In the Philadelphia 76ers 117-106 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, they played exactly how many envisioned when the team was put together in the offseason.

That vision includes playing lockdown defense when it counts the most and hitting some timely shots down the stretch. In other words, tire the opponent out by playing bully ball and close out the game on offense by using a “closer.”

Without Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris took control of the offense late to seal the win.

The Closer

It was a back-and-forth battle throughout the entire game.

Besides the last minute of the game when the Sixers pulled away, the biggest lead of the game was only a seven-point lead held by Brooklyn in both the second and third quarters.

It was time to someone to close the game and Harris was willing to shoulder the load without Embiid. He scored 11 of his 34 points in the fourth including making a floater to give the Sixers a nine-point lead with only 50.6 seconds left.

Despite only being a game in January it felt important for the Sixers to pull this one out.

“Yeah it felt great,” Harris said. “I think all of us, we want to go out each and every night and we want to win every game we can. So when we do fall short of wins, it’s disappointing for us. So just to get out there and get tonight’s win and to feel good and to play good as a team, and just to feed off one another was big for us.”

Timely Defense

Through the first three quarters of the game the Sixers defense allowed the Nets to score 90 points despite Kyrie Irving struggling the entire game.

Irving finished with 14 points on 21 shots and was a minus 29 in 37 minutes.

The Sixers spotty defensive effort changed into lockdown defense once the fourth quarter started. They allowed only 18 points in the final quarter and held the Nets to 6 of 23 shooting during that span.

“When we got together in the huddle before the fourth quarter, we said that we were going to have to hold them to under 20 points to win the game,” Harris said following the win.

Unlike in some of their previous losses to the Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers, their team defense got better as the game went on. In their last two losses they allowed only 81 points combined in the first half. The second half of those games were downright awful.

They allowed 129 points in both games combined in the second half.

Perhaps the great defense they played in the fourth quarter gave them a boost on the offensive side.

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