NBA Playoffs: Philadelphia 76ers Vs Brooklyn Nets - Game 5 Predictions and Game 4 Talking Points
For game 5 the action moves back to the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Brooklyn is down 3 - 1 and is on the brink of a gentleman's sweep having lost three games on the trot after having stolen game 1 away from home.
When: Wednesday 5:30 AM IST
Philly wins 112 - 108
Played at the Barclays Centre, New York this game was by far the best of the series. It had everything you would hope for in a game- clutch 3-pointers, crucial defensive stops, multiple players getting ejected, a nail-biting finish and superstars coming up big.
Having lost the previous two games and playing at home this was a crucial game for the Nets. They made a change to their lineup and started Caris LeVert and Jared Duddley both of whom played well coming off the bench in the previous games. Brooklyn started the game well with LeVert pouring in 11 points in the first quarter and the Nets leading 33 - 24. Jimmy Butler had a solid second quarter with 9 points and 2 steals helping the Sixers close the gap to 6 points going into halftime.
The game erupted with 7:42 left to go in the third, when Dudley ran up from half-court to physically confront Joel Embiid after he fouled Jarret Allen(a spillover from game 2 in which Embiid elbowed Allen in the face). Jimmy Butler responded immediately pushing Dudley away, other players then got involved and the scuffle spilled into the 1st row of the crowd.
Luckily no one threw any punches, had they chosen to do so it would almost certainly have resulted in multiple game suspensions. The incident ended with Dudley and Butler ejected and Embiid being given a flagrant foul. The Sixers got the raw end of that deal with their number one scorer up till that point ejected from the game.
Philly managed to keep within striking distance till the last minute of the game courtesy of some sensational scoring from Embiid. JJ Redick and Mike Scott then hit crucial 3-pointers in the last minute of the game to give them the lead followed by a steal by Simmons to seal the game. Brooklyn's inexperience really came through, losing this crucial game at home after controlling it for three quarters.
Joel Embiid had a monster game with 31 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 blocks. Tobias Harris scored 24 points and Ben Simmons contributed with an efficient 15 points. Caris LeVert top-scored for the Nets with 25 points and Jarret Allen had a solid game with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Neither team had their three-point game on point, both shooting around 31%. The Nets shot it marginally better going 12 - 38 compared to 8 - 26 from Philly. The Sixers out-rebounded the Nets 61 - 49, and dominated them on points in the paint.
Predictions For Game 5
76ers Lineup: Tobias Harris (F), Jimmy Butler (F), Greg Monroe (C), Ben Simmons (PG), and JJ Redick (SG). With the series virtually in the bag and a challenging matchup against Toronto in the offing, Philly could look to rest Joel Embiid who is playing with knee tendonitis. The man himself refused to divulge his status saying that he wanted to keep his opposition guessing.
Nets Lineup: Joe Harris(F), Jared Dudley (F), Jarrett Allen (C), DeAngelo Russell (PG), and Caris Levert(SG). Despite the loss in game 4, the new additions to the starting lineup looked solid and the Nets are likely to continue with the same.
Down three games to one, mounting a comeback and winning this series will be a near impossible task for the Nets. They will have to win 3 games in succession, two of which will be played away from home in front of a loud Philadelphia crowd. Nonetheless with Embiid unlikely to play and having already beaten the Sixers once at home this young Nets team is more than capable of beating the Sixers in game 5 and making this series more competitive.
D'Angelo Russell has been playing well averaging 22.3 points this postseason but if he hopes to keep his team in the playoffs he has to have some monster games. 3-point contest champion Joe Harris led the league in 3-point percentage this season at 47.4%, for the postseason it has dropped to an atrocious 18.8 %. If he manages to find his range it could be just the boost that Brooklyn needs to stage a comeback.
Given the strength of their roster, the 76ers should have no problems beating the Nets even without Embiid on the court. With hopes of making it to the finals and some brutal fixtures standing in their way, they must end this series as soon as possible and conserve their energy. With such a commanding lead Philly must guard against complacency and look to finish the series 4 - 1.
The 76ers should win this game by double digits and end what has been a terrific season for the Brooklyn Nets. With some very talented young players and two maximum salary spots open, the future of the Nets looks very bright indeed.