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On Ben Simmons’ return, Tobias Harris and the Sixers short-handed turn in deep for the win

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When Tobias Harris He rolled his ankle Tuesday after being stepped on Kevin DurantHis foot during the first possession of the third quarter, the pain caused him to stay on the ground for a few minutes. When Philadelphia Seventy Sixers Coach Doc Rivers went to check on his player, A.J Brooklyn Networks The coach told him the injury looked bad. Harris, an Ironman who missed back-to-back games last weekend with a sore groin, immediately ran into the locker room.

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You’d forgive Harris, Rivers or any other Sixers player if their “here we go again…” voiced their opinion in that moment. But Harris said it Meditation For a few moments in the locker room, I didn’t feel the same way.

“I wouldn’t let us go out there with four guys on the bench,” he said.

Harris returned to the game a few minutes later and had a subdued second half: 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, three assists, three rebounds, and a 15-plus. Harris’ number was called out again and again, and against the Nets’ smaller perimeter defenders, he turned in a batch of his patented bully ball isolation from last year.

When the Sixers are full, Harris’ role is more than just a shooter. But the Sixers aren’t perfect — not even close. Therefore, Harris and his teammates had to increase their offensive roles. Without the top three playersJoel EmbiidAnd the James HardenAnd the Therese Maxi), the Sixers outplayed the Brooklyn team as all three were on their way to a 115-106 win.

“Obviously, at this point, with a strained hip and a sprained ankle, it’s like, ‘Hey, maybe we’ll sit you outside.'” “No, I’m going back there,” Harris said. “I feel like that’s a huge victory for us, even at that point. I knew going into the game that we would all come out with that kind of energy and noise to get ready to play against a great team. And I wanted to be a part of it.”

“Any win for us now is a big win,” Rivers said after Monday’s training. The Sixers, who had hit a record . 500 before the evening, needed to figure out a formula to sneak away the wins. And I took one look at the box score to see how the Sixers outperformed the full-strength Nets team.

Philadelphia attempted 19 more field goals and three more free throws than Brooklyn. The Sixers won the possession game by a landslide, making the Nets hot shooting irrelevant. In the simplest terms, they played harder.

“We won a game where the team shot 55 percent,” Rivers said. “We have to win the garbage game, and I think we did that tonight.”

The Sixers rebounded on 41 percent of their missed shots during the competitive portion of the game, in Cleaning the Glass. This is a massive number that requires contributions up and down the list. Takes PJ Tucker, who has been intact in 132 minutes of court time over the past four matches. There’s no polishing how much of a problem Tucker has had with not scoring in recent matches, especially without Harden to feed him an easy look. On Tuesday, he badly missed three pontoons and made a wide open 3 layup.

However, Tucker was one of the Sixers to create a second appearance for his teammates.

Rivers stated that the Sixers’ hope was to find things throughout this stretch that they could apply to future games. Tucker’s ability to take on the toughest fights might qualify. Durant finished with 9 of 14 from the field, but with Tucker on him, he only had to settle for 20 points.

“Whether they play well or not, our guys are going to race,” Rivers said. “They’re out, and I thought Durant was going to get 50 early. And no one hesitated. Tuck did the same. It exhausts you. You can see it. He did it against Giannis (Antetokounmpo) at the end of the match; He did it tonight.”

Perhaps the most surprising champion was The Sixers on Tuesday Paul Reed. The backup center finished with 19 points (7-of-9 field goals, 10 rebounds, three steals, two totals). The fan favorite was a high-profile plus-21 team and continued to work the Nets’ younger frontline for baskets.

The plays below sum up the Sixers offensive night. Reed got a few easy baskets going from edge run to edge and hitting Ben Simmons In one play, then get dumped out Daniel House JrHis saliva penetrated from the other side.

And even on multiple possessions when Brooklyn’s offensive talent shone, the Sixers made it work overall. Seth Curry He made the pull jump below, but there were multiple efforts from Sixers defenders, including Reed running Curry off the 3-point line.

The word “rigidity” is often thrown around liberally to explain the outcome of certain games, but in this case, it felt appropriate.

“I think we’ve got more competitive players[than last year]and that’s the advantage,” Rivers said. “You don’t need a lot to make PJ competitive. You don’t need a lot for Danuel House. Melt (De Anthony Melton), you don’t need much. Paul Reid, Therese (Montreal Harrell), you have a lot of players who may not be the perfect player, but they will compete for you. This helps us.”

There was a strong performance up and down the lineup. Milton attacked and made 6 of 11 from outside the arc while also defending Kyrie Irving. Milton shook He had 16 points and five assists, making a series of key combos down the stretch. George Niang It continues to thrive when short-handed players play a small ball, cut by 16 points. And the Furkan Korkmaz Contribute some much needed ball dribbling after a week out with injury.

One game does not define the team. But on a night when Simmons’ return to Philadelphia got all the pregame attention, the Sixers dominated an entire game with depth and effort to go 9-8 for the season. If the Sixers can count on these things, it will help them over the next few weeks and when the cavalry arrives in the shape of their backcourt.

When asked how much of Simmons’ comeback fueled his desire to win, Harris said it’s the current state of the Sixers.

“It was more about our group being short,” he said. “Truth be told, the guys we have on the field are amazing players. Everyone has a story and journey of how they fought for the position where they are.”


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(Photo by Tobias Harris and Nick Claxton: Mitchell Leaf/Getty Images)

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