The Brooklyn Nets may not be able to match the talent of the Philadelphia 76ers on paper after trading away Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden within the span of a year.
However, with the additions of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, the Nets are now a formidable defensive team and that gives their opponents as much room for error as it does breathing room on the court.
Especially in the NBA Playoffs, a time when times play with the effort of men who are in a win or go home situation. A stretch in which coaches get to prove their worth to organizations, making adjustments, pressing the right buttons, and having the team that executes their offensive and defensive system the best.
Against the Nets in Game 2 of their First Round matchup, the Sixers made the unfortunate mistake of playing the type of undisciplined basketball that will allow a team like the Nets to upset them in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Fortunately, a veteran head coach in Doc Rivers recognized the problem for what it was, promptly pulling his team to the side to let them know they need to straighten out their act (per ESPNs Tim Bontemps).
“First play, we didn’t run it. So I thought we needed to talk about it. And, you know, give them credit. From that point on, I thought our execution was unbelievable.”
With constant doubles on Joel Embiid, the Nets were able to get the Sixers out of sorts, leading 49-44 at the half while Harden and Embiid combined for nine Philly turnovers.
The 76ers reset their mindset in the third quarter, outscoring Brooklyn 24-14 in the period. It was smooth sailing from there, as they won Game 2 by a 12-point deficit and Harden didn’t record another turnover.
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