Harris steps up as star-less Nets outlast league-leading Sixers

 By Girald Gaston

PHOTO: SPIN PH/AP

Joe Harris heated up to tally his season-high, and the Brooklyn Nets, sans Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, nipped the NBA-leading Philadelphia 76ers, 122-109, Thursday night at Barclays Center, Brooklyn.

Harris was on fire as he scored 28 points, two-point shy of his career-high, enough to punch Nets' fifth victory in nine matches. Caris Lavert manned the point guard position as he flirted with a trip-dub with 22 points, 10 dimes and 7 rebounds, while Jarrett Allen added 15 points and 11 points.

Without two superstars donning their uniform — blue uniforms, a throwback to 30 years ago in New Jersey — the Nets had a great start and a double-digit edge for the majority of the second half en route to winning their second straight, both without Durant.

Durant missed his second consecutive game because of the NBA's health and safety protocols. Nets coach Steve Nash stated that KD would be available on Sunday if he continues to test negative for the coronavirus until then. Irving, meanwhile, was ruled out on Thursday afternoon due to

Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, missed the chance to wear, ironically, the Nets' old jersey design that were used on 1990-1991 season. Nets changed its color scheme to black and white since moving to Brooklyn on 2012.

The home team quickly went on a 20-8 blast at the start of the game, but the Sixers managed to cut the deficit and took the lead early in the second frame. Brooklyn broke away again late in the period, leading by 16 before taking a 65-51 edge heading to the halftime break, and were never seriously threatened afterward.

Before the game, 76ers had a 7-1 slate and coming off their best showing of the season, when they shot an NBA season-high 61.7% in a 141-136 W over Washington on Wednesday.

The visiting team couldn't duplicate what they did, with Joel Embiid starting roughly before finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Surprise starter Shake Milton had a season-high 24 points in replacing Seth Curry, who had a sore left ankle, but Ben Simmons was limited to 11 markers, four rebounds and two assists.

The Nets will play their second back-to-back set of the season on Friday as they visit Memphis Grizzlies, while the 76ers will go back to their home to host the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.


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