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Home » Sixers Extend Win Streak to Six with Narrow Win Over Nets

Sixers Extend Win Streak to Six with Narrow Win Over Nets

26 January 2023, Thursday
Wednesday evening saw Joel Embiid's 76ers continue their winning streak to six by defeating Ben Simmons' Nets 137-133 at the Wells Fargo Center. Despite Embiid being listed as questionable due to left foot soreness, the center still managed to score 26 points and secure 10 rebounds on 6-for-18 shooting. During the offensively-driven game, Embiid seemed to show some physical difficulty at times.

Tyrese Maxey and James Harden combined for 50 points, as the Philadelphia 76ers edged the Brooklyn Nets, 120-117, on Thursday night. Seth Curry and Kyrie Irving scored 32 and 30 points, respectively, for Brooklyn, but it wasn't enough to overcome the combined scoring of Maxey and Harden. Nic Claxton added 25 points and 11 boards for the Nets, who were without Kevin Durant due to a right knee MCL sprain. Furkan Korkmaz (right shoulder soreness) and Jaden Springer (non-COVID illness) were also out of the lineup for Philadelphia, who have now won 19 of their last 23 contests. Ben Simmons contributed 12 points, five assists and five rebounds in the win. Saturday brings a matchup with the Denver Nuggets in Philadelphia.

The crowd erupted in a deafening roar as soon as they saw Simmons had been switched onto Embiid only a minute into the game. Embiid's first attempt, a leaner, was unsuccessful as was the tip-in that followed, but P.J. Tucker was able to fight for an offensive rebound and draw a foul. 

The matchup between Simmons and Embiid seemed to be a favorite among Sixers fans. Fouls also became a problem for Brooklyn early on. Embiid made a strong seal in the paint against Simmons and drew a foul at the 9:07 mark in the first quarter, causing Brooklyn head coach Jacques Vaughn to voice his displeasure. Vaughn was then issued a technical for his objection.

Ben Simmons received his second foul with 5:20 remaining in the first quarter, which noticeably diminished his impact for the remainder of the first half. His only shot of the half was a close-range hook shot, which he failed to convert. During that time, Kyrie Irving forced the Sixers' first turnover, intercepting a Harden entry pass to Embiid and then assisting a Joe Harris three-pointer. Irving's ability to move the ball around the court was a major factor for the Nets' efficient offense. The Nets overcame an early nine-point deficit due to Stephen Curry sinking a corner three on his first possession.

The first period of the game was a physical, strange and high-scoring affair, with the officiating often under the spotlight. Both the Sixers and the Nets were perfect from the free throw line, with the former making all 13 shots, and the latter 9 out of 12. There was an odd, harsh technical foul given to Harden, when he threw the ball into the basket stanchion after Claxton's successful shot. Additionally, both Embiid and Claxton received technical fouls. At the close of the quarter, the score was even at 41-41.

Using Maxey off the bench proved advantageous for the Sixers once more, thus allowing them to bypass a steep offensive decline while key players, Embiid and Harden, rested. 

Shake Milton also contributed to the team's success later on during the 1st quarter and the beginning of the 2nd, with a whole all-bench lineup. Milton was aggressive in transition and frequently drove into the paint, clearly demonstrating that Maxey wasn't the only one carrying the bench. He even secured an offensive rebound prior to facilitating a three-pointer for Maxey, that was aided by a fortuitous bounce.

Maxey then put up a three-pointer and created separation to increase the Sixers' lead to 59-52, giving him a total of 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting in his limited time of playing. If you need someone to add quick offense to your team, he would be an ideal candidate. Curry also proved himself to be a valuable weapon off the bench by sinking seven three-pointers in the first half, five of which he made, including one which he got through a foul by Maxey, and another which he faked Tobias Harris on.

Matisse Thybulle offered the Sixers some effective possessions when guarding Kyrie Irving and hit a wide open three. Despite his habit for taking risks, Thybulle proved he could bring strong defensive presence against top players. His contribution of 10 points in 12 minutes of playing time Wednesday only reinforced the belief he can be a beneficial asset in the playoffs.

The Sixers got off to a sluggish start in the third quarter, as Harden was called for an offensive foul after driving through Simmons and Embiid was given two rapid fouls against Claxton. Despite Embiid's physical prowess, Claxton performed remarkably on both sides of the ball and stood his ground against him. Embiid also committed three fouls against Claxton during this period, but this didn't stop the Philadelphia offense from staying in rhythm.

James Harden extended the Philadelphia 76ers' lead by 15 points with a resilient step-back jumper against center Claxton. Embiid followed this with an and-one layup and gave a characteristically passionate celebration, hip-thrusting in the spirit of a professional wrestler. Ben Simmons increased his offensive output in the third, connecting for a righty hook and two shots from the charity stripe. A vast improvement from his 43.4% free throw statistic before their game Wednesday. He was taken out of play for the remaining 8 minutes and 57 seconds.

Thybulle and Milton failed to replicate their first half performance against the Brooklyn zone as they both missed corner threes. Watanabe's long-range jumper reduced the Nets' deficit to just 8 points. Fortunately, Thybulle had an answer, as he made an open three and also threw down an impressive dunk off a Maxey lob. With Embiid watching from the bench, tense moments arose between Georges Niang and Simmons. The officials called Simmons for travelling under Niang's tight defense and this provoked Niang to move into Simmons' face, for which Simmons retaliated with a shove that earned him a technical foul.

Niang had a personal triumph when he blocked Harden's shot, but the Nets' offense continued to produce, reducing Philadelphia's lead to six points on a Markieff Morris jump shot. Harris answered back with five consecutive points, including a tough shot and a layup, only for Brooklyn to counter with an 8-0 run. With both teams struggling to make stops, the score remained tight.

The Philadelphia 76ers' defensive struggles as well as their slowing offensive pace allowed the Brooklyn Nets to stage a sensational comeback in the contest. Brooklyn's usage of a zone defense didn't work miracles on Philadelphia, yet it did play a role in the Sixers becoming heavily dependant on jump shots. Steph Curry's seventh three-pointer erased a deficit as significant as 17 points and leveled the game at 120 apiece. After that, James Harden forfeited a catch-and-shoot opportunity, resulting in a turnover for traveling. Philadelphia seemed in danger of collapse.

The game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Golden State Warriors was an offensive showcase, as James Harden and Kyrie Irving traded spectacular shots. However, the Sixers ultimately won 131-124, due to a couple of key plays outside of shotmaking. Tobias Harris provided excellent isolation defense on Stephen Curry to force an air ball, then raced down the court to tip in a missed shot. Tyrell Melton then secured a key offensive rebound before passing the ball to Matisse Maxey for a three-pointer that put the 76ers ahead.

The Sixers still managed to come away with a win, despite the Nets shooting an impressive 64.5 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from beyond the arc.

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