By Jerry Wein
Maybe it was the back-to-back hangover.
Or maybe it was because Seth Curry wasn’t playing because of a sore ankle.
Or maybe the Brooklyn Nets are really this good even without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie.
But the Sixers, who entered last night’s game with a 7-1 NBA-best record, played like the entire team had tested positive for COVID-19, and not just Curry.
Joe Harris scored a season-high 28 points and Nets beat the Sixers 122-109.
The 76ers shot an NBA season-high 61.7% in a 141-136 victory over Washington on Wednesday.
But they couldn’t come close to duplicating that, with Joel Embiid starting slowly before finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Shake Milton had a season-high 24 points in his first start of the season in place of Seth Curry, who had a sore left ankle, but Ben Simmons was limited to 11 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Caris LeVert had 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, and Jarrett Allen added 15 points and 11 boards for the Nets.
Irving was ruled out for personal reasons, though coach Steve Nash said before the game he hadn’t spoken to his point guard and didn’t know the reason for his absence, calling it a personal matter.
The Nets already knew they’d be without Durant for a second consecutive game because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Nash said Durant would be able to return Sunday if he continues to test negative for the coronavirus until then.
The Sixers quickly fell into a 20-8 hole, but recovered to move into the lead early in the second quarter. The Nets broke away again late in the period, going up by 16 before taking a 65-51 lead to the locker room, and were never seriously threatened afterward.