PHILADELPHIA — The Nets came out of Christmas break by dropping their first seven games. Their starters returned from an All-Star break that was twice as long and got humbled by the 76ers, looking uninterested and unprepared.
The Nets, who lost 112-104 in overtime to the Sixers on Thursday night, handed Philadelphia a 20-4 lead, not showing any signs of life until coach Kenny Atkinson first got a technical for arguing a call and then finally pulled starters Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert and Taurean Prince.
He put in veterans DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler, and their physicality inspired a comeback that fell short in overtime.
“[Jordan] and Garrett Temple and Wilson — so, veterans that know how to come out of an All-Star break and be ready to play. That’s why you have vets on your team,” Atkinson said. “The first team did not come with the requisite physicality, mental readiness all the things you talk about. We were not ready to play the game.”
Allen went scoreless in 12:40, while Joe Harris was minus-25 and Prince was minus-24. Temple was plus-27, while Jordan finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Harris won’t get a chance to play with rehabbing Kevin Durant this season, and he barely got an opportunity to play alongside injured Kyrie Irving.
But as a free agent this summer, Harris sure hopes to get a shot next year.
“Definitely! Why wouldn’t you?” Harris asked rhetorically. “Obviously those are guys who I’ve gotten close with now that I’ve been with them this past year. They’re obviously incredible players. You see what they’re able to do when they are healthy and playing. I don’t think there’s anybody in the NBA who wouldn’t want to play with those guys.”
Harris, who scored 12 points Thursday, will be a restricted free agent this summer, and due to make a raise on his team-friendly $7.6 million deal.
The sweet-shooting wing played alongside Irving in Cleveland as a rookie, but he essentially grew up in Brooklyn. He blossomed into a starter and won the 3-point title last season.
He’s hoping to re-sign with the Nets, with the lure of playing a full season alongside the likes of Irving and Durant on a contender a strong one. And if he has a disappointment from this season, it’s that both stars, along with LeVert and others, have been in and out of an injury-riddled Nets lineup.
“Yeah it’s sort of frustrating for everybody just because obviously we were without Ky’ for a majority of the season but we were without a lot of guys for a majority of the season. We never truly had a healthy roster,” Harris said. “I’d venture to guess it’s probably less than five games where everybody that was supposed to be playing this year was all fully healthy.”