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  • Writer's pictureErik Slater

Defensive woes and turnovers plague Nets in blowout loss to 76ers

The Brooklyn Nets still have a long way to go in their rebuild. That was apparent in an embarrassing 120-97 pummeling at the hands of the 76ers Sunday night in Brooklyn.

Sunday night's loss was a culmination of the Nets problems as a team this season. The defense was horrendous, they were sloppy with the basketball, and the offense was stagnant.

Kenny Atkinson acknowledged a lack of physicality on his team's part, “I think we can do better from a grit standpoint, and a physicality standpoint. I thought we were on our heels and they just bulled us over," Atkinson said.

The Sixers came out red-hot in the first quarter, burying 19 of their first 23 shots. The Nets' defense was lackadaisical all game as they lost their men on screens and cuts to the basket nearly every possession.

Brooklyn trailed by as many as 19 in the first half. The Nets fought back to cut the lead to six in the third, but thats as close they would get.

Philadelphia had eight players in double figures. Joel Embiid led the way with 21 points and eight rebounds. Robert Covington poured in 19 and Dario Saric added 18.

The offense was not much better for Brooklyn. The Nets turned the ball over a staggering 18 times. Four of which came in the backcourt when bringing the ball up or inbounding.

D'Angelo Russell was the lone bright spot for Brooklyn offensively. Russell scored 26 points on 9-17 shooting from the field.

Philadelphia opted to use their length by switching on both on-ball and off-ball screens. The Nets struggled to get to the basket as a result and reverted to isolation basketball.

“What it causes is the ball starts sticking. We just get into one on one basketball a little too much and thats the hard thing about switching. We’ve talked about it before, you think you have a mismatch and you say I gotta go one on one,” Atkinson said regarding the Nets' mentality on switches.

Inconsistency has been a problem for the Nets offensively. Brooklyn's guards often struggle to find a rhythm against switching teams due to a lack of ball movement.

Allen Crabbe scored three points on just four shot attempts against Philadelphia. This coming off a 29-point performance Thursday night in Charlotte in which he was 6-6 from three in the first half.

Atkinson stressed a need to find a balance between moving the ball and isolating against switches, “Somehow we gotta find that balance when they do switch that we can keep moving it sometimes too and attack that way," said the Brooklyn head coach.

The loss drops Brooklyn to 21-46 on the season. The Nets have lost 17 of their last 20.

Brooklyn will remain at home for a meeting with the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night. The matchup will be a tough test for Kenny Atkinson's squad as the Raptors have won nine straight and 15 of their last 16.

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