The Sixers took a big step towards qualification by winning this Game 3 on hostile ground and despite very difficult conditions. For their part, the Nets gave everything but failed again, seriously compromising their chances for the future.
The locals tried to put pressure on the entry, with the best example of the start of the match by Nic Claxton, author of 5 points since the start of the series and revolted at this start to the match, like his overpowering dunk in counter-attack (9-4). Mikal Bridges’ two 3-point baskets then forced Doc Rivers to stop the game (19-11).
He took it well since Philly managed to come to his senses afterwards to end the first act with a 9-2, with the authoritarian dunks of De’Anthony Melton and Jalen McDaniels (28-32).
Without flinching, James Harden then responded to the good passage of Cam Thomas (36-42), then it was the 3-pointers from De’Anthony Melton and Tyrese Maxey as well as the 2 + 1 from Tobias Harris which allowed the Sixers to win. widen the gap at the break (47-58).
All the efforts of Joel Embiid’s teammates were quickly erased when they returned from the locker room, the fault of an almost perfect start from the Nets, authors of a stunning 14-0 scored by the dunks of Nic Claxton and a Mikal Bridges on a cloud (61-60).
With 11 points in the third quarter, Cameron Johnson also had his moment of glory between a nice move on Jalen McDaniels and two 3-point baskets including one with the fault of PJ Tucker as a bonus. The 3-pointers from Spencer Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale at the end of the period then allowed the locals to turn to +6, all after seeing James Harden sanctioned with a Flagrant II synonymous with the end of the match (82-76) .
Nic Claxton’s second technical foul at the start of the fourth quarter rebalanced the debates, and the two teams were then in possession with 5 minutes remaining (90-87). Mikal Bridges followed up a basket near the circle with an interception to try and tip the balance in favor of the hosts, but Tyrese Maxey answered him with a floater, a 3-pointer and a left-handed lay-up in transition to equalize at 96-96.
The point guard finished on fire with another 3-point basket on the head of Spencer Dinwiddie, while Joel Embiid finally appeared at the best moment to counter… Spencer Dinwiddie. A bad throw-in allowed De’Anthony Melton to seal the match with a final dunk (97-102).
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
The eventful evening of Joel Embiid. As since the beginning of the series, the Nets decided to manhandle the pivot of the Sixers in order to hope to compete, a preferential treatment which went up a notch last night. Joel Embiid first sadly illustrated himself by losing his nerves from the first minutes, kicking in the parts of Nic Claxton when he was on the ground and his direct opponent had just “walked” above from him. His Flagrant 1 remained anecdotal since he was well shaken afterwards, in particular on two oppositions against Cam Johnson in the racket. The first time, he fell on his back and twisted his right ankle. Then in the third quarter, he again fell badly, holding his right knee for a long time. More generally, the Cameroonian had a very complicated evening, hobbling until the end of the game…
James Harden also had the balls. He, too, was battered by pot-of-glue defenses and a knee scare after a knock against Mikal Bridges’ knee in the first half which caused him to hobble for a time. If he carried the attack of the Sixers to compensate for the difficulties of Joel Embiid, he then cracked by sending a blow in the parts (decidedly!) of Royce O’Neale to try to get rid of his tight defense. An obviously forbidden gesture which earned him a Flagrant II synonymous with expulsion. A decision all the same surprising in view of the sanction addressed to Joel Embiid at the start of the match in a similar situation.
Nic Claxton’s childhood mistake. Just under 9 minutes from the end, Nic Claxton confirmed his great game by going to dunk on Joel Embiid to give his team a six-point lead (87-81). Problem, he chambered the Cameroonian in stride, and ended up expelled for a second technical foul, the first having occurred at the very start of the match. A turning point that sealed the end of the Nets game, and a terrible fate that Nic Claxton is not about to forget.
✅ Tyrese Maxey. Everything seemed to play against Philly between the injuries of Joel Embiid then the expulsion of James Harden. Still, Tyrese Maxey didn’t give up and was rewarded with a crazy streak that completely turned the tide late in the game.
✅ Joel Embid. The franchise player struggled throughout the game and found himself particularly shaken by the Nets, who tried everything to outwit him. Despite the pain and his 5 faults, he remained on the floor until the end, and ended up, too, being rewarded by leaving the match against Spencer Dinwiddie. A lesson in courage from him…
✅⛔Mikal Bridges. His new franchise player status fits him like a glove. If he was often seen to his advantage this night, in attack as in defense, we can only deplore the weakness of his shooting percentage, with 26 shots attempted for 26 points (9/26). Sometimes still a little too euphoric, at times when he could have found other solutions in attack.
✅⛔Nic Claxton. Finally, we found the aggressive Nic Claxton in attack who had missed Brooklyn in the last two games. The pivot was aggressive and efficient, but scuttled everything by indulging in a chambering session when he had already collected a technical foul. The cold shower was terrible as the Nets practically said goodbye to their chances of qualification.
Game 4 in Brooklyn, Saturday (7 p.m.).
How to read the stats? Min = Minutes; Shots = Shots made / Shots attempted; 3pts = 3-points / 3-points attempted; LF = free throws made / free throws attempted; O = offensive rebound; D= defensive rebound; T = Total Bounces; Pd = assists; Fte: Personal fouls; Int = Intercepts; Bp = Lost bullets; Ct: Counters; +/- = Point differential when the player is on the field; Points = Points; Eval: player evaluation calculated from positive actions – negative actions.