Sixers vs. Nets: Injury-depleted Sixers beat Brooklyn in Ben Simmons’ first game back

How’s that for a group win?

With Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Joel Embiid and Jaden Springer all sidelined, Tuesday evening’s matchup towards the Nets at Wells Fargo Center was removed from a misplaced trigger for the Sixers.

They improved to 9-8 this season with a 115-106 victory. Tobias Harris, De’Anthony Melton, Paul Reed, Georges Niang and Shake Milton all scored 16 or extra factors.

Kyrie Irving posted 23 factors, Kevin Durant 20.

In his first game at Wells Fargo Center because the Sixers’ Game 7 playoff loss to the Hawks on June 20, 2021, Ben Simmons recorded 11 factors, 11 assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

The Sixers will journey to Charlotte and play the Hornets on Wednesday evening. Here are observations on their win over Brooklyn:

Simmons vs. the Sixers…

As anybody acquainted with Simmons’ Sixers historical past may have foreseen, he acquired loud boos every time he had the ball. The crowd additionally sprinkled in a few “F— Ben Simmons” chants.

The evening began brightly for each Simmons and Brooklyn. Nicolas Claxton had eight of the Nets’ first 10 factors, all of them in the paint, and the Nets grabbed an early eight-point lead.

Harris thought he cleanly blocked Simmons’ first field-goal try, however he was whistled for a foul and Simmons went to the free-throw line, the place followers had a sustained probability to let unfastened the boos. He quieted the quantity with a 2-for-2 journey. To the gang’s delight, Simmons could not replicate that effort in the third quarter. His consecutive misses on the foul line meant free hen nuggets by way of the Sixers’ “Bricken for Chicken” promotion.

Simmons did not stun the Sixers by contemplating long-distance jumpers, however he did show his number of expertise. Early in the second quarter, the 26-year-old blocked a Niang floater after which slammed in a dunk on the following possession. A superbly weighted outlet cross help to Royce O’Neale in the third interval was one other spectacular second for Simmons.

Although he is a former teammate of Simmons’, Niang by no means really performed a game alongside him final season. He gave Simmons a cushion defensively whereas additionally sometimes poking on the ball and including a little bit of physicality. He pushed that method too far with an off-ball shove late in the second quarter that the officers deemed a Flagrant 1 foul.

The Sixers constructed a big sufficient lead that Hack-a-Simmons wasn’t on the desk late in the game. Simmons checked out with 3:08 left and the Nets trailing by 14 factors.

Sixers with large edge past the arc

PJ Tucker slipped a display screen properly on the Sixers’ first possession, however he got here up nicely brief on a close-range shot, lacking an opportunity to attain for the first time since Nov. 12.

Quite a number of Sixers possessions lasted till late in the shot clock, however their shotmaking was respectable in these spots. Harris made a tough turnaround jumper in the first quarter and Melton drained a three-pointer. He beat the first-half buzzer, too.

The Sixers launched a zone protection in the center of the first interval, and it did not flummox the Nets. On the second Brooklyn possession towards the zone, Simmons discovered area for a righty layup. Durant additionally hit two mid-range jumpers. Without Embiid, the Sixers’ formulation for ample protection is probably going some mixture of well-timed aggression and opponents lacking jumpers.

The Sixers at the least had Brooklyn buying and selling twos for threes. Furkan Korkmaz made a nook three on his first try, giving the Sixers their first lead of the evening at 21-20. Milton dished a lefty wraparound cross to Niang for a triple. When Niang rumbled in for a layup on the Sixers’ subsequent possession, Harden and Maxey’s smiles stood out on the Sixers’ bench. The Sixers in the end led by seven factors after 1 / 4 primarily as a result of they have been 5 for 8 from lengthy vary and the Nets have been 0 for 3. Brooklyn did not make a 3 till 8:24 remained in the second quarter.

Matisse Thybulle, who’s been bothered just lately by an ankle harm, checked in for the first time with 5:58 left in the second. Rather improbably, his first contact was a made nook three simply earlier than the shot clock expired. Thybulle tried twice from the identical spot quickly after, however he got here up empty.

As for Tucker, his scoreless run merely would not finish. He’d been very environment friendly on his typical low quantity to begin the season, making 57.4 % of his discipline targets and 11 of his 24 threes by way of 13 video games. However, he fell to 0 for six from the ground late in the third quarter Tuesday when he air-balled a nook three. He will certainly rating once more quickly sufficient.

Reed rises to the second, Harris steps up after harm scare

Montrezl Harrell wasn’t all the time clean with the ball in his fingers, however he in the end offered six factors, 4 rebounds and his regular high-energy peskiness across the paint in his first run. He helped the Sixers finish the night with a 20-4 benefit in offensive rebounds by flattening six in simply 16 minutes.

Reed additionally chipped in with a tip-in throughout his preliminary stint, which was a protracted one as a result of he performed so nicely. Reed’s means to hold with perimeter gamers defensively was precious, too. He contested a Seth Curry miss, blocked a Joe Harris layup, performed strong publish protection to pressure Simmons right into a missed righty hook, and broke up an O’Neale lob supposed for Simmons. At his finest, Reed’s knack for doing one thing productive on virtually each play is just not dissimilar to Melton’s. He took full benefit of the minutes obtainable with Embiid out and had a wonderful displaying general.

Reed had certainly one of his higher stretches this season as a curler on Tuesday evening. Brooklyn’s protection was usually flimsy, however Reed dove exhausting and successfully to the rim. His layup with 8:45 left in the second quarter put the Sixers up 42-30. At that stage, the Sixers had 19 bench factors and the Nets simply 4. The closing margin there was 47-29.

It appeared the Sixers’ depth may be examined even additional when Harris lay on the court docket in ache with 11:19 left in the third quarter. He ultimately obtained up and walked off gingerly with head athletic coach Kevin Johnson into the locker room.

Harris returned a couple of minutes later. He was very sharp, too. The 30-year-old ahead capitalized on a Nets transition protection breakdown, driving in for a dunk.

When the Sixers remoted him towards O’Neale, Harris methodically backed O’Neale down in a method the group would not are likely to encourage when everybody’s wholesome, then sunk a brief jumper that capped a 7-0 run. He embraced being the Sixers’ No. 1 offensive choice in the second half. Harris made an necessary pull-up jumper with 4 seconds to go in the third, placing the Sixers forward 85-82.

In the fourth, Harris prolonged the Sixers’ result in 10 factors together with his first three of the evening. Harris additionally confirmed off a good quantity of his old-school instruments, taking part in a bodily, grind-it-out game. That was completely acceptable for the circumstances, and the Sixers did nicely to acknowledge that Harris deserved touches on nearly each possession.

Milton then took the reins to extinguish any Nets comeback hopes, drilling two jumpers and scoring a put-back layup that prompted Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn to name a timeout and insert his deep reserves.

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