6 observations from Sixers-Nets

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6 observations from Sixers-Nets

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Another game, another three-point barrage against the Sixers. Here are six observations from the Nets’ 130-94 victory over the Sixers on Monday night at the Barclays Center (see Instant Replay).

1. Back when Kevin Garnett played for the Celtics, his pregame psych-up theatrics caused a bit of a commotion. In games at the Garden, the Boston fans got fired up and cheered along with Garnett as he beat on the basket support, made a mess with the talcum powder at the scorer’s table before hopping and skipping onto the floor with fist bumps all around.

But in Brooklyn, the crowd is a little more laid-back and cool. Garnett’s theatrics aren’t broadcast on the scoreboard at the Barclays Center. In fact, Garnett got tangled up in the cord of a courtside camera when going through his regimen.

Whatever it is about Garnett’s routine, it works. In his 19th year in the NBA, Garnett knows what it takes to get himself ready and on Monday night, it worked. Garnett drilled a 19-footer on the first shot of the game. He also contributed four rebounds and three assists and was a plus-26 in 12 minutes during the first half.

2. Evan Turner hobbled off the floor and into the locker room just 90 seconds into the game with what turned out to be a contusion to the nail bed of his left big toe. Given the pounding the players’ feet take during a game, let alone an 82-game season, it’s a wonder Turner had a toe nail to protect the nail bed in the first place.

Turner didn’t stay off the floor long. Presumably, he had the toe bandaged and that was good enough.

3. Paul McCartney attended the game in Brooklyn. Any time a Beatle is in the building, it automatically becomes one of the top-two coolest places in the world.

4. Clearly the biggest issue during the Nets’ slow start to the season was the absence of point guard Deron Williams. Playing in his fourth game in a row, Williams had a knack for being in the middle of everything. Early in the first, Williams picked up an assist, stole the inbounds pass and stepped back to drill a three-pointer. On that one, Brett Brown called a quick timeout and lit into his team.

Meanwhile, Williams dished out a season-high 13 assists. Those passes led to 34 points. Conversely, the Sixers’ got five layups from their top assist man, Turner.

5. Before the game, Nets coach Jason Kidd warned his team that the Sixers would not relent from their up-tempo pace. Because the Sixers are the youngest team in the league with an average age of 23.5 and the Nets are the third-oldest with an average age of 30, the pace could have led to some uncomfortable moments.

“No matter what the score is, these guys keep coming,” Kidd said. “They play 48 minutes. [The Sixers] come at you on makes and misses, so transition defense is going to be big.”

6. When Celtics great Larry Bird scored 60 points against the Atlanta Hawks in 1985, his outside shooting was so unbelievable that players on the Hawks’ bench were high-fiving each other. There was no high-fiving on the Sixers’ bench during the third quarter on Monday night, but no worries. Joe Johnson didn’t need it for everyone to know he was shooting the lights out.

Johnson scored 29 points in the third quarter against the Sixers, which is the fifth-most points scored in one quarter in NBA history (see video). It also is the most points scored in one quarter against the Sixers. Had Johnson’s right heel not been on the three-point line on one shot late in the quarter, he would have had an even 30 points in the quarter.

Johnson made eight three-pointers in the quarter and shot 10 for 13. He also had an assist, which is pretty incredible in itself.

Who scores 29 points in a quarter and gets an assist?

Johnson did not play in the fourth quarter, but finished the game with 37 points on 13 for 20 shooting, including 10 for 14 from three-point range.

Meanwhile, the Nets made 21 three-pointers. In the last two games, the opposition is 42 for 72 from three in the last two games.

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.

Something will happen on Monday, when the team holds its annual media day and Noel almost certainly will have to discuss the issue. Stay tuned.

Bryan Colangelo: 'Never a period of discomfort' with Sixers' bigs

Bryan Colangelo: 'Never a period of discomfort' with Sixers' bigs

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers on Friday unveiled their brand new, state-of-the-art practice facility in Camden, New Jersey (see story).

Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, while speaking to media members at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, touched on a variety of topics. That included the team's surplus of big men, an issue that has been years in the making.  

One of the major questions surrounding the Sixers this offseason is how the team plans to utilize all three of its talented young big men in Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid. With Embiid finally healthy and on track to play this season, the Sixers have some tough decisions when it comes to balancing playing time as well as maximizing each player's potential.  

There have been rumors throughout the summer that Colangelo has been actively trying to shop either Noel or Okafor because of his discomfort with having three big men on the roster. His comments on Friday cleared up the situation. 

"We're excited for the season. We’re excited to have three, talented young players that can play that position," Colangelo said. "I said something this summer that was somewhat tongue and cheek that was taken so seriously and everybody hung on that one word that I would be uncomfortable going into the season or absolutely uncomfortable, it was literally overstated so many different times. It was never a period of discomfort, in fact, it's actually comfortable knowing we have that much talent there.

"The discomfort comes in trying to manage and maintain the happiness of three talented young players and that’s something that I think will work itself out."

This offseason has been one of transition for the Sixers. The days of "The Process" are long gone, and the Sixers seem poised to finally become a competitive franchise again after years of tanking.

During their summer overhaul, the Sixers brought in nine new players in hopes of forming a roster that features actual NBA-caliber players that could compete on a nightly basis. 

The team now not only features a surplus of bigs, but for the first time in a long time, a healthy balance of talent at each position. 

"The availability of those players is going to be an experiment all season long, not just with the bigs but with this entire team," Colangelo said. "We’ve got a good mix of talent and there's going to be a lot of competition at every position."

Colagelo expressed that under the former regime ran by Sam Hinkie, the Sixers lacked any sort of competitive drive and identity, something that he emphasized greatly when first put in charge. 

"We really have brought some things to this team that I think was sorely lacking," Colangelo said. "One was veteran leadership, whether it's Gerald Henderson, Jerryd Bayless or bringing Elton Brand back. Playmaking ability between Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriquez, Dario Saric coming into the mix, Ben Simmons — these are playmakers as much as they are good basketball players and scorers.

"So we’ve got a good mix of talent, but what we actually have will play itself out on the court in the coming months."