The 76ers rebounded from Thursday’s 121-105 loss to Portland by beating the Brooklyn Nets, 124-108 Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
For the second time this season against the Sixers, the Nets didn’t have Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. Durant was out due to health and safety protocols and Irving was sidelined with a right finger sprain. Those two combined to average 57 points per game.
So while that was an obvious factor in the Nets loss, here are three other reasons for the Sixers victory.
Even with Durant and Irving, the Nets are a below average defensive team and their inability to defend inside, has been a glaring weakness.
It certainly was in Saturday’s game, where the Sixers owned a 62-32 edge in points in the paint. Center DeAndre Jordan is a former two-time first-team all-NBA defensive player, but these days, he isn’t up to constantly defending a player like Joel Embiid, (Who is?).
Embiid wasn’t the only one operating well inside.
The Nets allowed the Sixers to have too many free bodies inside, as we see here with Tobias Harris, who wasn’t boxed out and had a follow-up jam.
Former Sixer Norvel Pelle, playing his first game for the Nets, will blocks shots, as he did with three against the Sixers, but he commits himself easily and fouls a lot. He fouled out in just over 17 minutes. The Nets will have to look to acquire a frontcourt defensive player before the March 25 trade deadline, because this is a deficiency that teams, including the Sixers, will continue to exploit.
The Sixers in transition
Besides being without Irving and Durant, the Nets were playing the second game of a back-to-back after Friday’s home loss to Toronto.
The Sixers were trying to run whenever they could against a tired Nets team and it worked. Not only were the Sixers scoring in transition, but they were getting back on defense and limiting easy Nets points. The Sixers ended with a 27-7 advantage in fast break points.
Ben Simmons, as he usually is, was the key to the successful transition game. As this clip shows, Simmons’ defense often ignites the offense in transition.
Simmons had three of the Sixers 12 steals.
Cleaning the glass
Not did the Nets have difficult defending the interior, but the Sixers dominated them on the boards. The Sixers owned a 51-34 rebounding edge. Simmons, Embiid and Harris combined for 33 rebounds or just one fewer than the entire Nets team. The trio’s nine combined offensive rebounds were one more than the Nets had.