Nuggets edge short-handed 76ers

 By Girald Gaston

PHOTO: Philippine Star

After a week of staying on top, Philadelphia 76ers now face an uncertain future, decimated by injuries, and virus.

Denver Nuggets asserted its mastery of Philadelphia, beating the 76ers squad that inserted seven available players only, 115-103, Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.

Nikola Jokic had another splendid outing, scoring 15 points while dishing 12 dimes, some of those was completed by Gary Harris, who added a team-high of 21 markers. 

"COVID created this but the concern is not COVID now," Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. "The concern is injuries."

The Sixers played sans four regular starters — All-Stars Ben Simmons with sore left knee and Joel Embiid with hurted back sat due to injury, while Seth Curry and Tobias Harris over coronavirus concerns. Curry tested positive for the virus Thursday, and the league's contact tracing and health and safety protocol led to set of players missing the game.

The home team met the league-mandated eight active players, which include Mike Scott, who wasn't able to play actually. Rivers  stated that he think the game shouldn't be played. But still, it was not postponed.

Philadelphia's 2020 first-round pick out of Kentucky Tyrese Maxie scorched for game-high 39 points in grueling 44 minutes of play on 18-of-33 shooting in his first career start. Isaiah Joe added 13 points.

Spearheaded by Maxie, the undermanned Sixers team kept the game close on the first half, with their eventual main man scoring on a dunk and Joe's consecutive conversion, tied at 26. Sixers were depleted, while the Nuggets were just starting to pull away.

Denver controlled the game throughout the second half, as they outscored the Philadelphia by 14 on the third frame courtesy of Harris' triples, 35-21. The vising team was efficient, tallying a 68% field-goal on 13-19 clip.

"It seems like every time we get off to a good start and build a lead, we get kind of lax in our approach and allow teams to get back in the game rather quickly," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Denver's next assignment will be the Knicks, as they will play Sunday on New York.

The Sixers will play Monday in Atlanta, the first of five games in seven set of days, with their roster not changing much. Curry will miss five more games at least, while Harris and reserves Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle and Vincent Poirier could miss at least a week because of the health protocols.


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