The Philadelphia 76ers have evened the series at 1-1 following a blowout Game 2 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Point guard Ben Simmons can't hit an outside jumper, so he's mostly a non-factor. Starting point guard Kyle Lowry had a terrible game where he scored ZERO points in 34 minutes of action.
The 76ers weren't sure if they would have Joel Embiid in Game 1, but he did play and it didn't seem to matter. The Sixers struggles from the first game won't just disappear, and any mistakes made by Simmons will likely lead to more boos. The stretch represented the building blocks of a decisive 21-2 run that put the Sixers in control after taking a one-point, 65-64 lead into the locker room. Jimmy is made for the playoffs because its tight defense and Jimmy is the best 1on1 guy Philly has apart from Joel Embiid (when he is in the paint, he remains a work in progress outside of it). Montrezl Harrell scored 26 points and fellow reserve Lou Williams contributed 25 points and nine assists as Los Angeles returned to the playoffs after missing last season following six straight appearances. The No. 3-seed Philadelphia is favored by 8.5 in the latest Nets vs. Sixers odds after the line opened at -7.5, with the over-under for total points scored set at 226.
Their one-point halftime lead grew into a 29-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter - a lead that they would not surrender. Maybe he doesn't need to outplay high school teammate Russell, but the 76ers probably can't afford for LeVert (23 points) and Spencer Dinwiddie (18) to outplay him, too. Jimmy Butler was the only player that actually had a good game, while the rest of the Sixers' stars shrunk in the spotlight.
Evan Fournier had 16 points for Orlando and Terrence Ross came off the bench for 10.
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In fact, their starting unit was outscored by the 76ers' starting unit 84-43!
"Their coach said before the game it was going to be a fist fight". All in all it was a terrible performance and the 76ers were never really in the game.
TORONTO - For the Orlando Magic, the first game of the playoffs felt a lot like the final few weeks of the regular season: high stakes, small margins, and a big win at the end of the day. Philly obviously needs him on the floor, but this series has the potential to go beyond five games, so the Sixers need to play it smart with him as well. But that didn't stop them from getting knocked out.
Fast forward to Monday night, and Simmons has been fully vindicated. The Nets lost it all in the third, when they were outscored 51-23. PF Tobias Harris was the game's biggest disappointment as he finished with just four points on 2-for-7 from the field.
As Tom Haberstroh pointed out pre-game, his ability to guard multiple positions and guard them well is invaluable to the Nets' success.