Sixers cut down the Nets

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Philadelphia 106, Brooklyn 101 – Box Score

As the NBA season winds down and positioning toward the bottom of the NBA standings assumes more meaning with each passing game, Tuesday night’s game in Brooklyn loomed as an interesting inflection point for the Sixers. Sandwiched in between the Knicks and Magic at the 5th worst record in the league entering play, the result against the last place Nets could have major lottery implications with just weeks remaining in the regular season.

While the Nets sit comfortably with the worst record in the league, Brooklyn had actually won 3 of 4 and 5 of 9 coming into Tuesday night. Philadelphia was on its final game of a 5-game road trip. The Sixers were also only playing with 9 players, one of those being Tiago Splitter, who was only able to take the court for a few minutes in his first game since January 2016. If ever there was a chance to drop a game to the Nets, this was the situation.

But you know who was determined to make sure that didn’t happen? Joel Embiid’s Rookie of the Year pick and Tuesday night’s MVP, Dario Saric.

Saric bounced back from his first poor performance in quite some time against Indiana with a team-high 23 points and 7 rebounds. With the Sixers shorthanded, the Homie showed off his versatility, playing everything from point guard to center. Anytime Dario found himself matched up against a smaller Brooklyn defender, he took him down into the torture chamber.

https://twitter.com/sixers/status/846882637549592576

As usual, the other star for the road team was Robert Covington, who finished with 21 points, tied a career-high with 13 rebounds, and recorded 2 steals and 2 blocks. Covington’s putback off a TJ McConnell airball within the final 2 minutes proved to be the game-winning bucket. Not only has Rock ramped up his scoring in the second half of the season (16.0 ppg post-All Star break), but his ability to make game-changing plays on the defensive end is virtually unparalleled across the league.

Those two players were enough for the Sixers to overcome Brook Lopez, who scored a game-high 26 points, adding 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Lopez showed off his new range, knocked down a trio of threes, and got Richaun Holmes in early, first half foul trouble. The Sixers turned to Tiago Splitter for 7 minutes, but he looked visibly gassed at times after his long injury layoff; the former Spur and Hawk recorded 2 points, 3 rebounds, and a block.

The win moved the Sixers back into a tie with the Knicks and 1 game up on Orlando. Fortunately, the Timberwolves won in the final seconds on the road against Indiana to move ahead of Sacramento. We’ll continue to sort out the standings when the Sixers get right back at it Wednesday night at home against Atlanta.

Other Game Notes:

  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot continued to grow his game, hitting a career-high 4 threes on 10 attempts for 17 points and 9 rebounds. The rookie has been an additional bright spot down the stretch of the season, showing off his 3-and-D potential down the road.
  • Justin Anderson doesn’t always do the right things in a basketball sense, but man, he sure makes for some exciting plays. He blocked Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the first half buzzer…

and finished a reverse dunk off of an alley-oop feed from TJ McConnell.

It only comes in flashes, but there are certainly times when Simba is King of the hardwood jungle.


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