NBA Basketball

76ers look to take series stranglehold in Brooklyn

The Philadelphia 76ers will be searching for a commanding 3-1 series lead when they visit the Brooklyn Nets Saturday in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference opening-round playoff series.

Conversely, the Nets will be looking to even the series.

The third-seeded Sixers grabbed the upper hand with a 131-115 win Thursday, without All-Star center Joel Embiid. After arriving to the arena about 65 minutes before Game 3, Embiid eventually sat out with left knee soreness.

Embiid's status is listed as doubtful for Game 4.

The Sixers' other All-Star, Ben Simmons, stepped up in a major way and scored a playoff career-high 31 points on 11-of-13 shooting while handing out nine assists. Nets forward Jared Dudley had been critical of Simmons, especially his shooting and overall play in half-court sets.

Simmons appeared to make a gesture at Dudley after one of his baskets.

"I think we forget he's 22 years old," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said of Simmons. "We start talking about his growth in his jump shot -- all this stuff everyone talks about -- and then you see him come out and make the free throws.

"Whether he's getting booed or there's something else going on with some level of scrutinizing Ben, he is incredibly confident within himself."

Tobias Harris also poured in a playoff career-high 29 points to go along with 16 rebounds. It was arguably his best game since joining the Sixers in a late-season trade from the Los Angeles Clippers, as he also made all six of his 3-pointers.

"Obviously towards the end of the regular season we really didn't play that well," Harris said. "Also, it added more motivation for us as a group with our best player down. We all needed to pick it up and step it up, stick to the game plan and be even more focused."

The sixth-seeded Nets took Game 1 in Philadelphia before struggling defensively and allowing 145 points in Game 2. For much of Game 3, the Nets looked disjointed on both offense and defense despite closing within seven late in the third quarter.

Caris LeVert and D'Angelo Russell paced the Nets with 26 points apiece.

But the Nets will need to make changes on the defensive end if they want to even the series.

"I think we have to look at everything," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said. "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."

The Nets also launched a franchise playoff record 39 shots from beyond the 3-point arc but made just eight. Russell was 2 of 9, and Joe Harris missed all four of his attempts.

"We're an attacking team," LeVert said. "We're gonna attack the rim at all costs. Sometimes that little floater's open, but we got the shots we wanted tonight. We just missed a couple looks."

The Game 3 loss was the Nets' first home playoff game in four years.

Embiid's status could remain up in the air until shortly before game time once again. While he told reporters his knee is "slowly but surely" getting better, he also said the discomfort has been unpredictable depending on the day.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 19, 2019

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Teams Score Time
NC State   Sat 12:00pm
Boston College  
Duke   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina   Sat 3:30pm
Virginia Tech  
Carolina 1 07:53 2nd
Los Angeles 0
Carolina   10:30pm
San Jose  
Teams Score Time
Pittsburgh   Fri 7:00pm
Ohio State   Fri 8:30pm
Auburn   Sat 12:00pm
Clemson   Sat 12:00pm
Florida   Sat 12:00pm
South Carolina  
Georgia Tech   Sat 12:00pm
NC State   Sat 12:00pm
Boston College  
Purdue   Sat 12:00pm
West Virginia   Sat 12:00pm
Wisconsin   Sat 12:00pm
Duke   Sat 3:30pm
LSU   Sat 3:30pm
Mississippi State  
Minnesota   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina   Sat 3:30pm
Virginia Tech  
Oregon   Sat 3:30pm
Temple   Sat 3:30pm
Tulsa   Sat 3:30pm
UL Monroe   Sat 3:30pm
Appalachian State  
Baylor   Sat 4:00pm
Oklahoma State  
Missouri   Sat 4:00pm
Arizona State   Sat 6:00pm
Kentucky   Sat 6:00pm
Kansas   Sat 7:00pm
Florida State   Sat 7:30pm
Wake Forest  
Michigan   Sat 7:30pm
Penn State  
Tennessee   Sat 9:00pm
Boise State   Sat 10:15pm
Teams Score Time
American League
Houston 4 F
New York 1
Houston   8:08pm
New York  
National League
St. Louis 4 9th
Washington 7
St. Louis   4:08pm
Teams Score Time
Boston 118 F
Cleveland 95
Detroit 86 F
Philadelphia 106
Minnesota 119 00:39 4th
Indiana 111
Detroit   7:00pm
Atlanta   8:00pm
New York  
Memphis   8:00pm
Oklahoma City  
San Antonio   8:00pm
Portland   9:00pm
Golden State   10:30pm
Los Angeles  
Teams Score Time
Kansas City   Thu 8:20pm
Teams Score Time
Minnesota 2 F
Toronto 4
Tampa Bay 3 F
Montreal 1
Arizona 4 F
Winnipeg 2
Philadelphia 1 F
Calgary 3
Detroit 1 17:13 3rd
Vancouver 4
Nashville 4 00:00 2nd
Vegas 2
Carolina 1 07:53 2nd
Los Angeles 0
Colorado   7:00pm
Dallas   7:00pm
Toronto   7:00pm
Philadelphia   9:30pm
Buffalo   10:00pm
Carolina   10:30pm
San Jose  
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 12 Ryan Blaney 9
2 6 Ryan Newman 13
3 11 Denny Hamlin 40
4 10 Aric Almirola 5
5 34 Michael McDowell 22
6 3 Austin Dillon 20
7 32 Corey Lajoie 33
8 9 Chase Elliott 1
9 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 7
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 00 Cole Custer 3
2 7 Justin Allgaier 8
3 22 Austin Cindric 2
4 11 Justin Haley 11
5 98 Chase Briscoe 1
6 1 Michael Annett 16
7 9 Noah Gragson 7
8 23 John Hunter Nemechek 17
9 8 Zane Smith 10
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 20 Spencer Boyd 25
2 4 Todd Gilliland 6
3 51 Riley Herbst 7
4 24 Brett Moffitt 8
5 52 Stewart Friesen 10
6 16 Austin Hill 13
7 17 Tyler Ankrum 2
8 88 Matt Crafton 1
9 2 Sheldon Creed 5