NBA Playoffs: Philadelphia 76ers vs Brooklyn Nets Game 4 - starting lineups and match predictions
The Brooklyn Nets pulled off an upset early in this series, thumping the Philadelphia 76ers in game 1. The Sixers have responded well and now lead the round one fixture 2-1. The action will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for Game 4.
When: April 21, 12:30 AM IST
Philly win 131 - 115
Sixers superstar, Joel Embiid, after going through the pre-game shoot-around, decided that he wouldn't be playing due to his knee tendinitis acting up. Playing at home with the opposition's all-star center sitting out, this was a great opportunity for Brooklyn to take back the lead in the series.
The Nets never really played with the energy necessary to win and were down eight points by the end of the first quarter. They fought back in the second going on an 11-2 run and kept the game close till half time.
The Sixers then took an imposing lead with Tobias Harris and JJ Redick raining in three pointers. and Boban Marjanovic dominating in the paint. Brooklyn clawed their way back to make it a seven-point game at the end of the third quarter. Despite some great shooting from D'Angelo Russell, who scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, the Nets ended up losing by 16.
The Nets had a terrible shooting night, going a paltry 8-39 from the three-point line, compared to 11-27 by their opposition. Brooklyn had the edge in points in the paint while Philly outrebounded them. Harris, who scored 29 points, shot a perfect 6-6 from the three-point line and Redick with 26 points made five of his nine three-point attempts.
Ben Simmons, despite putting up a triple-double in the last game, was the butt of many social media jokes regarding his lack of shooting. He came out looking like he had something to prove and led the game, scoring a career playoff-high 31 points. He also dished out nine assists, three blocks, two steals and shot 81.8% from the free throw line.
Caris LeVert and Russell top-scored for the Nets with 26 points each.
76ers Lineup: Tobias Harris (F), Jimmy Butler (F), Joel Embiid (C), Ben Simmons (PG), and JJ Redick (SG). Embiid (knee) will be a game-time decision, but after sitting out the previous game he is likely to play.
Nets Lineup: DeMarre Carroll (F), Rodions Kurucs (F), Jarrett Allen (C), DeAngelo Russell (PG), and Joe Harris (SG).
The Nets have squandered the advantage they gained after beating Philly at home. A loss in the next game would mean a 1-3 deficit, recovery from which is not often seen in the NBA. It would be unrealistic to expect a young, inexperienced Nets team to overcome the deficit, especially with two of those games being away from home. Philly's formidable lineup after a slow start in Game 1 are now hitting their stride and will be hard to beat.
Brooklyn have their backs against the wall and must respond. With no real expectations on them, they have nothing to lose and can swing for the fences. When on song, they are a hard team to beat; they have proved this in the regular season upsetting teams like Denver, Boston, Houston, and Toronto. They have to be a lot more efficient from the three-point line and Russell needs to come up with a big game.
For the Sixers, Harris and Redick need to continue hitting their long-range shots at a good clip. Simmons must be aggressive and continue taking it to the rim. Whether Philly survives the Nets onslaught and takes a commanding 3-1 lead hinges on Joel Embiid being fit to play. If the skilled big man is in the lineup, it will be unlikely that the Nets prevail.