Skip to main content

The Sixers were in complete control on Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets. After starting the game off with a 34-28 lead, Philly looked quite sharp. By the time they reached the half, the 76ers had a 62-55 lead over Brooklyn and never lost the lead once throughout the first two quarters.

Although they were outscored in the third quarter, the Sixers still maintained their lead heading into the final quarter of the night. Then the mistakes started piling up. At the end of three quarters, the Sixers were shooting 54-percent from the field and 50-percent from three.

In the fourth quarter, they drained just 26-percent of their shots from the field and hit on only 16-percent of their threes. With five minutes left in the game, the Sixers erupted the home crowd as Matisse Thybulle threw down an alley-oop dunk after catching a lob from Tobias Harris to take a 108-98 lead. 

As it turned out, that was the last time the Sixers drained a shot from the field for the remainder of the game. For the final five minutes of a game where the Sixers had the lead throughout, the Brooklyn Nets went on a run, surpassed the Sixers, and never looked back. 

Read More

"We got to do better when it comes to execution," said Sixers center Joel Embiid on Friday. "You know, Danny (Green) had two airballs. I mean, that's good shots, especially for him. Then I missed the layup, and then Tobias (Harris) missed a floater. We could have moved the ball a little better in the last three or four minutes. We had a first good 44 minutes of the game where we were all playing with each other. I thought the fourth quarter, the ball kind of stuck a little bit. I wasn't as aggressive as I would have liked, but I mean, it's the second game of the season against Brooklyn. That's a good team, and they're considered the favorite to win it all, so I thought the guys did a great job. Obviously, we can always get better, and we will."

Friday's collapse was nothing new for the Sixers. During last year's playoff run, there were several games where the Sixers controlled the game but failed to close it out with a win due to a lack of consistent scoring in crunch time. In addition, Tobias Harris believes Philly's defensive struggles played a part in the late-game collapse as well.

"Honestly, part of that was the fact we weren't getting enough stops on the other end. So, we were slowing our pace down, and they kind of got a little redundant of what we were doing, and they were able to load up a lot," Harris explained. "I thought we did a couple of plays, missed the next pass, and that's something we can learn from and grow from, but overall, we know how good we are at getting the ball, creating turnovers, and getting out in transition on a team like we were all game. We just didn't make shots, and we had good looks, and it didn't fall for us. Everybody had some really good looks there that normally fall, but it didn't fall. We got good looks that we wanted a couple of times, so if those looks fall, I think it's a different outcome, different game. Overall, when we are missing those shots, we've got to figure out a way defensively to be able to stop them and not send them to the free-throw line as well."

After starting the 2021-2022 season off with a dominant victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, the Sixers caught a reality check on Friday night against the Nets. While they played well throughout the first three-quarters of the matchup, their fourth-quarter struggles led them to a disappointing 114-109 loss. With that defeat, the Sixers move to 1-1 on the year before they hit the road once again.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.