The Nets' Trendon Watford, left, tries to get to the...

The Nets' Trendon Watford, left, tries to get to the basket with the 76ers' Tobias Harris, right, defending during the first half of an NBA game Sunday in Philadelphia. Credit: AP/Chris Szagola

PHILADELPHIA — The Nets carried on as if it were the last day of school before taking the floor on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center. Jokes and laughs were shared in the locker room to keep things loose.

Then those laughs were replaced with glum looks on the bench as the seconds ticked away on the season. General manager Sean Marks descended into the tunnel with less than two minutes left in the Nets’ 107-86 loss to the 76ers.

The Nets wound up with a 32-50 record, their most losses since 2018. That also was the last time they weren’t in the postseason.

Actually, the season has felt over for some time. Though the Nets made peace with it, it still was unsettling to process.

“It’s been a while since I didn’t make the playoffs,” said Dorian Finney-Smith, who had a four-year postseason streak. “So a little disappointed with that.”

Cam Thomas scored 18 points for the Nets. Tyrese Maxey had 26 points, Tobias Harris 21 and Buddy Hield 19 for the 76ers.

With only nine healthy players available Sunday, the Nets limped to the finish line. They tied for their fourth-lowest scoring total of the season exactly a week after scoring a season-low 77 points in a loss to the Kings.

Offensive improvement is a key priority this offseason. For all of their issues — poor defense, injuries, lack of star power, late-game execution — it all boils down to an inability to score.

The Nets finished the season in the NBA’s bottom three for field-goal percentage and bottom 10 in scoring, two things guaranteed to bring more losses than victories. Of the NBA’s 10 worst-scoring teams entering Sunday, only two were above .500. Both, the Heat and Magic, had top-five defenses.

It now will be a critical few months for Marks, who has more pressure than ever to turn things around. Some players won’t be back next season and interim coach Kevin Ollie likely won’t, either, even though he confirmed after the game that he has interviewed for the permanent job.

“It’s out of my control,” said Ollie, who finished 11-16 after taking over for the fired Jacque Vaughn. “I just love the opportunity to coach this team.”

Hiring a new coach is the first and biggest step. Former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer reportedly is among the finalists, but whoever takes over will inherit a team that needs better offensive schemes.

Mikal Bridges elevated his play at times. Thomas averaged 22.5 points in a breakout season. But they couldn’t raise their team’s floor the way players such as Donovan Mitchell, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and Nikola Jokic do.

The Nets were 9-13 in games decided by five or fewer points and 11-19 in games decided by seven or fewer points. They lacked not just a true closer but good decision-making in the final minutes.

Ben Simmons was supposed to fix some of those problems, but his recurring back issues limited him to 15 games and the Nets didn’t have a non-Simmons scoring plan that was effective.

That’s another challenge for the Nets’ next coach. No matter how many games Simmons plays next season, the last on his contract, how do you elevate an offense without him?

Without draft picks, do the Nets try to pull off trades to improve their roster? Can they re-sign Nic Claxton, who’s headed into free agency?

Those are all valid concerns. For now, one last rough showing on Sunday highlighted familiar flaws one more time. They now have six months to fix them.

“We got a lot of potential and we gotta unlock it,” rookie Noah Clowney said. “I don’t think nobody comes and plans on having another season like this one.”

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