Embiid dominates as 76ers secure 121-99 victory over Nets
The Philadelphia 76ers secured a 121-99 victory against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday at Barclays Center. Joel Embiid showcased his dominance with a stat line of 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Contributing to the Sixers' success, Tyrese Maxey finished the game with 25 points and ten assists. Meanwhile, De'Anthony Melton demonstrated his scoring prowess by putting up 21 points on an 8-for-10 shooting, marking his fifth consecutive double-figure scoring game.
The turning point occurred in the second quarter when the 76ers closed with a 23-7 run, turning a three-point deficit into a commanding 12-point lead. Defensive efforts were crucial, with Philadelphia forcing seven turnovers in the third quarter, establishing a 27-point lead.
"It started on defense. We got a few stops," Embiid said.
“We were able to run in transition and then went small, and we took advantage with a bunch of high-lows.”
Maxey, currently 10th in the NBA in points per game (26.9), had a slow start with 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting in the first half. However, he warmed up in the third quarter, scoring nine points and finishing with 14 points in the second half, shooting four for seven from three-point range.
The Sixers' dominance continued in the third quarter, leading by 27 points at 92-65. Philadelphia outscored Brooklyn 33-23 in the third, holding the Nets to their lowest-scoring output of the season.
Nets plagued with injuries
The Nets, missing key starters Ben Simmons (back), Cam Thomas (ankle), and Dennis Smith Jr. (back) to injuries, faced a setback against the 76ers.
Lonnie Walker IV came off the bench for the Nets, leading with 26 points and six rebounds. Despite his individual efforts, the Nets (6-7) suffered their second consecutive loss, ending a three-game home win streak.
"It was a solid game, but it's a loss so it really doesn't mean anything," said Walker.
"I don't think the points truly translated if we lost by 20-plus points. I was feeling it. I was within the groove of the game, but we lost."
The Nets faced a challenging start, going one for seven from the field. However, they rallied to close the first quarter with an 8-2 run, narrowing the 76ers' lead to 23-22. Coach Jacque Vaughn emphasized the need for poise at the end of quarters, acknowledging the impact of momentum plays on the game's outcome.
Despite trailing by 10 points halfway through the first quarter, the Nets made a comeback, bringing the game to a one-point difference by the end of the quarter. They took the lead for the first time in the second quarter but struggled late in the first half, allowing the 76ers to go on a 15-0 run and fall behind 56-44 at halftime. Philadelphia then continued to pull away with a 16-2 run, making it challenging for the Nets to recover.
"Early in the game, we probably took too many mid-range shots just because at the rim," Vaughn said.
"That's where the premium comes with us getting out in transition when we were able to get them cross-matched, you get opportunities."
The 76ers are set to host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, while the Nets will face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.