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Sixers Turn Up Heat in Second Half, Rally Past Nuggets
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Things can come at you fast in these games. In the blink of an eye, the Nuggets went from in control to behind, and once they got behind, they never recovered in a 123-104 loss to the 76ers on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The first and second halves were two very different experiences.
The first half was Nuggets basketball at its finest. There was energy in the basketball and the players’ movement and cutting. There was aggressiveness to the rim and a defensive effort that created enough missed shots and turnovers to get out into the open court to mix in early offense and get easier, high percentage looks.
The Nuggets scored 59 points in the first half. They had 32 of those in the second quarter.
But in the second half, things changed.
Philadelphia was the team with pep and pop. They got their motion offense rolling, the ball moved like a hot potato, and they finished by knocking down 3-pointers and flying in for dunks.
They started the third quarter on a 20-5 run, took their first lead of the game during that period and really never looked back.
J.J. Redick scored 17 points in the second half, making 4-of-5 3-pointers. Robert Covington scored 11 points in the second half. When the dust settled, the Nuggets had been outscored 34-15 in the third quarter and 72-45 in the second half.
“The thing that stood out to me tonight was we had no discipline,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Zero discipline. In terms of who we’re guarding, personnel-wise; in terms of how we’re guarding certain actions. … Things that we cover and cover and cover, ad nauseam. So, we have to be more disciplined in our approach.”
The only solace? Minnesota also lost. The Timberwolves lost at Memphis, dropping them into a tie for the eighth spot in the West with Utah. The 40-34 Nuggets, in ninth, still have two games left against the Timberwolves.
Will Barton led the Nuggets with 25 points. He scored 20 of those in the first half, and was on fire right at the start, scoring the Nuggets first nine points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers. Four of the five Nuggets starters scored in double figures, but the bench was outscored 39-24.
This was the first of a back-to-back. The Nuggets face Toronto on Tuesday night, and then finish the two-week road trip in Oklahoma City on Friday night.
“We have to be better,” Malone said. “We’ve been under the mantra ‘one game at a time,’ which we have to. But the reality is for us to win games, we have to win every possession.”
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.