maxey’s step-back 3-pointer that made it 48-43.
They trailed by 10 at intermission and the deficit swelled to 94-77 after an Embiid and-one halfway by way of the third quarter.
It was nonetheless 116-102 after a Maxey bucket with 8:59 left within the sport, however the Nets reeled off the subsequent eight factors unanswered, a part of an prolonged 18-4 run.
A Curry pull-up obtained them inside 120-117, and after a Harden journey, Curry knotted it on a 3-pointer with 4:06 to play. However they by no means pulled forward.
Harden hit a 3-pointer of his personal to untie it, sparking a mini 8-2 spurt that proved an excessive amount of to beat.