The Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up the first half of their back to back this week on Wednesday night with a tight victory over the Washington Wizards. After the win, the Sixers caught a quick flight to Brooklyn, New York, for a Thursday night primetime showdown with the Brooklyn Nets.
Heading into Thursday's game, the Sixers knew they weren't going to face Kevin Durant as a member of the Nets for the first time. As Durant remains in quarantine after coming in contact with COVID-19, the veteran forward was ruled out earlier in the week. Then, hours before tip-off, Brooklyn's other star Kyrie Irving was also ruled out for personal reasons.
Brooklyn wasn't the only team that played short-handed on Thursday, though. Sixers starting guard Seth Curry missed the matchup as he's dealing with a sore ankle, which he suffered Wednesday night late in the game against the Washington Wizards. In addition to Curry, Philly also didn't have Mike Scott, Furkan Korkmaz, or Terrance Ferguson available.
Despite missing Curry, who has been playing some of the best basketball of his career lately, the Sixers still had their key players such as Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris on the floor. But after a hard-fought game against the Wizards, the Sixers looked like they used most of their energy on Wednesday night.
After a slow start, the Sixers had to make a quick comeback in the first quarter before the score got out of hand early. Unfortunately for them, they failed to keep it close before heading into the half. As Philly drained less than 40-percent of their shots from the field and shot just 21-percent from three, the 76ers fell behind in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing by double-digits.
The beginning of the second-half didn't necessarily inspire any hope for a Sixers comeback. As the team's key players continued to look sluggish on both sides, Philly remained caught in a double-digit deficit.
As time winded down in the third, Doc Rivers began utilizing more bench players as he implemented a lineup of the rookies Tyrese Maxey and Isaiah Joe, along with two-way player Dakota Mathias, veteran Matisse Thybulle, and center Dwight Howard.
Surprisingly, the Sixers gained some life with the unusual personnel as they cut into Brooklyn's lead and made it a ten-point game heading into the final quarter of the night. But Philly's small run in the third didn't scare the Nets, and the hits kept on coming for the 76ers as Howard fouled out early in the fourth quarter.
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers didn't give up in the fourth quarter, as he threw his starters back out on the floor as a last-hope attempt to climb back and make it a game. However, the 76ers couldn't get it done.
Philly ended the night with 20 total turnovers. While the veteran guard Shake Milton looked good in the Sixers' starting lineup as he scored a team-high of 24 points, and the rookie Tyrese Maxey collected a career-high of 16 points off the bench, the 76ers don't have much else to celebrate as they failed to take advantage of an undermanned Brooklyn Nets team. On Thursday, the Sixers picked up just their second loss of the season after falling to Brooklyn 122-109. They now move to 7-2 on the year and will re-group on Saturday afternoon for a matchup at home against the Denver Nuggets.