On Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 96-84 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series. Tyrese Maxey led all scorers with 33 points, while Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris added 20 points in the victory.
Embiid, who has won the scoring title in the NBA twice, had a very quiet offensive game, shooting just 6 of 11 from the field, but he was vital in other aspects of the game. The finalist for MVP had 19 rebounds, seven assists, and three blocks in their stat line.
Harris pulled down a total of 12 boards. After a fantastic performance in Game 1, James Harden could only muster eight points for the Sixers on three of thirteen shooting attempts.
On Thursday, New York will play host to Game 3.
Cam Johnson scored the most points for the Nets with 28. Johnson’s one-handed slam down the right sideboard that posterized Embiid caused the 7-footer to stumble and fall to the floor. During the first half of the game, Johnson confronted Embiid with a glare as the Nets forward retreated on defense.
It was the final highlight from Brooklyn that was worthy of a GIF.
As the 76ers seek to win their first NBA title since 1983, they must pay closer attention to their head coach.
A brief break was requested by Doc Rivers immediately after the beginning of the second half’s scoring by Brooklyn.
“C’mon, boys! Come on!” Rivers pleaded in the midst of the huddle. “Hey, it’s up to you all to decide what you want to do,” she said.
Why don’t we eventually determine who wins the game?
On a fast break, Maxey, who kept the Sixers alive in the first half with 15 points, was shoved at the hoop, but Harris followed for the bucket, and the 76ers had knotted the game at 55-all. On the next possession, Maxey made a corner three-point shot that drove the fans into a frenzy. He did not miss.
The next three-point attempt by PJ Tucker was missed, but he could retrieve his rebound and then throw it off to James Harden, who made his first three-pointer of the game. Harris immediately responded by making a 3-point shot, which resulted in him jumping up and down and waving his arms as he walked off the floor before the break.
With a 64-56 advantage, Embiid lifted his fist in the air, encouraging the audience to become louder as they cheered for him.
After a dominant performance in Game 1 and a disastrous start to Game 2, the Sixers desperately needed a spark to get them back on track.
Harden was the Sixer who most embodied the spirit of that autumn. The elderly veteran, who struggled with left Achilles tendon discomfort down the stretch of the regular season, was swamped in Game 2, but his seven three-pointers helped the Sixers stay steady in the first game of the series. In the first half, he was 0-6 from the field, missing all four 3-point tries and six other shots. It was a miracle that the Sixers only went into halftime behind by a score of 49-44 after committing two fouls and five turnovers.
It must have been not very comforting to the Nets. Even though Johnson scored 22 points throughout the half, the Nets were completely dominated on the boards and in the paint, much like in Game 1. While Embiid only scored eight points, he pulled down 15 rebounds, 13 of which were defensive.
Embiid made up for some offensive frustration late in the game with a two-handed jam that got the audience to its feet.
The 76ers have defeated the Nets in their last six postseason games. After scoring 30 points in the first game, Mikal Bridges finished with 21.
Embiid’s 15 rebounds in the first half of a playoff game for the 76ers were the most by any player for the 76ers in the past 25 years… Maxey was successful on 13 of his 25 attempts.