NCAA Tournament, Knicks, Nets, Rose

Nets take another loss as 76ers go up 2-0 in the series

The Nets stood no chance as Tyrese Maxey put up a stellar second-half performance from the 3-point line and grabbed a 96-84 win for the 76ers to go up 2-0 in the series. The Nets were a more well-paced team in the first half and were able to outscore the 76ers in the first half and take a five-point lead at halftime. However, the 76ers were able to wake themselves up and hit the Nets with shots from the perimeter to grab back the lead and gain the momentum they needed to win the game.

James Harden struggled throughout the game, hitting none of his four attempted 3-pointers and hitting only one of his seven attempted shots in the first-half, in which the Nets were able to take advantage and gain a small lead for themselves. The 76ers struggled on the offensive end, failing to hit many shots from the perimeter and relying on the paint to accumulate their points. Cam Johnson stepped up in game 2, being the team’s leading scorer and playing well on offense, including a posterizing dunk on Joel Embiid.

Johnson's first-half performance could not translate well into the second-half, scoring only eight points and struggling to play at the level he did in the first-half. Despite struggling on offense, the 76ers were only down by five points heading into halftime, which was when the 76ers were able to adjust and take over the game in the second-half.

Both Tobias Harris and Maxey picked up the 76ers and carried them to victory with their second-half performance. Maxey kept shooting from the perimeter, along with garnering shots within the paint to become the team’s leading scorer for the night. Harris and Embiid played well inside the paint, along with both players dominating the boards and grabbing double-digit rebounds. The Nets being out-rebounded 56-33 played an important factor in the loss, bringing in more opportunities for the 76ers to score. 

While the Nets were able to create opportunities for themselves to score, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity. With the pacing of how these past two games have gone, it’s likely that the Nets’ season may soon come to an end. The Nets now look to travel back and have home court advantage where they can hopefully take a win over the 76ers. 

Johnson led the Nets in scoring with his 28 points and two steals. Mikal Bridges was right behind him with 21 points, five rebounds and seven assists, while Spencer Dinwiddie had 12 points. Off the bench, Seth Curry led in scoring with nine points, while Royce O’Neale had six points, six rebounds and two steals. 

For the 76ers, Maxey had 33 points on 6-13 shooting from the 3-point line. Embiid had a solid all-around game as he put up 20 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Harris also had a 20-10 game with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Harden struggled with eight points on 3-13 shooting from the field, but was able to play well on the defensive end where he grabbed four steals. 

Despite Johnson stepping up and playing well on offense in one-half, it is clear that the Nets need more than just Bridges and Johnson being their main scorers every night. They not only lack an offensive superstar, but they also lack players who are able to grab rebounds for the team. The Nets being out-rebounded by the 76ers was a sore statistic to look at, and the Nets do not necessarily have an Embiid-type of player who can grab double-digit rebounds for the team.

The Nets could not keep up with the second-half pace of the game, being tired and could not get their buckets to go in. There was a lack of depth on the floor as well with no playing time for guys like Cam Thomas, Patty Mills and Yuta Watanabe getting no playing time in game 2. Bringing in these guys will help give the starters some rest and give the guys on the bench an opportunity to make an impact on the floor.

With Harden struggling, he could have another off-night, in which the Nets could use to their advantage, but they also need to stop guys like  Maxey and Harris from grabbing another great offensive performance. However,  likelihood of the 76ers having another off-night offensively is unlikely as Harden would like to have a great offensive performance in Brooklyn. This was a must-win game for the Nets and they could not take advantage of it, leading to a likely sweep and an end to the Nets’ “wild” season.