76ers

Sixers 112, Nets 108: Joel Embiid otherworldly, Mike Scott makes game-winning three-pointer as Sixers take wild Game 4

Sixers 112, Nets 108: Joel Embiid otherworldly, Mike Scott makes game-winning three-pointer as Sixers take wild Game 4

BOX SCORE 

NEW YORK — It was never in doubt.

Led by an otherworldly Joel Embiid, the Sixers took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a thrilling 112-108 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center Saturday afternoon.

JJ Redick, who struggled for much of the game, hit a huge three to give the Sixers a 107-106 lead with 50 seconds left. Then Joe Harris, who has had a nightmare of a series, hit a backdoor layup with 25 seconds left to give Brooklyn a 108-107 lead.

Mike Scott, who also hasn’t had the best series, nailed a corner three with 18.6 left to put the Sixers up 110-108. The Sixers then smothered Jarrett Allen underneath as Ben Simmons just ripped the ball out of his hands. Tobias Harris hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.

Listed as doubtful coming in, Embiid was spectacular in every aspect of the game and willed his team to a win.

The Sixers will have a chance to punch their ticket to the second round Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Here are observations from the win:

• We were waiting for this series to get a little extra physical and we got that and then some in the third quarter. Embiid committed a hard foul on Allen. Then Jared Dudley went after Embiid. Jimmy Butler then came to the defense of Embiid and shoved Dudley.

When the dust settled, Embiid got called for a dubious Flagrant 1 foul and Butler and Dudley were both given double technicals and ejected. That’s a trade-off the Nets will take any day of the week. Butler was having a strong game up until that point as well. The Sixers also could’ve used Butler in the fourth quarter with the game still close.

• We should all probably stop guessing whether Embiid is going to play. He played and looked strong early. He made his first two buckets from the top of the key and hit a midrange jumper and short hook shot. He made two sensational passes out of double teams, finding two open corner threes — a Scott miss and Butler make. It’s something Embiid has improved on tremendously.

Defensively, this guy is just ridiculous. The combo of Simmons and Embiid in the pick-and-roll on defense hasn’t ended well for the Nets in this series. Embiid had three blocks in the first half alone. He played just 10 minutes and was a plus-8 before halftime.

He was phenomenal Saturday, finishing with 31 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks and seven assists in 31 minutes.

The chemistry between the pair was strong again on offense as Embiid spotted Simmons on doubles multiple times. Simmons was solid again, recording 15 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

• Nets coach Kenny Atkinson knows he’s not going to win a defensive battle with the Sixers. With that in mind, he inserted Caris LeVert into the starting lineup. LeVert scored the first bucket of the game on his way to 11 first-quarter points. He gave Brooklyn juice early on, helping the Nets get out to a nine-point lead after one.

LeVert (25 points) and reserve guard Spencer Dinwiddie (18 points) sparked the Nets in a big way, while D’Angelo Russell (6 of 19 for 21 points) and Joe Harris (4 of 14 for 10 points) continued to struggle.

The other change was inserting Dudley. It was a much smaller starting five without DeMarre Carroll and Rodions Kurucs. Dudley and Simmons did share some words after an early timeout, but nothing came out of it.

• It’s noticeable that Brett Brown has listened more and more to his players. You saw a bunch of pick-and-rolls with Butler and Harris featured as the ball handlers. It’s not a staple of Brown’s offense, but it is something both Butler and Harris excel in. It’s also something the Nets struggle to defend.

Both players got off to strong starts, as Harris posted a team-high 14 points in the first half and Butler had 11. They had three assists each as well.

Harris seems to be getting more and more time at the point, and he seems to be relishing that role. He had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He was 0 for 4 from three after hitting 6 of 6 in Game 3.

• Unfortunately, Boban Marjanovic came back down to earth early on in this one. Brooklyn was able to expose him, most noticeably Allen, who hasn’t matched up against Marjanovic much. This was Allen’s most productive game of the series. The second-year big had 21 points.

