Philadelphia 76ers win at Brooklyn, 105-95

Dec 18, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) dribbles as Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) defends during the first quarter of the game at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) dribbles as Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) defends during the first quarter of the game at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, 105-95. The Sixers, fresh off a loss to the Boston Celtics Friday night 110-106, bounced back nicely with a dominating second half performance that sealed the Sixers 10th win of the season.

Philadelphia wanted to follow up their December 18th win against the Nets. The Sixers won that game 108-107 in Philly and wanted to ensure that Brooklyn stays below them in the Eastern Conference standings.

Sergio Rodriguez was back into the lineup after missing the past three games due to a left ankle sprain. However, Jahlil Okafor did not play yet again. Okafor has sat three of the last four games.

1st Quarter

After tip-off, Brooklyn started hot from the field. They would finish the quarter with four 3-point field goals. The Sixers came out cold in the first few minutes of play. By 6:04, the score was 14-11 Brooklyn, as the Sixers narrowed the gap on the Nets lead. Both teams maintained pace and at the end of the 1st, Brooklyn led 27-24.

2nd Quarter

In the 2nd quarter the Nets continued to maintain their lead. At 8:28, Gerald Henderson was called for a flagrant foul after fouling Justin Hamilton on a Brooklyn fast break. Hamilton would convert 1 of 2 from the line.

Ersan Ilyasova’s long distance shooting troubles continued after Friday night’s game against Boston, when he went 4-14 from 3-point land. By midway through the 2nd quarter, he only connected on one of four 3-point baskets. He would finish the game shooting 1-for-7 on 3-pointers with 14 points and 7 boards.

The Sixers struggled to find ways to manufacture points, but their scrappy defensive play on the other end kept them in it. This hard-nosed defense forced the Nets to commit many turnovers. By the end of the game, the Nets had accumulated 22 turnovers compared to Philly’s 13.

With less than 2 minutes in the half, Robert Covington received an elbow to the face, compliments of Bojan Bogdanovic. Covington would be on the receiving end of a few more physical plays, but they would only serve to intensify him. Covington went on to score 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 steals. The Nets concluded the first half on a 9-2 run. The score at half time was 57-46.

Energized in the 3rd 

After halftime, the Sixers came to life. Holding the Nets scoreless for several minutes after the break, the Sixers promptly went on a 13-point run, with Ilyasova and Nik Stauskas each hitting an open 3-point basket.

This marked the first time the Sixers held a lead in the game, 59-57. At the 7:18 mark, Joel Embiid sat with 4 fouls, but not before contributing an additional 6 points in the quarter. By 5:11 the Sixers were on a 21-6 run. Guards T.J. McConnell and Nik Stauskas played aggressively, attacking the basket and increasing the Sixers lead. By the end of the quarter, the Sixers had scored 32 points compared to Brooklyn’s 16 and led 78-73.

Nets Rally

Joel Embiid charged back into the game after missing most of the 3rd quarter and immediately made his presence known in the form of a blocked shot and two quick field goals. Embiid would finish the game with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 23 minutes of play (coming short on his minutes restriction due to foul trouble). The Nets however, quickly fired back and managed to put together their own run, knotting the game up at 82with 8:44 left. The Sixers and Nets then exchanged baskets through most of the 4th quarter, neither team seemingly able to gain an advantage.

Sixers Final Push

In the final minutes, down the stretch, Brooklyn couldn’t buy a basket. The Sixers went on a 13-0 run late in the game. With 1:57 left, Philly led 101-87. Robert Covington helped spark this surge with a dunk on Brook Lopez that had the Sixers bench reeling. He then followed it up with a 3-point basket. Lopez finished the game with 26 points and 2 rebounds. With less than a minute remaining, Brooklyn went to their typical fouling protocol, putting multiple Sixers at the line and trying to stop the clock. The final score 105-95 Sixers.

Keys to Sixers win

The Sixers didn’t shoot particularly well in the game, just 39 percent on field goal attempts compared to the Net’s 46 percent. That said, the Sixers did edge Brooklyn in rebounding 46 to 40. The two keys to Philadelphia’s win were forcing turnovers and getting to the foul line. By getting turnovers, the Sixers had a total of 94 field goal attempts compared to Brooklyn’s 78. So even with Philly shooting a lower percentage, they still earned more total points.

The Sixers also played more aggressively and were rewarded with 27 free throw attempts. They converted on 23 of them, that’s over 20 percent of the Sixers total offense. While the Nets only went to the free throw line 17 times, making 13 of them.