BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Even with Joel Embiid out, the Nets couldn’t snag the win. Even after being ridiculed on the podium following Game 2, the Nets weren’t nearly physical enough to stop Philadelphia. And even with the home crowd having their back, the Nets laid an egg at home and lost Game 3, 131-115, Thursday night at Barclays Center.
They now trail 2-1 in the series and Philly has regained home court advantage.
“Ben Simmons is a great player in transition. And once you get him into halfcourt, he’s average,” Jared Dudley infamously said at Brooklyn’s practice Wednesday. Well, Simmons torched Brooklyn and scored a playoff career-high 31 points and nine assists on 11-of-13 shooting and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Maybe he saw this picture.
“Missing: Ben Simmons jump shot” hanging outside of Barclays Center prior to Game 3. pic.twitter.com/pC94WF8eAs— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) April 18, 2019
Still, the Nets had zero resistance on the defensive end.
Simmons wasn’t alone, Tobias Harris scored a playoff career-high 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds and a perfect 6-of-6 from three. The Nets couldn’t stick with J.J. Redick for a second straight game, and he scored 26 points with five three-pointers.
“I think we have to look at everything. It starts defensively in terms of what we have to do. I think we look at lineups. It’s only 1-2. We come back here Saturday and if we win, it’s a different series. I think we have to look at some different things. Obviously, what we have been doing the last two games is not working,” Kenny Atkinson said afterwards.
It just felt like they’d never get a stop.
And they really didn’t.
The 76ers led by as many as 18 in this game as the Nets went more than three minutes without a stop in in the third quarter. But, the Nets weren’t done. Spencer Dinwiddie converted on a four-point play and propelled the Nets on an 8-0 run to close out the quarter, bringing a 15-point deficit down to seven entering the fourth.
Then, D’Angelo Russell finally got going. Two mid-rangers turned into seven points, then nine points, then 11 straight points. The Nets brought it within six with less than nine minutes.
At that point, Brooklyn and Philly were just exchanging buckets and that was the issue. Brooklyn didn’t have nearly enough firepower to compete with Philly. Simmons converted on and-one and Harris slammed one home to cap off a 14-6 run, 15-point Sixers’ lead with 5:17 left.
And that was all she wrote.
“I think either way they’re a pretty tough team to defend,” said Caris LeVert. “Like D’Angelo (Russell) said, they’ve got specialists at each position. They kind of spread you out in shooters and then they have Simmons attacking the rim, so in either way – whatever lineup they have out there – they’re pretty tough to defend.”
LeVert did all he could with 19 points in the second quarter alone — 26 on the night. Russell also finished with 26 points in 30 minutes. As a whole, the Nets shot 41 percent from the field and 21 percent from three.
They were also out-rebounded by 11 and turned the ball over 15 times. And oh yeah, Dudley didn’t score.
“I mean, I think they’re just going to play a physical game of basketball. If we throw up a basket, they’re gonna go and get it. It’s kind of in their M.O. – as far as the technical I got, it’s less so them. That’s where I respect them,” said Dinwidide afterwards.
There’s something to be said about the minutes distribution going on. Russell played 30 minutes, LeVert played 28 and Dinwiddie played 26. They’ve been the three-headed monster for Brooklyn all season long and they should be playing more.’
Look at Philadelphia. Jimmy Butler played 37 minutes, Harris played 36 minutes, Redick played 34 and Simmons played 39.
But there was another problem: for the second straight game, Ed Davis played limited minutes because of his lingering right ankle soreness. After as 12 point, 16 rebound performance that fueled the Nets win in Game 1, Davis played only six minutes in Game 2 and 10 in Game 3. He was missed big time. His status for Game 4 on Saturday remains unknown.
Still, as Atkinson said, “We aren’t just happy to be here, we can compete with these guys.”
Well, then it’s time to play your best in order to beat one of the best.
Caris LeVert on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons laughing during apology for elbow to Jarrett Allen: We didn’t really like that. We thought that was kind of disrespectful especially after the elbow he threw. It is what it is. There’s no love lost. It’s a playoff series. We expect that— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) April 17, 2019
Jared Dudley on Embiid laughing at the podium: "I felt a certain type of way about it. Just because you’re laughing when somebody could’ve gotten really, really hurt. That’s been Embiid’s personality. But just because it’s your personality doesn’t mean it’s right."— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) April 17, 2019
THE AVERAGE SUPERSTAR
Jared Dudley dropping gems at media availability: "Ben Simmons is a great player in transition. And once you get him into halfcourt, he's average."— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) April 17, 2019
THE ANSWER (MORE DISRESPECT):
Simmons' reaction after Dudley's airball pic.twitter.com/lCXaZKrw4V— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 19, 2019
... AND MORE
Simmons on Dudley: I don't have energy for it https://t.co/7QzJ6O957N— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) April 19, 2019
For a different perspective, head on over to Liberty Ballers, our 76ers sister site on SB Nation.
Game 4 is Satuday, 3:00 p.m. ET!
- Box Score: Philadelphia 76ers 131, Brooklyn Nets 115 - NBA.com
- Video: Philadelphia 76ers 131, Brooklyn Nets 115 - NBA.com
- Post Game Plus: PHI@BKN (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Nets fall to Sixers 131-115 (Video) - Ian Eagle, Sarah Kustok & RIchard Jefferson - YES Network
- Allen on 131-115 loss (Video) - YES Network
- Simmons scores 31 points, 76ers beat Nets without Embiid - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Simmons pours in 31 as 76ers down Nets - Reuters
- Simmons torches Nets, says Dudley feud ‘done’ - Zach Lowe - ESPN
- Simmons torches Nets, says Dudley feud ‘done’ - Dave McMenamin - ESPN
- Apologetic Joel Embiid dealt massive blow for 76ers-Nets Game 3 - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets trail series after ugly Game 3 loss to Joel Embiid-less 76ers - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets lit up by the one player they couldn’t afford to let go off - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Ben Simmons teaches talkative Nets a lesson in Playoffs 101 - George Willis - New York Post
- Nets struggle on defense, drop Game 3 to 76ers - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Embiid sits out Game 3, says he apologized to Nets’ Allen - Greg Logan - Newsday
- LI’s Tobias Harris steps up to lead 76ers past Nets - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Joel Embiid sits out Game 3 with sore knee, says he should have been ejected in Game 2 - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Hardly average Ben Simmons stares down Jared Dudley during Game 3 matchup - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- ‘It’s evolving’: How Ben Simmons responded to Jared Dudley’s claim he’s ‘average’ in the half-court - Michael Scotto - The Athletic New York
- BROOKLYN NETS’ CARIS LEVERT COMES THROUGH WITH 26 POINTS - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- SIXERS 131, NETS 115: LEVERT, RUSSELL SCORE 26 EACH IN GAME 3 LOSS - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- NETS VS. SIXERS: CARIS LEVERT, SPENCER DINWIDDIE, AND KENNY ATKINSON TOP QUOTES - Brooklyn Nets
- Sixers beat Nets in Game 3 of NBA playoffs despite missing Joel Embiid; Ben Simmons scores 31 points - Keith Pompey - Philadelphia Inquirer
- The Sixers can win their playoff series against the Nets without Joel Embiid. If it will help his knee, that is what they should do - David Murphy - Philadelphia Inquirer
- Sixers-Nets reaction: Ben Simmons gets revenge on Jared Dudley, trolling fans in NBA playoffs win - EJ Smith - Philadelphia Inquirer