Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson caught checking phone from bench during Game 1 loss to Nets
That was everything that could have gone wrong for Philadelphia in Game 1 of the playoffs.
For too much of the game, Philadelphia looked like an AAU team — one loaded with individual talent but no idea how to play together — while the Nets were cohesive and getting the shots they wanted, then hitting them. Brooklyn was 11-of-26 from three for the game, the Sixers 3-of-25.
The result was a 111-102 Nets upset of the Sixers in Game 1 in Philadelphia Saturday. Sixers fans booed their team at points and streamed to the exits early in this one.
Joel Embiid was cleared to play as a game-time decision, but he was not himself on the court. The bigger news was on the bench were Embiid and Amir Johnson were caught texting, or at least checking texts, from a phone during the loss.
Embiid said after the game that Johnson’s daughter is sick and they were just getting an update on her.
At the very least this is going to cost Embiid and/or Johnson a lot of money, and he could be forced to sit for Game 2.
Use of a cell phone on the bench is a violation of the NBA Operations Manual. Violation will result in a substantial fine and/or suspension.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) April 13, 2019
The 76ers have fined Amir Johnson for conduct detrimental to the team for cell phone usage on bench during Game 1 against Brooklyn.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 13, 2019
Embiid and Johnson’s use of the phone on the bench spoke to the level of seriousness and focus the Sixers players brought to this game.
The one exception was Jimmy Butler had a playoff career-high 36 in the loss for Philly, and he hit the shot of the game.
Sixers without the name Butler on their back of their jerseys shot just 37.5 percent for the game. The Nets did a good job not letting J.J. Redick or Tobias Harris have space at the three-point line and they never got going (or, in Harris’ case, enough attempts). Embiid finished with 22 points (on 5-of-15 shooting, after starting 1-of-9) plus 15 rebounds, but he was not a dominant force.
Brooklyn played with more passion and cohesion all game. D’Angelo Russell finished with 26 points, and Caris LeVert had 23 points off the bench. The Nets bench had 59 points for the game, and they swung the game with plays like this one from veteran Jared Dudley.
One of the questions about the thrown-together 76ers was how they would respond to adversity. We’re going to find out in Game 2.