To say the Sixers suffocated Brooklyn Tuesday night would imply the Nets ever had the ability to breathe.
With a chance to end their first-round series, the Sixers scored the first 14 points of the game and never let up in a 122-100 win over Brooklyn at the Wells Fargo Center in Game 5.
It was a truly dominating effort, as the Sixers held the Nets to 38.7 percent shooting. The Sixers, who won four straight after dropping Game 1, had 35 assists on 51 made field goals.
They’ll move on to the second round to take on the Toronto Raptors, who closed out their series against the Orlando Magic in a similar fashion Tuesday.
Here are observations from the series clincher:
• Coming into Tuesday night’s game, the Sixers’ starting five had the best offensive, defensive and net rating among any five-man lineup that’s played at least 30 minutes together this postseason. Those numbers only went up.
It started the game on a 14-0 run, completely smothering the Nets. Brooklyn missed its first nine shots and turned the ball over five times in the first quarter. In the first half, the Sixers’ starters outscored the Nets, 31-2.
Brooklyn scored 15 points in first quarter and just 16 in the second. The 31 points is tied for the fewest the Sixers have ever given up in a half in the playoffs. The 29-point lead was the biggest halftime advantage in team history. The team got a standing ovation heading to the locker room.
While the Sixers were definitely swarming in this one, it looked like their thrilling comeback win Saturday took Brooklyn’s hearts.
• There’s been concern over the fit between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid since the Sixers drafted Simmons. In their second postseason run together, it appears they’re starting to figure it out.
Embiid dominated in the post while Simmons took his opportunities in transition. The most encouraging thing to see is how Embiid is finding Simmons out of double teams. So often it’s Simmons’ man that will come to help on Embiid. Simmons is finding the open spaces and Embiid is finding Simmons out of the double.
There were even times when Embiid cut off Simmons and got easy looks.
OH JO CAME TO PLAY.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 24, 2019
Simmons finds a sprinting Embiid for the crowd-pleasing jam as the big fella gets off to a hot start with six points and five boards in just around two minutes. pic.twitter.com/4HqHELh1i0
Embiid continued his strong play from Game 4, putting up 23 points and 13 rebounds in 20 minutes. He’s looked physically better in each game he’s played and was the most dominant player on the floor for the majority of the series.
He was given a technical in the first quarter for pointing at Rondae Hollis-Jefferson after this thunderous baseline dunk.
JoJo turned and pointed at his latest victim. 😂— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 24, 2019
(He is issued a tech for this.) pic.twitter.com/iggvAH3fg2
Simmons’ rough Game 1 seems like an awfully long time ago. The All-Star point guard finished with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds in just 27 minutes.
• If you were wondering what it would look like if all five of the Sixers' starters were on offensively in the same game, you got a glimpse Tuesday.
On top of strong performances by Embiid and Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick were all good. The entire unit went 28 of 53 (53 percent). Butler was the only player that shot below 50 percent, but he was on another level in this one, especially on the defensive end with three steals and a block.
• D’Angelo Russell is going to see Simmons in his nightmares this summer. Russell was an All-Star this season and had given the Sixers plenty of trouble. Not so much in this series.
Russell was shooting below 40 percent for the series coming in and went just 3 of 16 in Game 5. There was plenty of fear over the dangerous guard duo of Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, but neither player ever truly went off. Much of the credit has to go to Simmons who was active and engaged throughout the series.
• Reserve forward Mike Scott pulled up limping late in the second quarter, forcing Brett Brown to use a timeout. Scott left the game and did not return with a right heel contusion.
• We did get a little excitement to end the game as rookie Jonah Bolden and Rodions Kurucs got tangled up with less than two minutes left. Bolden blocked Kurucs’ shot and while the two were tangled up, Kurucs took a little shot at Bolden. Bolden charged at Kurucs while the official was trying to break up the scrap. Players for both teams gathered at half court.
Bolden, Kurucs, Greg Monroe and Dzanan Musa were all ejected for their parts in the incident.
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