On Saturday afternoon, the Philadelphia 76ers looked like they were about to drop Game 4 of their first round series with the Brooklyn Nets and head home in a 2-2 tie. The Nets, led by Caris LeVert and Caris LeVert’s ability to execute the pick-and-roll really well and get Jarrett Allen easy points at the bucket, led for most of the second half. With Jimmy Butler sidelined for most of that second half via an ejection, it looked like the Sixers just wouldn’t be able to get over the hump and get the win.
And then, in the fourth quarter, they did.
Philly won the fourth, 27-17, as the Nets just fell apart. D’Angelo Russell went a little too hero ball and turned it over on an inbounds play just before Mike Scott hit the game-winning 3 on the other end. The Nets then had a bad offensive possession in which Jarrett Allen wound up in the post, surrounded by three Sixers defenders and unable to find a passing lane to get the ball to an open Joe Harris (who had another poor night shooting from deep, going 0-for-6 from distance). That was the final straw as the Sixers hit a pair of free throws and emerged with the 112-108 lead. We head back to Philadelphia now, with the Sixers looking to end this series on Tuesday night.
[This is where a paragraph about Jared Dudley shoving people and Dudley and Jimmy Butler getting ejected would go if I could figure out how to write that paragraph. Y’all can just write your own version of this paragraph in the comments section using the kinds of language and tone that can’t be used in the article itself.]
On paper, you think well, trading off Dudley and Butler is a big win for the Nets, but the ejection sparked some energy from both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and it also got one of Brooklyn’s only real ways of slowing Ben down out of the game. Losing Butler wasn’t great for the Sixers, but part of how this team is built is that they have other star players who are capable of making up for something like this, while the Nets ended up having to go very small to end the game, with Joe Harris manning the four to close things out.
Joel Embiid was doubtful for this game, but a crazy little thing called “magic” exists, and not only did Embiid play, but he played like he wasn’t suffering at all from any kind of knee issue, going 32 minutes and putting up a wild 31-point, 16-rebound stat line, while adding seven assists and six blocked shots. SIX BLOCKS. And while Saturday did give us a chance to see that the backup five spot isn’t pretty, with all three of Boban Marjanovic, Jonah Bolden, and Greg Monroe getting some lackluster run, it also was a reminder that a healthy Embiid means you don’t need to worry too much about those backup five minutes.
Ben had a 15-point, 8-rebound, 8-assist night. Mike Scott is a Sixers legend for all of eternity. It’s a 3-1 lead heading into Game 5. Let’s look at some cool plays.
Cool Plays of the Game
Here was a cool play!
Here was another cool play!
How about another one???
Here’s a cool and surprising play, which was JJ Redick hitting a clutch 3 in the playoffs!
Oh, and here was the coolest play of all, which was that Mike Scott 3 that I talked about earlier. That 3 was a very, very important shot and definitely fits the criteria for being called a “cool play.”
Anyway, Game 5 on Tuesday. Can the Sixers close it out? Will Jared Dudley break the record for “loudest a crowd has ever booed one human being,” a record that right now is probably held by Bryce Harper from when the Phillies played the Nationals in Washington? (Is this even true? I don’t watch baseball so I’m just assuming it is true.) Watch the game and find out!