Sixers shake off Embiid absence to beat Nets
MANILA, Philippines – Philadelphia played minus star center Joel Embiid but the brilliant trio of Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick took over as the Sixers blasted the Brooklyn Nets, 131-115, to take a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Eastern Conference first-round playoffs on Thursday, April 18 (Friday, April 19, Manila time).
Simmons pumped in a playoff career-high 31 points on an impressive 11-of-13 (85%) shooting clip on top of 9 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks.
Embiid, who had a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds in the Sixers’ Game 2 triumph, took part in the warm-up but sat out due to a knee injury.
But Harris came out sensational as well, shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from three-point range to finish with 29 points while also grabbing 16 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists.
Redick likewise made impact, finishing with 26 points for the third-ranked Sixers.
Greg Monroe started in Embiid's place and finished with 13 rebounds and 9 points.
Simmons had the perfect response in the last two games since getting booed by Sixers fans in their stunning series-opening loss. The Australian star delivered a triple-double in Game 2 and playoff career-high scoring in Game 3.
“I thought Ben was exceptional,” said Sixers coach Brett Brown. “I thought it was one of Ben’s most dominant games.”
Brown also credited Harris – the Sixers’ trade-deadline addition – for his all-around game.
“It’s no secret when you lose Joel Embiid, you lose firepower,” said Brown. “I give Tobias credit, he knows we needed [someone] to go to for some points.”
D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert scored 26 each to lead the No. 6 Nets, who will try to level the series in Game 4 in Brooklyn on Sunday.
– With a report from Agence France-Presse