Nets Lose Tight Contest to Undermanned Sixers

Mar 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

101. 147. Final. 106. 93

The Brooklyn Nets were embarrassed by the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, 106-101. Brook Lopez led the way for the Nets, while Dario Saric dominated for the 76ers, notching 23 points and seven boards.

This game marked the return of Sean Kilpatrick, who had been nursing a hamstring injury for the past several days. Joe Harris was still sidelined in this one with a shoulder injury. The Sixers were without their two most promising prospects, as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons didn’t see the court in this game.

The Sixers did not have a deep bench in this contest. Brett Brown’s squad only suited up nine players on Tuesday night, resulting in several mismatches in the starting lineup. Richaun Holmes, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward, was no matchup for Lopez.

Lopez garnered eight points in the first four minutes of action, resulting in an early Brooklyn lead. Then, former top-10 pick Nik Stauskas checked into the game and immediately provided a spark off the bench for his team. The score was knotted at 19-19 as the final minutes of the first quarter winded down. An 8-0 Sixers run gave them the momentum heading into the second quarter of play.

MUST READ: The Present and Future of Marks’ Latest Additions

A flurry of turnovers from the Nets’ guards, combined with poor defensive sets, resulted in a 31-24 Philadelphia lead after 12 minutes of play.

The Sixers increased their lead to double digits to begin the second quarter. The Nets, in desperate need of help offensively, looked to their biggest scoring punch off the bench. Kilpatrick was able to come into the game and make a big difference. He quickly notched seven points in his first two minutes on the court to bring the deficit to five.

No Sixer truly stood out in their run to build a solid lead. Holmes, Saric and Robert Covington all had significant contributions to build a lead that couldn’t be shaken by the Nets for a majority of the first half. The Sixers were also playing a very efficient brand of basketball at this point. They consistently shot over 50 percent and failed to miss a free throw over that time span.

MUST READ: Nets Must Stay Competitive as Season Winds Down

Despite strong contributions from the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the Nets couldn’t seem to get over the hump in the first half. Lopez was the high man for the Nets with 17 points and two threes. The Sixers closed out the half with a 58-57 lead over Brooklyn.

Lopez was a man on a mission in the third quarter. He continued his recent streak of impressive passing and seemingly grabbed every board that was in his vicinity. The Nets finally took the lead with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. The game then became a back-and-forth affair for an extended period of time.

The Sixers’ field goal percentage leveled off a bit as the quarter droned on. In contrast, the Nets’ threes finally began to start dropping. Caris LeVert and Lopez were both firing away from behind the arc with reckless abandonment, and this strategy proved successful. Brooklyn was able to build a solid lead as the fourth quarter approached.

Atkinson rested his starters towards the tail-end of the third quarter, resulting a complete collapse from his team offensively. The Sixers led by one heading into the final quarter of play.

More from Nothin' But Nets

Every time Philadelphia attempted to put the game away, Brooklyn wouldn’t quite back down. The Nets’ reserves were able to keep the game competitive before Brook-Lin reentered the game. Brooklyn trailed by one heading into the home stretch of the game, yet they were already in the bonus.

The game was in a deadlock as crunch-time loomed. Atkinson made an interesting decision to use Isaiah Whitehead instead of Randy Foye in the closing minutes. Despite hitting a clutch three, the Sixers still held a three-point lead with a minute to go.

Next: Looking at 2017 Free Agent Shooting Guards

After electing not to foul while trailing with 30 seconds left, the Sixers grabbed an offensive rebound, essentially ending any chance of a Net comeback. As the final buzzer sounded, the Sixers took the win, 106-101.