Just one game into the playoffs, and it’s already situation critical for the Philadelphia 76ers (51-31, 31-10 home), who host the Brooklyn Nets (42-40, 19-22 away) in Game 2 of their first round series Monday at Wells Fargo Center. The game tips off at 8pm EST.
The 76ers trail the best-of-7 series 1-0 after losing 111-102 on Saturday.
The 76ers began as 7.5-point favorites for this match up, with an over/under total of 226. That’s a big point spread, so proceed with caution if you’re thinking of betting on the 76ers. Brooklyn is 46-37-0 against the spread this season and 41-42-0 over/under. Philadelphia, meanwhile, is 38-45-0 ATS and 43-40-0 over/under.
Playoff debuts don’t always go smoothly, but that’s the only way you could describe D’Angelo Russell’s first foray into postseason play. The Nets’ only all-star was a big factor in the sixth-seeded Nets stealing home court advantage away, pumping in 26 points and four assists in the victory.
Russell did most of his damage in a dominant third quarter, scoring 14 points and putting the 76ers into a hole they could not recover from.
— NBA (@NBA) April 13, 2019
The Nets, a middle-of-the-pack team shooting from beyond the arc in the regular season (14th overall), connected on 11-26 from three-point range, enjoying a +24 advantage in Game 1. Joe Harris and Caris Levert each hit three triples in this one.
Caris LeVert nails the wide-open three and has the whole city of Philadelphia SICK, YOU LOVE TO SEE IT pic.twitter.com/kzvx5zUW9Q
— Chris Montano (@gswchris) April 13, 2019
LeVert has been slowly trying to regain his form since missing most of the year after suffering a gruesome foot injury. Once a starter who averaged better than 19 points per game pre-injury, he’d only topped that mark twice in 26 games since returning. In Game 1, however, he chipped in 23.
The Brooklyn reserves came up big in this contest as well, outscoring the Sixers bench 59-26. Ed Davis had a double-double with 13 points and a team-high 16 rebounds.
Nets vs 76ers Statistical Comparison
|108.8 (19th)||Offensive Rating||111.5 (8th)|
|112.2 (15th)||Points||115.2 (4th)|
|23.8 (21st)||Assists||26.9 (4th)|
|44.9 (25th)||Field-Goal Percentage||47.1 (8th)|
|35.3 (14th)||Three-Point Percentage||35.9 (8th)|
|-0.1 (15th)||Plus/Minus||+2.7 (11th)|
|108.9 (T-13th)||Defensive Rating||108.9 (T-13th)|
|112.3 (18th)||Points||112.5 (19th)|
|45.6 (12th)||Field-Goal Percentage||45.5 (10th)|
|34.1 (3rd)||Three-Point Percentage||34.2 (4th)|
|51.2 (T-24th)||Points In The Paint||51.2 (T-24th)|
*2018-19 Regular Season Statistics
For a team that ranked eighth in the regular season in offensive rating and fourth in both points and assists per game, the third-seeded 76ers looked wildly out of sorts to kick off the playoffs.
And a team with far more talent on paper is now just one game away from going back to Brooklyn down 2-0 in the series.
Center Joel Embiid was hobbled all game with a wonky left knee. Despite his 22 points and 15 rebounds, he was just 5-for-15 from the floor, including missing all five three-point attempts and six of his 18 free throws.
Brett Brown just described Jimmy Butler’s play today as “the adult in the room.”
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) April 13, 2019
As a team, Philadelphia shot just 40.7% from the field, a far cry from their 47.1% shooting clip in the regular season (eighth overall), and they could not hit from beyond the arc, going a woeful 3-for-25 in the game, a lowly 12% clip. Brooklyn was third in the NBA in opposition three-point percentage, but the 76ers did miss on several good looks throughout the contest.
Perhaps some resistance on the defensive end would help too. Brooklyn’s shifty guards were able to exploit mismatches off switches, leaving Philly’s bigs on an island, without any help at the rim. The results were predictable, as the Nets attacked relentlessly.
¡Spencer Dinwiddie fuerte por el lateral!💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/hrvap8xmMc
— Xpreso Deportivo🇵🇷 (@xdeportivopr) April 13, 2019
Jimmy Butler was the only reason this game wasn’t a blowout by halftime. Butler poured in 23 points in the first half, keeping his team within striking distance. He finished the game with 36 points (a new playoff career high) and nine rebounds.
Jimmy Butler is just the 4th 76ers player to have 30 points in a playoff game in the last 25 seasons.
Butler joins Allen Iverson, Andre Miller and Joel Embiid. pic.twitter.com/p3pJceku2r
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 13, 2019
The rest of the team struggled mightily. Ben Simmons was a virtual non-factor, finishing with nine points on 4-for-9 shooting. He, along with fellow starters Tobias Harris and JJ Redick combined to shoot 11-for-31 from the floor and produce 18 points. A better effort and contributions across the board will be necessary in Game 2 of Philly wants to even this series up.