How 76ers cruised to victory over a shorthanded Nets squad

NBA: MAY 05 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3 – Celtics at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (25) looks toward the net during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia 76ers are now 13-0 when their entire starting five plays.

A game that many people had circled on their calendar earlier in the week, the Saturday night showdown between the 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets ended up being a tad anticlimactic. Kevin Durant was forced to miss the game due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and Kyrie Irving sat out with a sprained finger.

Regardless, the Sixers – guided by their undefeated starting five – showed up and took care of business as they continue to cement their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference.

In what’s becoming a bit of a routine act for him at this point, Joel Embiid poured in yet another MVP performance. He logged 33 points and 9 rebounds in just 31 minutes of working, fully having his way with the Nets undersized backcourt.

Both Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris also had performances worthy of recognition. Simmons flirted with a triple-double – recording 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists on 7-10 shooting, while Harris put up 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Simmons in particular was dynamic on the defensive side of the ball, as his work guarding James Harden during the third quarter is what really helped extend the Sixers’ lead.

While it wasn’t the superstar-stuffed slugfest that we all were initially hoping for, the Sixers proved that they’re more than capable of exposing the Nets’ many roster flaws. Philadelphia scored 62 of their points from inside the paint (which is absurd), and routinely outperformed a fairly weak Brooklyn bench. Even with KD and Irving likely available during the postseason, these are aspects that the Sixers can still regularly use to their advantage.

The Sixers sit alone atop the East at 17-7, with their next game coming against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. Another opportunity for Philly to add to their ever-increasing win total.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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