The second game in a back-to-back is never easy, especially when it’s on the road and on the back of a draining win over the Wizards. Luck appeared to favor the Sixers, though. The 4-4 Brooklyn Nets were without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and of course Spencer Dinwiddie. This was a prime spot for the Sixers and Doc Rivers to coast to a win and take care of business. That’s not what happened.
The Sixers bled 122 points to the Nets on Thursday night, as Caris LaVert and Joe Harris ran rampant. Being the #1 ranked defense coming into this matchup, seeing such poor perimeter play was a surprise and a throwback to what we saw in the opener.
“We didn’t come to play.” Doc Rivers said after the game. “We played last night I guess. It was disappointing. You got three of their top five players out. We had players missing too, but that’s an extremely winnable game regardless of where it’s played. That’s what we were in the past. We deserved to lose.”
The Sixers consistently chopped into a lead they never saw again after the first quarter, getting it down to 12, 10, and even into single digits on multiple occasions. A lack of focus on the defensive end just meant the injury-riddled Nets could keep slipping away.
Joe Harris ended up going 6-9 from three-point range, placing dagger after dagger into the chest of the Sixers. Things weren’t much better inside, with Lavert reaching 22 points and Jarrett Allen going 4-5 in the paint alongside sparking up a feud with Dwight Howard.
“I’m not concerned with our defense at all.” Rivers went on to say. “We played very well last night and let it bleed out and that carried over. A lot of fixable things. Obviously, if it carries over, we play an excellent offensive team on Saturday so we’ll find out where we are on Saturday.”
The Sixers will face the Denver Nuggets on Saturday at 3PM. The spotlight will of course be on ‘The Battle of the Bigs’ between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, but they do have some pretty handy shooters too. The Joker himself is already firing at a 47% clip, JaMychal Green is hitting 61.5% of his shots (!!) and even Paul Milsap is at 47.8%.
Facing a brief window to catch their breath and regroup, it will be interesting to see how the Sixers fare and whether or not they can right the wrongs from this defeat.
Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire