Sixers explain how they slowed down Nikola Jokic in win over Nuggets

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The Philadelphia 76ers knew that their matchup with the Denver Nuggets on Thursday would not be an easy one. Without Joel Embiid, they needed to find a way to slow down reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic in order to put an end to their 5-game losing skid.

It did not start off well as Jokic beat up on Andre Drummond and the rest of the Sixers to score 27 points on a blistering 10-for-12 shooting with three triples by halftime.

He ended up with 30 points on the night so the Denver superstar only had three points after halftime. That led to a 103-89 win and get the Sixers back on track a bit.

“We just we played together, followed the game plan,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I thought the pace of the game was perfect for us. We scored a lot. That’s part of it. Like when you score more you can get back on defense and set your defense, and I thought we did that.”

The Sixers did send more defenders towards Jokic after halftime as they were able to use rookie Charles Bassey, who was impressive all night long, and they also sent Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, and Tyrese Maxey towards him in order to bother him and make it tough on him.

“I thought in the second half, we were able to really shift our defense towards him a little bit more and be cognizant of the other guys cutting around and just be a little bit more physical with him,” said Harris. “In the first half, he was making some really tough 3s out there kind of like positions that guards are in so for centers to go out there and guard that was tough. He’s basically coming off curls and stuff like that.”

Jokic’s official second-half stat line read three points on 0-for-5 shooting with four rebounds and two assists as he was basically neutralized. A more physical Sixers defense made sure that he was not able to have the same impact after halftime and that was a key reason why Philadelphia was able to come away with the win.

“In the second half, we just kind of bodied up a little bit better and was able to get under him,” Harris added. “Present a little bit more physicality and just really pack in a little bit on the weak side. So he wasn’t able to pick us apart.”

Now, the Sixers must take this positive win and move on to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday at the Moda Center.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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