Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor impressive in loss
Noel had 15 points, 11 rebounds and Okafor added 14 points, five boards against Nets.
IT'S HARD NOT to improve on a game that the coach described as garbage, and the 76ers did just that Sunday in Brooklyn, despite a 92-91 loss to the Nets.
Brett Brown's characterization of Friday's loss to Washington was a distant memory as his club battled hard Sunday, aided by the return of Jahlil Okafor, who missed the two previous games with knee soreness, and an active second half from Nerlens Noel.
"Jahlil looked good," Brown said of his rookie, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds in 20 restricted minutes. "It was good to see him come. We are behind the eight ball a bit with all the injuries that we are going through. But to see him on the court with Nerlens and those two learning more about each other on the floor is a really good sight."
Noel had an impressive line of 15 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, five assists and a pair of blocks in 35 minutes. Robert Covington and Scottie Wilbekin each scored 11 points, and Hollis Thompson added 10.
"Nerlens was average in the first half but looked really good in the second," Brown said. "The stats flattered his performance a bit, but he did have a lot of energy in the second half and being on the court with Jahlil allows him to do some really good things."
The Sixers are now 2-4 in the preseason and close it out Friday in New Hampshire when they face the Boston Celtics. The season opener is the following Wednesday in Boston.
Christian Wood (hamstring), Isaiah Canaan (rest) and Jerami Grant (knee contusion) were held out again Sunday. Brown did say Nik Stauskas (tibia stress reaction) is close to returning.