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Sixers vs.Nets: Sixers edge Brooklyn in shootout, extend winning streak to six games

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Finally, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons faced each other on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

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Embiid’s Sixers emerged victorious in a chaotic, offense-focused affair, extending their winning streak to six games and improving to 31-16 with a 137-133 victory.

Embiid, who was listed as a questionable lead of the game with a sore left foot, scored 26 points on 6-for-18 shooting and 10 rebounds. He seemed to struggle physically on multiple occasions.

Simmons scored 12 points, five assists and five rebounds.

Therese Maxi scored 27 points and James Harden added 23 points.

Seth Curry (32 points) and Kyrie Irving (30 points) were the best scorers for the Nets. Nick Claxton had 25 points on 11 for 12 shooting and 11 boards.

Brooklyn star Kevin Durant is out due to an MCL sprain in his right knee. Furkan Korkmaz (right shoulder soreness) and Jaden Springer (non-COVID illness) have been sidelined from the Sixers, who have now won 19 of their last 23 games.

The Sixers will play the Nuggets in Philadelphia on Saturday. Here are notes on their victory over Brooklyn:

Embiid, Simmons is in the middle of an error-strewn start

The crowd let out a legitimate roar when they saw Simmons teleport to Embiid about a minute into the match. Embiid missed a less graceful attempt and followed, but PJ Tucker canceled an offensive rebound and was fouled.

The Sixers (and local fans) continued to love the look of that game. Fouls became an early concern for Brooklyn as well. Embiid Simmons stamped in the paint and was fouled at the 9:07 mark of the first quarter. Brooklyn head coach Jack Vaughn expressed his displeasure with his team being called out for the first four fouls of the night and was evaluated on a technical level.

Simmons attempted to upset Harden 35 feet from the hoop but was whistled for his second foul with 5:20 remaining in the first. The 26-year-old made little impact in his first outing. Simmons was peripheral on the Brooklyn half-court offense, and the Sixers allowed the Nets few real opportunities for the fast breaker. His only shot in the first half of any kind was a right hook from close range with about 4:30 left in the second quarter. He left it short and Embiid scored inside on the ensuing possession.

In fact, Irving forced the Sixers’ first turnover, intercepted Harden’s entry pass to Embiid and then helped Joe Harris’ three-pointer go. The seven-time All-Star was the focus of the highly effective Nets offense. Brooklyn started 9-for-1 from the ground up and snapped an early nine-point deficit when Seth Curry scored a third layup on his first possession.

The referee was often in the spotlight during the oddly physical and high-scoring first half. The Sixers made all 13 free throws in the first quarter, while the Nets led 9 to 12. Embiid and Claxton didn’t seem to start the evening on particularly friendly terms and both committed technical fouls late in the first game. The stop-filled quarter ended with no difference between the two teams – 41 runs after 12 minutes.

Maxi gives the bench a great lift

Maxey’s use off the bench again helped the Sixers avoid any kind of offensive break while Embiid and Harden were sitting out.

Shake Milton was also instrumental in the Sixers’ late first and early second quarter success with his bench lineup. Melton attacked in transition, regularly drove to the paint, and made it clear that Maxie wasn’t the only real threat in the Sixers’ second unit. He even caught an offensive plate before setting up Maxey Triple who went down after a very generous rebound.

Maxie then rocked Edmund Sumner and created space to sink three more, putting the Sixers up 59-52. That shot gave him 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting in just 10 minutes of playing time. If you’re looking for an instant offense, he’s a great candidate to offer. Clearly, Curry is very strong as a scorer off the bench as well. He made seven three-pointers in the first half, making five of them. Two of those looks were inexcusably open, but Curry also made one three with a maxi blunder and burned Tobias Harris with his fake pump before draining another.

Matisse Thybulle gave the Sixers some good possessions against Irving and hit a wide-opening three-pointer. While his natural punting-heavy style doesn’t lend itself to flawless basketball, Thybulle’s idea as a player who can help out in the playoffs depends on him playing devastating and generally high-level defense against opposing stars. He checked this box on Wednesday while slashing 10 points in his 12th minute.

Six squeak by the penalty shootout

The Sixers had an unfocused start to the third quarter. Harden plowed over Simmons for an offensive foul and whistled Embiid for two quick fumbles against Claxton.

Of course, Embiid being Embiid, he also hit three errors on Claxton early in the third period and made sure the Sixers offense didn’t lose any serious steam. Claxton played a great game at both ends of the ground, despite not being in the Embiid League physically.

However, there wasn’t much to like about the Nets defensively through three quarters. They got into territory early in the third quarter, which is reasonable considering how well the Sixers looked for the switch. Milton drove to the middle and converted a soft finger roll. On the Sixers’ next possession, Harden found Harris on the high position and made an easy bunt. No matter the scheme, the Sixers seemed capable of creating soft spots or favorable tackles on almost every possession.

They also made a lot of difficult things. Harden increased the Sixers’ advantage to 15 points when he sized Claxton and drilled a contested return jump. Embiid pulled his emphatic, hip, A celebration inspired by professional wrestling After throwing the ball and one.

Simmons increased his offensive aggression in the third quarter, making a right hook and two free throws. Prior to Wednesday, Simmons had gone 23-for-53 (43.4 percent) at fault line this season. He went 2-for-3 in the game and sat out the final 8:57.

The Sixers bench was unable to replicate the first half’s performance. Thibul and Milton missed three corner kicks against Brooklyn territory and Uta Watanabe’s long-range jump cut the Nets deficit to 102-94. Thybulle had an important answer, however, making three more open. He also hit a dunk after cutting along the baseline and catching Maxi Loeb.

With Embiid watching from the bench, George Nyang stirred up some drama with Simmons. After Simmons was called to travel under a stiff defense from Niang, he encountered a Sixers striker who shot Simmons in the face, resulting in a backwards push which the officials deemed technically worthy.

While that moment likely felt like a personal win for Niang, the Nets continued to score at a high rate and cut the Sixers’ lead to six points on Markiff Morris’s jump over Harden. Tobias Harris relieved momentary anxiety by scoring five consecutive points (a hard jumper and one throw) against Yuuta Watanabe and Maxi sank by a triple…but Brooklyn then responded with an 8-0 run of its own. Stops were generally sporadic for both teams.

The Sixers aided the Nets’ comeback effort by committing defensive breakdowns and switching to an intentional offense. The Brooklyn borough hasn’t badly battered the Sixers, but it has contributed to the team’s reliance on jumpers and unnecessarily decreasing pace. The Curry VII three-index erased a nets deficit of as much as 17 points. Then, Harden missed a sexy look and whistled for travel. The Sixers seemed about to collapse.

At that point, the game essentially turned into a penalty shootout. Harden made back-to-back threes, Irving scored a great layup late on, and the offense continued to dominate the night. The Sixers eventually pulled off the win thanks to a few unrelated shot-making plays. Harris played a strong isolation defense on Curry to force a volley, then sprinted to the ground hard and scored on the transition by flipping it into his stride. Melton caught the clutch offensive board before kicking the ball to Maxie for a three-goal three that put the Sixers ahead 131-124.

Despite allowing the Nets to shoot 64.5 percent from the floor and 53.8 percent from three-point range, the Sixers prevailed.

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