The Brooklyn Nets fell in a thrilling game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday as they lost 123-117. Most Valuable Player candidate Joel Embiid finished with 39 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 2 assists.
The Sixers’ win over the Nets was a big one as they officially took over the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
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Steve Nash Explains Why He Benched Kyrie
Kyrie Irving continues to put on a show this season as he proves night in and night out that he is one of the best guards in the NBA. He finished with 37 points, 3 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Despite his hot night, Irving did not play much of the fourth quarter. Nets head coach Steve Nash detailed why.
“I would have thought about it. But really, I did not want to take the group out that was doing so well. They put their starters back in I think I wanted to reward those guys for playing as well as they did,” Nash said of his decision to keep Irving on the bench via SNY.
After trailing by double-digits for most of the game Kyrie Irving exited near the top of the fourth quarter. Brooklyn’s reserves began to pick it up, specifically Nets forward Alize Johnson.
“Kyrie was amazing for us tonight but he also has had a few days off so I didn’t want to put him back in and risk any sort of return to play injury.”
The Nets were able to storm back and cut the lead all the way down to 2 behind 8 points and 8 rebounds from Johnson.
“So overall I’m just proud of the way the guys played and happy that we kept them out there and kept everyone healthy throughout the game.”
Alize Johnson Continues to Impress
Johnson finished the game as the Nets leader in plus-minus as he was a +16 in just 12 minutes. After the loss, he talked about his contagious level of intensity that he brings while on the court.
“You know I got a huge family back at home and every time I go out there, I play for them I’m playing for my city,” Johnson said via SNY.
“And now the Brooklyn Nets organization and they took a chance on me and I love when people believe in me, so I go out there and go my hardest for them.”
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Nets Were Depleted Against Sixers
Even in a losing effort, the Nets continued to be impressive. Their injury report for Wednesday’s game was longer than a 10-year old’s Christmas list.
Kevin Durant was out due to injury management.
James Harden is still out with a strained hamstring.
Chris Chiozza broke his hand against the Timberwolves.
Spencer Dinwiddie is still out with a torn ACL.
And LaMarcus Aldridge is out with a non-COVID-19 related illness.
And Still, Brooklyn nearly prevailed. The Nets no longer have the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, but they still have a chance to regain the crown. Their road back to the top starts on Friday when they take on the Charlotte Hornets.