In a game in which the Sixers seemed very wary of Embiid’s minutes in the first half, Brown had trouble finding a solution with Marjanovic struggling. Rookie Jonah Bolden came in and looked like a rookie —  he played three minutes and was a minus-6. Greg Monroe didn’t fare much better in his quick stint.

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Nike knock-offs and 'Jesus Shoes' — the strange and fickle sneaker world

Nike knock-offs and 'Jesus Shoes' — the strange and fickle sneaker world

The sneaker world can be a strange and fickle place. One minute you’re plunking down beaucoup bucks for the shoes you’ve been saving for, the next minute you find out your prized kicks are actually knock-offs from the black market.


Image credit: NBC News

Hey, it happens more often than you think. That scenario unfolded just this past week when almost 15,000 pairs of fake Nikes didn’t make it through customs at LA/Long Beach Seaport! A smooth $2 million plus of fake Off-White Jordan 1’s, Jordan 12’s, Jordan 11’s and Air Max ’97’s, all shipped from China in two containers labeled napkins.

You would probably need two containers of napkins to dry your tears if you put up a stack and a half for a pair of shoes that turned out to be just some Bobos with a fake swoosh. Ugh.

On the flip side, even when you are at an authentic retailer or website — deftly prepared with your credit card information at the ready, not even a freshly refreshed website is the right formula to bring home the shoes you’ve been plotting on for weeks, months or even years.


Image credit: Jesus Shoes Lookbook

Take, for instance, the $3,000 “Jesus Shoes” Brooklyn-based MSCHF put out last Tuesday, which sold out in mere minutes. The designers bought less than two dozen pairs of white Air Max 97’s for retail price, then transformed them by adding holy water blessed from the Jordan River (with some dye added to make the color more vibrant) in the sole of the shoe. They inscribed a Bible scripture in the side (Matthew 14:25, which chronicles Jesus walking on water) and added a mock blood drop on the tongue of the shoe to signify the blood of Christ. Not to mention, a crucifix interspliced through the laces, a red sole to mimic the red shoes worn by many popes and some type of frankincense accent. Crazy.

I personally have about a $200 budget on any pair of sneakers, so you won’t see me paying for wheels that go above $220 retail. Good luck to all of you who back up the Brinks truck for those crispy grails and the hypebeasts who live on the resale market and buy out releases in minutes.

May your toe box never crease and your laces stay clean.

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Sixers are No. 1 in Zach Lowe's NBA League Pass Rankings for second year in a row

Sixers are No. 1 in Zach Lowe's NBA League Pass Rankings for second year in a row

The upcoming NBA season promises to be an entertaining one. Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are among the new arrivals in Los Angeles, Russell Westbrook is teaming up with James Harden in Houston and Zion Williamson is poised to rock rims.

And, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the most watchable team in the league this season is the Sixers. They're No. 1 in his NBA League Pass Rankings for the second consecutive season. The Lakers, Bucks, Clippers and Nuggets round out the top-five teams. 

Lowe's rankings grade each team in five categories: Zeitgeist, highlight potential, style, League Pass minutiae and unintentional comedy.

What makes the Sixers deserving of the No. 1 spot?

The Sixers are so weird, big, goofy and loaded with personality -- well, one mega-personality -- they repeat as League Pass champions despite losing the high-wattage curiosity factor of Markelle Fultz," Lowe writes. "I didn't think it was possible.

Lowe goes on to call Joel Embiid "the best trash-talker in the league," raise some interesting questions about how the team's gargantuan starting lineup will play together and highlight "exciting prospects" Matisse Thybulle and Zhaire Smith.

He doesn't even mention Mike Scott, who's hit a game-winning shot during the playoffs, taken a sip of a fan's beverage during a live game and said at media day that, while he's "not trying to be an enforcer ... when the bulls---- happens, I just react on that." There's also James "Ennis the Menace" Ennis, who savors attacking the offensive glass and said this summer the Sixers "can walk to the Finals in the East," and Kyle O'Quinn, who throws delicate bounce passes and enjoys attending Bar Mitzvahs.

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