Welcome to Run It Back! In this weekly series, we will summarize the week overall and recap each Sixers game from the previous week (Sunday to Sunday).
The Philadelphia 76ers completed the four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. After winning both games at home, the Sixers went to Brooklyn for Game 3, finding victory there, but at a cost. Joel Embiid was revealed to have sprained his right knee in the contest, an injury that held him out for Game 4. Without their dominant center, Tobias Harris led Philadelphia to a come-from-behind victory over the Nets to complete the sweep on Saturday.
Head coach Doc Rivers said on Saturday that it’s a 50-50 situation right now that Embiid will be ready for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Brooklyn Nets at Sixers (Game 1)
Result: W, 120-101
Bell Ringer: James Harden
The Sixers claimed Game 1 of the first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets 121-101 at the Wells Fargo Center on April 15.
The Sixers finished the first frame with a five-point advantage, a lead that could have been a lot bigger if Philadelphia didn’t shoot 10-for-28 from the field in the period. One positive aspect of the Sixers’ game early though, however, was their rebounding. The hosts had 16 rebounds, seven on the offensive end, headed into the second.
The biggest advantage the Sixers had going for them was the hot hand of James Harden from long range and the entire roster contributing offensively. The Sixers’ barrage from beyond the arc in the second frame helped lead them to maintain and extend their lead to nine at halftime.
After trading baskets for most of the third, the Sixers were up 12 with one period to play before pulling away in the fourth. The Nets waved the white flag with a few minutes to play, putting in the backups, and the Sixers held on to the victory.
The keys to this win were the aggressive rebounding and raining down a storm of three-pointers. The Sixers set a franchise record for most three-pointers in a playoff game with 21.
Brooklyn Nets at Sixers (Game 2)
Result: W, 96-84
Bell Ringer: Tyrese Maxey
While both teams crossed the century mark and the Philadelphia 76ers hosted an offensive exhibition in their 121-101, Game 1 victory on Saturday, Tuesday’s contest was a rock fight.
After the Brooklyn Nets controlled much of the first half, Philadelphia rode a 20-5 third quarter run that flipped the tide in their favor and won, 96-84.
The Nets continued to aggressively double the majority of Joel Embiid’s touches and the Sixers didn’t bring the same execution as Game 1 to burn them most of the night. But among Embiid’s tremendous defense, Tyrese Maxey’s 33 points and timely contributions from others, Philadelphia pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 2-0 series lead.
Sixers at Brooklyn Nets (Game 3)
Result: W, 102-97
Bell Ringer: Tyrese Maxey
One star probably should’ve been ejected. One star was ejected.
No matter, the Sixers have Tyrese Maxey.
The 22-year-old guard was huge down the stretch as the Sixers stole a wild win in Brooklyn, 102-97, to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.
This one was scrappy to say the least. Joel Embiid got an early Flagrant 1 (very easily could have been a Flagrant 2) for a kick toward the groin of Nic Claxton as he stepped over him, earning himself a technical. Later, James Harden was assessed a Flagrant 2 and ejected for what looked like incidental contact during a basketball move to the groin of Royce O’Neale. Claxton picked up his second technical and was ejected in the fourth for taunting Embiid after a dunk.
But, let’s talk actual basketball.
Maxey led the Sixers for the second consecutive game with 25 points. Harden, despite being ejected in the third, followed with 21 points. Tobias Harris had 15 points and Embiid had 14.
Mikal Bridges again led the Nets with 26 points, and he could have had a lot more if he didn’t shoot 35 percent from the floor. Spencer Dinwiddie followed with 20 points and Claxton had 18.
Big repercussions from this one, and I’m not talking Flagrants. Embiid was revealed to have sprained his right knee during the contest, an injury that would hold him out for Game 4.
Sixers at Brooklyn Nets (Game 4)
Result: W, 96-88
Bell Ringer: Tobias Harris
The Philadelphia 76ers completed the sweep of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, taking Game 4, 96-88.
The Sixers were without their leader Joel Embiid after he was scratched from the contest with a knee sprain suffered in Game 3.
Philadelphia couldn’t hit a shot to start this one, shooting 9-for-24 from the floor and missing all three triple attempts in the first frame and allowing Brooklyn to take the early advantage. Despite shooting 34 percent from the floor and putting up just 40 points in the half, the Sixers only trailed the Nets by eight at the break.
The Sixers strung together a 14-0 run in the third to take the lead for the first time since sinking the first bucket of the game. They held a three-point lead going into the final frame on the back of a 10-point third from Tyrese Maxey. The pieces started to really come together in the fourth, with Tobias Harris, De’Anthony Melton, and Paul Reed all stepping up in different ways to help the Sixers extend their lead to double-digits and hold on for the win. The Philadelphia defense held the Nets to just 40 second-half points on their way to their first playoff sweep since 1991.