Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets Capitalize On Joel Embiid's Absence

With Ben Simmons's return to the Brooklyn Nets, their matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center seems to be the moment Philly fans have waited for, but the Sixers lineup wasn’t exactly what they had imagined.

With Joel Embiid suffering a torn meniscus after exiting the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, the 76ers have a tough decision to make on the approach to his recovery. In the meantime, his team failed to adjust to the absence of their reigning MVP falling to the Nets 136-121. 

This is not the first time the Sixers have faced Ben Simmons since the trade. In November 2022, Simmons finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and three blocks over the course of his 32 minutes as the Nets fell to the 76ers. 

Net’s Explosive First Half

With Joel Embiid injured and Tobias Harris out with an illness, the Brooklyn Nets quickly took advantage of the roster. They opened with an explosive offense that Philadelphia's defense couldn't keep up with. Brooklyn shot 15/24 (62.5%) as the 76ers trailed behind going 7/23 (30.4%). Center Nic Claxton held his own on defense with seven rebounds to end the first with Simmons putting up four of his own (despite being booed by fans every time he touched the ball). Kelly Oubre collected eight points–all from the free-throw line. The Nets led the Sixers 38-22.

Philadelphia’s rough defensive scheme carried into the second quarter along with a predictable offense. With Tyrese Maxey continuously contested, the floor would have to adapt. Mikal Bridges led the Nets at the end of the second quarter with 17 points, three rebounds, and two assists while shooting 50% from the half. Nic Claxton clutches 13 rebounds, his career-high in a half, in 11 minutes Despite the Nets up by 25 to start the quarter, the 76ers were able to cut the lead to 16 by the end of the half (67-51), Brooklyn’s biggest halftime lead on the road this season.

76ers Trail to the Finish

Cam Thomas and Mikal Bridges clicked at the exact same time for a combined 55 points by the third. Thomas contributed 33 of those points, scoring 21 in the third quarter alone. Walker added 17 points of his own. Ben Simmons played 13 minutes but had yet to attempt a shot, possibly folding under the pressure of the past. The Nets led the 76ers 105-82 to end the 3rd. 

G-League star Terquavian Smith came off the bench for the Sixers in the last quarter on a run with 17 points. After picking up his 2nd technical, Sixer’s Patrick Beverly was ejected from the game in the 4th, leaving many Philadelphia fans confused. The Nets never looked back after dominating the fourth quarter and Cam Thomas ended the game with a total of 40 points, shooting 14/26 from the field. Brooklyn shot 49/95 (52%) with 20 made threes and 35 assists.

The Nets came up on top beating the 76ers 136-121. This game raises high concern for Philadelphia fans and the playoff picture as they still await a decision on Joel Embiid and his timeline to return.

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