By Liz Bentley
For the Sixers, the hits just keep on comin’.
J.J. Redick scored 19 points and Ben Simmons had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead their 1th straight victory, 121-95 over the Brooklyn Nets.
That kept the 76ers in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with five games remaining.
“We don’t hide from our goal,” coach Brett Brown said. “We want home court.”
If the playoffs started today, the 76ers would host a first-round series. They remained a half-game behind third-place Cleveland and in front of fifth-place Indiana, which began was a half-game behind Philly. The 76ers have five games remaining, including Friday’s home contest against the Cavaliers.
Redick said that goal helped Philadelphia easily dispatch the Nets, who merely are playing out the string.
“It’s tough when you’re not playing for anything,” Redick said. “We have to take advantage of teams that aren’t playing for anything. We really imposed our will defensively and the force we played with offensively.”
The veteran guard even got some welcomed rest.
Neither Simmons nor Redick played in the fourth quarter for Philadelphia, which won its third consecutive contest without All-Star center Joel Embiid. Embiid had surgery on Saturday after suffering an orbital fracture in his left eye in Wednesday’s 118-101 win over the Knicks. Embiid will be out for the remainder of the regular season and is slated to return for the playoffs, although his exact return date is not known.
Marco Belinelli added 17 points for the 76ers (47-30), who also didn’t have starter Dario Saric (cellulitis right elbow).
Spencer Dinwiddie had 16 points for the Nets (25-53).
Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson was displeased with the effort.
“From a physical and mental standpoint, we weren’t focused and ready to play,” he said. “It was evident. We were not engaged physically or mentally and that’s what happens. It was a layupathon.”
The 76ers were up 61-49 at the half and took control in the third quarter. Philly scored 11 of the first 12 points of the period, capped by Redick’s fast-break layup with 8:36 left that made it 72-50. They went on to outscore the Nets 32-22 in the period to take a 93-71 advantage into the fourth.