UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Key takeaways from the 76ers' 133-114 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

  1. I wrote Tuesday morning that folks need to quiet the talk about the 76ers' finishing the season as a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference. My feelings haven't changed. But, boy, it's insane how much better the Sixers are when Joel Embiid plays. As the 7-foot-2, 285-pounder showed Wednesday, he is good at finding teammates and erasing their defensive mistakes while dominating games.
  2. Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are the Sixers' future at point guard, and there's a thought that they will be great at it. However, T.J. McConnell showed, once again, why he needs to get quality minutes at the position. The undrafted third-year point guard has great command of the offense and provides his trademark grit. He had 10 points and a game-high seven assists, and tied for the game high in steals with three.
  3. Nik Stauskas' struggles continued. The reserve 2-guard made just 2 of 7 shots, missing his lone three-point attempt. The fourth-year veteran is shooting just 14.3 percent (1 for 7) on three-pointers this preseason.
  4. Dario Saric can excel in a reserve role. The second-year veteran dominated while playing power forward and small-ball center as a reserve. He took advantage of several mismatches. His improved long-range shooting enabled him to make 5 of 8 three-pointers. He finished with a game-high 26 points.
  5. Simmons still needs to shoot better and get more involved in the offense when he doesn't have the ball. But he's making strides on the defensive end.  The rookie had three steals, tying for the game high, and eight rebounds, including seven on defense. He also had nine points and six assists.