On Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers trounced Brooklyn 127-108 despite the Nets finally having all three of its key players on the court at once. Tyrese Maxey led the way with 20 points, Julian Champagnie added 15, and Furkan Korkmaz added 15.
For the Nets, Kevin Durant scored 13 points, Kyrie Irving scored nine points and dished out four assists, and Ben Simmons, who was acquired from Philadelphia last season, contributed six points and five assists in his first game for Brooklyn.
For the Nets, Royce O’Neale, who was acquired from Utah in an offseason trade, finished with 11 points. Nic Claxton scored 12 points, making all six of his field goal attempts.
In the key contest on Monday, two of the strongest teams in the Eastern Conference with superstars on both teams squared off. There are concerns regarding Simmons, who was moved to the Nets last season in exchange for James Harden, and if combining him with Durant, Irving, and other pieces will be sufficient for the Nets to improve upon their dismal 44-38 record from the previous campaign.
The Sixers’ position as a top contender in the East should be cemented by having Harden play with MVP runner-up Joel Embiid for the duration of the entire season.
The complete understanding of those links, however, must be delayed.
The Sixers only used a portion of their regular rotation for the first game of the preseason. Embiid, Harden, and rookies P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. skipped the night’s play.
Due to the absences, Maxey picked up the offensive slack, and the Sixers were able to jump out to a quick lead in the first quarter thanks to an 8-for-14 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.
Philadelphia maintained its lead at halftime thanks to Maxey’s 20 points. The Nets’ night was over after Durant, Irving, and Simmons combined to play 19 minutes.
It had become a tight game by the middle of the third quarter when both teams had switched to their reserves, but the Sixers eventually pulled away, outscoring the Nets 36-24.
While Durant, Irving, and Simmons were the main focus for the Nets, Brooklyn also witnessed Joe Harris’s comeback after he had a left ankle injury that ultimately required surgery in March. Harris finished with six points on 2 of 7 made 3-pointers.
The wild euphoria sparked by Harden’s debut and the false beards fans sported when the Sixers got him subsided in the postseason. Harden lost Game 6 against Miami, ending his season, with four turnovers, four baskets, and no points in the second half. In Miami’s rout, he only managed 14 points in Game 5. In-depth discussions with Rivers and Embiid this summer, according to Harden, helped him fix a number of obstacles that prevented him from reaching his full potential in Philadelphia.
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