No Jimmy Butler. No Mike Muscala. JJ Redick ice cold. The Nets' guards continuing to kill them.
It just didn't look like the Sixers' night Wednesday from the beginning in a 127-124 loss to Brooklyn at the Wells Fargo Center.
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The loss was just the Sixers' second defeat at home this season and drops them to 19-10 overall.
Here are observations from the loss:
• Joel Embiid looked more like the player we've grown accustomed to seeing. There was definitely an effort to get him the ball early and often. He was 10 of 15 for 23 points in the first half.
He was a force on both ends, posting 33 points, 17 rebounds and six assists.
The footwork here is gorgeous.
The issue was when Embiid wasn't on the court. He was a plus-7 while backup center Amir Johnson was a minus-10.
• Ben Simmons continues to be aggressive early and looking to score. He took nine shots in the first half. He shot just 4 of 9 but was getting into the paint at will. He wasn't quite as aggressive in the second half when the Sixers could've used it.
The two-man game between Embiid and Simmons showed flashes to get the Sixers a brief lead. It's not something the Sixers do a ton of, but with Butler out of the lineup and Redick struggling (5 of 15), it was an effective way to get both players going.
Simmons was also on the receiving end of this insane alley-oop from T.J. McConnell.
From courtside, it looked like Simmons was going to touch the ceiling.
He finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
• Have to give credit where it's due: Furkan Korkmaz played a solid game Wednesday night. In his first NBA start, Korkmaz provided his typical shooting from his first touch.
And in his first career start, Furkan Korkmaz getting to work early.
He nails a triple from beyond the arc and the Sixers are up a pair. pic.twitter.com/dQBw9lCz4W— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 13, 2018
What was more impressive was the pair of runners he hit off of overaggressive closeouts and his engagement on the defensive end. Defense has always been the question for Korkmaz and tonight he answered the bell, showing off some of his athleticism and instincts.
Both of those attributes were on display on this pick-and-roll by Brooklyn.
He also showed a little chemistry with Embiid on a couple offensive possessions.
Is he turning into a legitimate bench option? It's still too early to tell, but the Sixers needed him tonight and he played well, matching the career high he set Monday night with 18 points.
• The Sixers' pick-and-roll defense continues to be an issue - as do guards D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie. The duo combined for 51 points on 16 of 28 from the field after killing the Sixers in the previous two matchups in Brooklyn this season.
Dinwiddie was really cooking in the third quarter, at one point hitting five straight shots on his way to a career-high 39-point night. He's a guard that can create his own shot and score in bunches. He'll also be a free agent at season's end.
The Nets have yet to talk an extension with Dinwiddie, according to reports. If Brooklyn decides to get value for him while it can at the deadline, Elton Brand should place a call.
• Shake Milton got his first meaningful action in the first half with the Sixers being down so many men. The rookie out of SMU had a tough go and didn't get back into the game until the outcome was decided late in the fourth quarter.
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