The No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers hold a 2-0 series lead over the No. 6 Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference First Round. The series shifts to Brooklyn on Thursday after a 96-84 Sixers’ win Monday in South Philadelphia.
The Sixers are winners of six straight playoff games against the Nets overall, and also won this year’s regular season series 4-0.
“We want to win so bad – the emotions are high, the stakes are high,” Tyrese Maxey said following Wednesday’s practice. “We’re healthy and we’re resilient. That makes us dangerous.”
The injury report for Game 3 included Philadelphia’s Jalen McDaniels (questionable - non-COVID illness) and Brooklyn’s Ben Simmons (out - back; nerve impingement) as of Wednesday evening.
In Monday’s victory, the Sixers trailed by double digits late in the first half and overcame what was a five-point halftime deficit. Brooklyn continued to double team Joel Embiid (20 points) early and often, but Embiid’s impact was again felt on both ends of the floor, grabbing 15 of his game-high 19 rebounds in the first half alone and recording a game-high three blocked shots by the final buzzer, plus seven assists and a steal.
“He’s doing a great job of allowing his teammates to flourish out there on the floor and that’s bringing us a lot of energy,” Tobias Harris said of Embiid postgame.
Philadelphia outscored Brooklyn, 52-35, in the second half, marking the first time that the 76ers have limited an opponent to 35 or fewer points in the second half of any playoff game since May 4, 2012 vs. Chicago.
Maxey led all scorers with 33 points, including six 3-pointers, for the home team. Cam Johnson scored 22 of his Nets-high 28 points in the first half.
Each team called a timeout within the first two minutes of the third quarter, and the Sixers went on a 20-5 soon after to capture the momentum. Harris played a pivotal role in the run, and finished the contest with a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double. Five of his rebounds were offensive boards, helping the Sixers to an 18-0 advantage in second-chance points.
Total rebounds favored Philadelphia by a 56-33 count in Game 2.
Thursday’s Game 3 is a 7:30 p.m. ET start in Brooklyn.
Monday’s Top Performances:
Quote to Note:
76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers on Tobias Harris’ strong start to the series:
“He’s been great. Just solid. He had 20 again, and I think we ran one play for him. Other than that, he’s letting it come to him. He’s just playing the right way.”
“He’s really fighting defensively. That keeps going unnoticed. His defense in these two games has been unbelievable.”