Embiid leads offensive explosion as 76ers tie series with Nets


Final: 04/15/2019

L 123 145

The Nets made 10 threes in the first half, then made none in the third quarter. 

D’Angelo Russell scored a team-high 16 points in the first half, then didn’t get on the board in the third quarter. 

The Sixers were up one at halftime, then went up 20 after four minutes of play in the third quarter. 

What went right for the Nets in the first half came to a screeching halt as Joel Embiid and the Sixers devoured the Nets in the third quarter — and that might be putting it lightly. Everything was falling for the Sixers as they had their way both outside and in the paint, shooting 75 percent and outscoring the Nets 51-23 in the third in a statement-maker. 

A gameplan change to keep Embiid focused on the paint was at the core of a successful night with nearly everything clicking for the 76ers. Embiid strayed from the three-point shot, rather drawing attention in the paint and executing effectively on his 23-point, 10-rebound performance. His teammates fell in line behind him and succeeded in transition, with six total players in double-digits and Ben Simmons notching a triple-double in 30 minutes. 

While Philly’s strength was its success inside, sporting a 62-48 advantage in points in the paint, the Nets remained competitive in the first half by draining threes. Spencer Dinwiddie was a spark, along with Russell, who both finished with three three-pointers apiece. 

It was an edge Brooklyn had over Philly, who had just two threes at halftime, that provided some hope as the Nets bounced back from a 13-point first-half deficit. Russell and Dinwiddie willed their team to the success the Nets found in the first half, as they often have this season. 

Caris LeVert’s aggression was also a difference-maker in the first half, scoring 10 points in 12 minutes in the second quarter. But no matter how effective Brooklyn’s guards were, Philly’s size continued to be a problem. Boban Marjanovic was unstoppable in the first half, going on a personal 8-0 run with both mid-range and paint presence and finishing with 16 points and eight boards off the bench. 

Even with Philly finding success through Boban, the Nets continued to be effective offensively. But a 21-2 run by Philly to start the second half saw Brooklyn go cold. It was a rare sight for this Nets team — allowing a team to go on a dominating run, and not bouncing back or making a run of its own in response. 

This game was also rooted in a physical battle, one that saw Embiid throw an elbow at Jarrett Allen’s face and Rodions Kurucs elbowing Simmons. Both received Flagrant 1s, though some argue Embiid deserved a Flagrant 2. 

The Nets missed Jared Dudley in this one, who was out with a calf injury and could have contributed defensively along with a level-headed approach. He found success defensively against Marjanovic and Embiid in Game 1, a threat the Nets found no answer to in Game 2 while being out-rebounded 49-32. 

After going down by 31 early in the fourth quarter, both teams emptied their benches. The Nets’ strong shooting in the first half meant nothing without getting stops, and Philly’s surge went into overdrive in the third quarter. The 76ers were relentless, shot 55.7 percent from the field and made their statement to tie the series. 

Overall, the Nets accomplished what they needed through the first two games of this series — win one on the road. Now it is up to the team to figure out an answer to Philly firing on all cylinders, and it starts — as expected — with Embiid. 

The Nets head home with a 51-point third-quarter shellacking on its mind, but also have opportunity on their hands in Games 3 and 4. Brooklyn’s season has largely been defined by bouncing back, and Thursday will be its biggest test yet. 

Spencer Dinwiddie


The stats: 19 PTS, 8-16 FG, 3-7 3PT, 0-1 FT, 1 REB, 3 AST, 2 TO, 23 MIN

After contributing well in Game 1, Dinwiddie was part of a strong first-half offensive showing and was the reason Brooklyn somewhat countered Philly’s third-quarter surge. After the Sixers went up 20, Dinwiddie helped lead his unit to cut the lead to 15 — for however short a time. 

Ultimately, Dinwiddie was at the root of the signs of life Brooklyn showed. He connected with Jarrett and provided a three-point presence the Nets needed to stick in the game early.

The bleeding perhaps could have been eased a bit earlier in the third quarter if Dinwiddie was subbed in sooner, but that was not the case. 

D'Angelo Russell


The stats: 16 PTS, 6-16 FG, 3-7 3PT, 1-1 FT, 2 REB, 2 AST, 4 TO, 25 MIN

D’Angelo’s 16 first-half points were exciting. He was the thrill of the Nets’ offense, draining threes and pouring on the points quickly. 

Then the second half hit, and DLo did not score another point. 

Ben Simmons won this matchup for Game 2. Simmons looked confident from the start and got the better of DLo in terms of physicality and playmaking.

D’Angelo’s best quarter of Game 1 was the third, but this time was nowhere to be found. The Nets can’t afford for DLo to go cold and get sloppy, especially with his teammates struggling to keep up in the paint. 

Jarrett Allen


The stats: 9 PTS, 3-4 FG, 3-4 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 23 MIN

Jarrett gets one of the highest grades just for this hit he took from Embiid. 

He bounced back and celebrated that drawn foul right away with his teammates. And after trial and error, Jarrett found a bit of success in the paint, offensively and defensively.

With Ed Davis getting in quick foul trouble and Dudley out of the rotation, the Nets were asking a lot from Jarrett to their stead. Some of the production allowed in the paint was understandable to an extent, but when Philly was driving and executing to the paint consistently with no contest, the frustration mounted. 

Jarrett knew he’d be challenged this series, and he has a few days now to figure out what was just thrown at him. 

DeMarre Carroll


The stats: 6 PTS, 2-7 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 19 MIN

DeMarre Carroll made back-to-back threes to start the game, and that was great. Then he missed three more and couldn’t score the rest of the game. 

The Nets can’t afford for him to again look the way he did in Game 2. 

Caris LeVert


The stats: 13 PTS, 3-8 FG, 2-4 3PT, 5-5 FT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, 20 MIN

Caris was speedy and efficient to keep the Nets in the game at halftime. He burst past his opposition and gave his team a chance. 

Even with the success he found in the first half, he was one of many Nets who couldn’t muster a counter-attack in the third quarter. Caris has grown recently, but the Nets need him to continue his offensive threat to counter the beating Brooklyn may continue to take inside. 

Shabazz Napier


The stats: 13 MIN, 4-6 FG, 2-3 3PT, 3-4 FT, 3 REB, 1 AST, 10 MIN

Shoutout to Shabazz Napier, and Theo Pinson, for putting up some solid numbers in garbage time. They helped turn this one froma 31-point blowout to a 22-point one. 

Small victories?