The Philadelphia 76ers kicked off the second half of the season in style, knocking off the Brooklyn Nets in a quite stressful 112-104 victory. The game went all the way to overtime, with both teams going on massive scoring runs throughout the night.
Have you ever heard the saying, “basketball is a game of runs?” Well, tonight was pretty much the poster-child for that saying. The Sixers and Nets combined for a rollercoaster of a performance, culminating in a quite dramatic overtime finish.
Philly started off the night scorching hot, jumping out to a stunning 20-4 lead. Joel Embiid was doing pretty much whatever he wanted on the court in the first quarter.
However, before the home fans could even start cheering, the Nets came storming back. In what was almost a surreal experience, the Nets went on a psychotic 44-8 run. In the blink of an eye, the Sixers found themselves down 20 points in the second quarter.
However, the Sixers would hang in there, battling back through the combination of a few players. Embiid was obviously spectacular (39 points) while newly acquired Alec Burks (19 points) and Tobias Haris (22 points) both put in solid performances.
Via some very clutch Embiid plays, the game ultimately went into overtime, where the Sixers would outscore the Nets 9-1. Burks was specifically effective in the OT period, running the pick and roll multiple times with Embiid.
Having an extra “shot-creator” for the Sixers to turn to was a blessing late in this one.
“The Joel Embiid Game”
39 points, 16 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 18/19 from the line, +/- of +24, and 41 total minutes played. I mean, what more could you possibly want?
In the absence of his All-Star counterpart, Embiid absolutely dominated the game from start to finish. Despite having to deal with the physical duo of Deandre Jordan and Jarrett Allen all night, Embiid was able to impose his will wherever he went. He was effective on the block, on the offensive glass, in the pick and roll, and pretty much wherever else he got the ball.
Embiid capped off his near-perfect night with some extremely clutch plays down the stretch. He knocked down 4 consecutive free throws in the closing minutes of the game and even blocked the Nets game-winner attempt before OT.
After the game Embiid had this to say about his performance, “To me, like I’ve been saying, I’m getting back to myself, so I’m telling my teammates to just get me the ball…I want my teammates to know that I’m going to be there, especially in the tougher situations”.
Al Horford Still Doesn’t Fit
In just 19 minutes of action, Al Horford recorded a +/- of -26. Yes, you read that correctly, -26.
Horford looked absolutely lost on the court, both offensively and defensively. He was frequently exposed by the Nets smaller guards in the pick and roll, and appeared to have no idea where to set up on offense. Brett Brown opted to run without Horford in overtime, an obviously smart decision.
The Sixers jump back on the road for yet another primetime match-up, this time against reigning MVP Giannis Antetekounmp and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers are 1-1 against the Bucks this year, with the loss coming on the road.
Tip-off is scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 PM ET.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports