By: Kylan Watson
As the NBA regular season comes to an end today, the Philadelphia 76ers traveled to Brooklyn to face off with the Nets before a playoff series next weekend. Both teams rested their starters, and this became a matchup of who had the better backups, and the Sixers were the better athletes this afternoon. They were able to get their shots to fall and blew Brooklyn off their home-floor 134-105. With the win the Sixers now have 54 wins, the second most wins they have had in a season since the 00-01 NBA season (56-wins).
Philly started this game off fast and they jumped on the Nets from the opening tip-off. Despite the fact this was a battle of bench units the Sixers played like this was just a regular game and not a finale leading to a playoff matchup next weekend. The trio of Mac McClung (20-points, grabbed nine-rebounds, had nine-assists, and hit three/nine three-pointers tonight), Shake Milton (20-points, had eight-assists, and hit two/three three-pointers tonight), and Louis King (20-points) led them tonight they combined for 60 of the Sixers’136-points and the Nets had no one available who could stop them in this contest. All of them took full advantage of the fact they were bigger than any of the Nets defenders. They would either shoot over them or attack the basket and get their defenders in early foul trouble. McClung in particular for the second straight game took full advantage of the increase in shot opportunities and he did whatever Philly needed tonight to put this game away early for the Sixers. He had it working from the three-point line and made Brooklyn pay for leaving him wide-open from beyond the arc. When they would shut him down, he would use his play-making abilities to find the open man and that was very beneficial for the Sixers tonight. McClung has a bright future and should compete for a roster spot next season if not in Philly somewhere else. However, he has shown enough in these past two games to warrant having a real shot to make the team here in Philly instead of being stashed in Delaware.
Despite the offensive storm the Nets hung in there in this game and were able to battle back. Cam Thomas led them tonight he scored 46-points and hit six/eight three-pointers in the contest. The Sixers had no one available who could stop him tonight, Jaden Springer only played a few minutes before his ankle started to bother him, so he was pulled. That gave Thomas the room to get whatever he wanted from the field and the Sixers had nothing for him. He was making shots from all over the court, and it did not matter if the shot was contested or wide-open it found the bottom of the net. It was just that type of game for him. However, the Sixers were able to prevent anyone else from joining him in the scoring party tonight and that allowed them to win this game comfortably.
The Sixers will now prepare for a playoff matchup against the Brooklyn Nets starting next weekend. They will need to stay attach to their man to force the Nets to take tough shots and grab the rebound to limit offensive rebound opportunities. Additionally, they need to keep the ball movement going, Philly’s offense is at its best when the ball is moving, and they are able to find the open man for a high-percentage shooting opportunities. If the Sixers want to send the Nets home, they will need to do these things to win what should be a tough series between two hungry teams.