The No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers took a 1-0 series lead over the No. 6 Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference First Round with a 121-101 home victory on Saturday afternoon.
The Sixers connected on a franchise playoff-record 21 3-pointers (21-43, .488) and never trailed in the contest.
“I've been in the playoffs a couple times,” said first-year 76er De’Anthony Melton. “But the Philly crowd is different.”
“It was a good feeling,” Paul Reed said of hearing the crowd chant his nickname ‘Bball Paul’ during a pivotal second-half stretch. “It was a special feeling. It let me know... They like me a lot.”
As of Sunday evening, the injury report for Game 2 once again listed one player as out: Brooklyn’s Ben Simmons (back; nerve impingement).
In Saturday’s win, Philadelphia corralled 14 offensive rebounds and put up 21 second-chance points. The home team committed only nine turnovers, compared to 20 turnovers for the Nets that led to 31 points.
Offseason acquisition P.J. Tucker grabbed five of those offensive boards for the Sixers.
“Playoff basketball is just about every possession,” Tobias Harris (21 points) said. “And P.J., he gave us more possessions out there. Crashing the glass, being physical, his presence defensively... Five steals, five offensive rebounds - that's huge.”
76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers credited his “energy guys” – including Tucker, Reed, Melton, and Jalen McDaniels – after the game.
“I thought Paul Reed and [P.J. Tucker] had an amazing impact on the game. P.J. was great… I thought our energy guys played a big part in our game. Those guys had a huge imprint on why we won.”
MVP finalist Joel Embiid delivered a team-high 26 points in the face of countless extra defenders sent his way.
“He's gonna get us buckets no matter what,” James Harden said of Embiid. “That's how good he is.”
Harden drilled five of his seven total 3-pointers – which tied a playoff career-high – in the game’s first half.
Mikal Bridges scored 23 of his game-high 30 points for the Nets in the opening half.
The Sixers swept the regular season series from Brooklyn, 4-0.
Monday’s game is a 7:30 p.m. ET start in South Philly.
Saturday’s Top Performances:
Another notable stat line is that of veteran starter P.J. Tucker, who played his 92nd career playoff game and first as a 76er. Tucker contributed six points on a pair of threes, plus seven rebounds, two assists, and a playoff career-high five steals.
Quote to Note:
P.J. Tucker on giving some constructive criticism to Paul Reed at halftime of Game 1:
“I felt like he didn't have the energy. Then he came out in the second half and responded. So I told everybody I'm gonna curse Paul out every halftime... We need him, and I'm gonna always stay on him.”