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Brooklyn Nets fall short against shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers (Highlights)

Despite missing Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers were able to dominate the Brooklyn Nets on their home floor.

If the Brooklyn Nets were ready to take the next step, Thursday night would have ended with a victory. Unfortunately for Nets fans, the Sixers asserted themselves in Game 3 despite missing their best player—Joel Embiid.

Embiid was ruled out just minutes before opening tip and it appeared like the Nets had a golden opportunity. The physicality of Embiid was one of the major factors in Philly’s dominant victory over Brooklyn in Game 2.

Give Brooklyn credit because they hung in and kept fighting back. However, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick dominated the Nets on Thursday.

But without Embiid, the rest of the core stepped up. Harris, Reddick, and Simmons combined for 86 points.

On the flip side, D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert combined for 67 points. LeVert was the best player in a Nets uniform on Thursday.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson acquitted himself well in his playoff debut. However, he waited until nearly seven minutes had passed in the second half before bringing LeVert back into the game. In an up-and-down first half, LeVert was the one constant and perhaps he could have picked up where he left off in the second half.

Another glaring mismatch tonight came from the starting shooting guards. Redick was unconscious, scoring 26 points on 5-for-9 from three-point range. Conversely, Joe Harris finished with eight points on 0-for-4 from deep. That matchup was crucial through two games and Game 3 was no different.

Make no mistake, the Nets let a major opportunity slip through their fingers. It’s likely that Embiid will come back healthy in Game 4 and beyond.

This series certainly isn’t over, but the Nets are in the danger zone. It’s all hands on deck on Saturday. The Sixers have all the momentum in the world, but the Nets have a knack for surprising people.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.