Sixers fans have highlighted March 10 on their calendars after the blockbuster trade that sent Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, Seth Curry and two first-round picks to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange of James Harden and Paul Millsap.
However, instead of getting their sweet revenge against Simmons, it was a forgettable night for Philadelphia. The Nets left the Wells Fargo Center with a commanding 129-100 victory under their belts, giving the hosts a hard reality check in the process.
Harden's arrival had immediately made the 76ers look like heavy candidates and his fantastic start only fueled those expectations. The Beard found chemistry with Joel Embiid fast, he posted incredible numbers, and his team recorded victories. However, that was not the case against Brooklyn.
James Harden opens up on the Sixers' terrible loss to his former team, Nets
“I just think for the entire game we didn’t have the pop that we needed to," Harden said, as quoted by Clutchpoints. "Turning the ball over too much, which gave them a lot of easy points. Not even like contested points, just easy layups, threes, and dunks. They made some tough shots early, which we expected. Offensively, the last five games, we’ve been playing well. The ball has been moving. Tonight, it just didn’t move as much as we needed it to. Combination of them making shots and the ball not moving helped them offensively."
Tobias Harris has also said that failing to move the ball proved costly for his team, while he emphasized on the defensive aspect. And at one point, the difference had become too big to turn around.
“From the start, our defense wasn’t there," Harris said. "It wasn’t there all night, actually. We had no intensity defensively, ball wasn’t moving, we didn’t do a great job of making the extra pass. That combined with missing shots just tallies up. From then on, it was tough for us to actually gain a flow and a rhythm there to cut the lead."
It was certainly a shock for the Sixers to suffer such a blowout defeat at home with the playoffs looming around. However, both Harden and Harris agree that this could be a blessing in disguise for the team.
Harden explains what the Sixers can learn from the Nets loss
“Tonight was good for us, we got our a** kicked," Harden said. "Since I’ve been here, everything has been sweet and we’ve been winning games. Tonight was good for us, we get an opportunity to come back down to reality, watch film, and continue to get better and making sure we’re hitting the right strides."
“It does affect us, but it was also a wake-up call for us that we got a lot of work to do," Harris added. "We got to get better, in a quick period of time, and we got to figure out ways to better ourselves as a group. Some nights we’ll have nights like this. It’s a tough loss, but we got to bounce back from this."
It's clear that no one would like to lose like this. However, defeats are part of the game and you can always learn from them. The Sixers may not have a lot of takeaways from this result other than coming down to Earth, realizing that they still have work to do and keep this in mind ahead of the playoffs. Now, it's time to turn the page and get back on track before the postseason arrives.