D’Angelo Russell’s effort not enough to stop Sixers from rolling

By Dan Knerr, Sports Talk Philly staff

The Sixers (36-29) topped the Nets (21-46) by a final count of 120-97 on Sunday evening.  The Sixers came out the gates firing on all cylinders, led by a solid showing from Joel Embiid, shutting down any talk of him being fatigued as a result of his heavy workload this season.

The Nets had no answer for the Sixer's from the opening tip, with four of the five Sixers' starters reaching double figures by the half.

Despite D'Angelo Russell's best efforts, scoring 26 points with four rebounds and four assists, the Sixers could not be stopped. 

After a layup from Spencer Dinwiddie, the Sixers scored ten straight to set the tone for the rest of the game.  Embiid got off to a hot shooting start, hitting a jumper and three in a three-of-three start from the field.

He also had an absolutely emphatic rejection of Demarre Carroll.

There was talk coming into game that Embiid's recent struggles shooting from the field was attributed to compiling fatigue from the season.  His hot start and continued dominance throughout the night certainly suggested otherwise. 

He and Ben Simmons had their hands all over the first quarter, combining for 14 points, five rebounds, 3 assists, and one disrespectful block.

J.J. Redick hit a three fading to his right over double coverage just before time expired in the first.  This gave the Sixers a twelve point lead and capped a quarter where the team shot 80% from the field.

In the second quarter, the Sixers kept up the pace and held their advantage.  RoCo led the way with a couple of threes and a few trips to the line.  He had an impressive bounce-back game after struggling mightily against Miami, going 0-10 from the field.  Tonight he dropped 19 points and added a steal and two blocks to round out a solid effort.

Jahlil Okafor actually got a few minutes in both the second and fourth quarters.  In the second period, he contributed with two buckets down the stretch that helped the Nets trim their deficit to 70-60 at the half.

D'Angelo Russell came out in the third period red hot.  He hit a couple of jumpers to make it a six point game, which was quickly erased by a pair of buckets from Simmons and Embiid.  Russell refused to step down, and got a couple more buckets to cut the lead to six yet again.

Russell was absolutely on fire all night, and was the only reason the game was even remotely close for as long as it was.  His jumper was silky, and his shot was falling from all over the court. 

This was as close as the Nets could get it, and the Sixers were able to steadily pull away from this point forward.  The Nets threw in the towel and unloaded the bench down 109-85 with six minutes remaining in the fourth. 

Embiid finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block.  He sat out the majority of the fourth quarter, which makes this all-around performance especially impressive.

Apart from Russell, Dinwiddie had a solid game, scoring 13 points and adding six assists.  These two were bright spots for a Nets team that put out an otherwise lackluster performance.

Saric had 18 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and steal.  Simmons finished with 11 points, six boards, and six assists.

Belinelli reached double figures yet again, finishing with 13 points.  He was hitting jumpers on move and making it look easy.  He has continued to supercharge the bench for the Sixers since his arrival in Philly.

A total of eight Sixers reached double figures, it was an impressive effort from top to bottom of the roster. 

The Sixers now turn their attention to their next match-up on Tuesday where they will host the Pacers.  This will be an important game for playoff seeding, as the Pacers hold the four seed.  The Sixers, the six seed, did not gain ground on the Pacers tonight since they got a win over the Celtics this evening.  A Sixers win on Tuesday would put them a game back of the Pacers in the East.



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