Jared Dudley

A look back at a Sixers playoff game that had everything

A look back at a Sixers playoff game that had everything

As NBC Sports Philadelphia prepares to re-air it tonight (7 p.m.), we look back on Game 4 of Sixers-Nets in Brooklyn on April 20, 2019.

There was a fight. There was a superstar playing like a superstar. There was clutch shooting. There was also an all-time quote postgame.

Game 4 in Brooklyn had everything you could want from an NBA playoff game.

The Barclays Center didn’t seem like it was ready for postseason basketball last year. The media overflow was forced to watch the game in seats usually reserved for fans.

After three mostly uneventful games, likely nobody was ready for what was ahead in Game 4 of last year’s Sixers-Nets first-round playoff series.

If you’ll recall, it felt like you had a better chance of winning the Powerball than guessing Joel Embiid’s status correctly. The All-Star center was dealing with left knee tendinitis that caused him to play in just 10 of the last 24 games down the stretch.

He was doubtful in Game 1 and played. Questionable in Game 2 and played. Questionable in Game 3 and didn’t play. It became a routine to watch Embiid’s pregame warmup and attempt to guess if he’d play based on how he looked. By Game 4, we’d all given up guessing.

Coming into the contest, he was listed as doubtful … and played at an otherworldly level.

He played just 10 minutes in the first half but posted three blocks and was a plus-8 with the Sixers trailing by six at halftime. Brett Brown tried using Boban Marjanovic, Jonah Bolden and Greg Monroe as Embiid’s backup. It didn’t go well.

Then in the second half, Jared Dudley’s status as public enemy No. 1 in Philadelphia was cemented. Dudley, who made some inflammatory comments about Ben Simmons that appeared to fire the All-Star point guard up, was in the middle of things yet again.

Young center Jarrett Allen had trouble with Embiid’s size and physicality in the series. With 7:42 remaining in the third, Embiid was called for a Flagrant 1 foul on Allen for the second time in the series. Dudley took exception and ran up and shoved Embiid from behind.

Then all hell broke loose.

Jimmy Butler stepped in and shoved Dudley as a brawl broke out. The melee got so intense that it spilled into the front row of the crowd. After the dust settled, Butler and Dudley were both ejected — a trade off the Nets won by a large margin. That set up Mike Scott’s late-game heroics.

But before that, the game became all about Embiid and the Sixers’ lockdown defense. Still trailing by six going into the fourth, Embiid was an absolute monster on both ends, scoring in the post and not letting Brooklyn get anything going. He finished with 31 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists and six blocks. The only other player to put up that stat line in the postseason since blocks became an official stat is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

"You take 7-foot-2," Brown said postgame, "and you have that sort of dynamic personality and kind of the way you live your life and play basketball and you’re completely physical and highly competitive. It produces environments like that. 

“As his coach, you kind of wouldn’t trade it for much. It’s a rare combination that he has with his skill and his personality and his sort of innate competitiveness.”

The Sixers allowed just 17 points in the fourth quarter but still found themselves down one with 25 seconds left. Scott, who found himself closing out the game with Butler back in the locker room, took on Butler’s role as the Sixers’ closer. On a broken play, Embiid found Scott in the corner who banged home a three to put the Sixers up two with 19.7 second left.

That also gave us a classic Mike Scott quote:

My job was just to space the floor and be a decoy. Tobias [Harris] tried to get it to Jo and I think the pass got deflected. Jo made a hell of a hustle play, saw me in the corner … cashed out.

Ben Simmons, who was a monster defensively and tormented All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell throughout the entire series, ripped the ball out of Allen’s hands with 4.8 seconds left. Harris, who poured in 24 points, then made two free throws to seal a 112-108 victory.

This was the type of win that propels a team to go on a run. A couple nights later at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers smothered the Nets from the opening tip to close out the series and had the look of a team ready to go on a roll.

And they may have if not for a few — four to be exact — unlucky bounces.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers 122, Nets 100: Emphatically advancing to second round of NBA playoffs with Game 5 rout

Sixers 122, Nets 100: Emphatically advancing to second round of NBA playoffs with Game 5 rout

BOX SCORE

Wow.

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.

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.

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.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers fans greet Jared Dudley with loud boos at Game 5 in Philadelphia

Sixers fans greet Jared Dudley with loud boos at Game 5 in Philadelphia

Ah, Jared Dudley, welcome (back) to our great city of Philadelphia. It’s a great city, is it not? We like to think so.

Dudley probably doesn’t think so. 

Our wonderful city of Brotherly Love is always happy to show some Brotherly Love, unless you’ve offended us. Then, be prepared to pay the price.

Everything but Brotherly Love was shown to Dudley Tuesday evening at Game 5 of the Sixers-Nets series, apparent from the raining chorus of boos he got for his pregame introduction.

It was not exactly a warm welcome. It’s clear that Philadelphia fans have come for personal retribution after he offended the entire population of Philadelphia. 

Hear it for yourself below. 



I mean, he pretty much had it coming. The rest of the team got a little something, too.

Let’s gather the evidence. He’s offended nearly all of us, after attacking our precious, seven-plus-foot, franchise center unwarranted, to insulting our glory boy first overall draft pick and Rookie of the Year and to being a general nuisance. Hope sacrificing yourself to start a fight to get Jimmy Butler ejected in Game 4 was worth it, Dudley. 

Fans didn’t stop at the chorus of boos, however, as they took to other means to heckle Dudley.

Even Franlkin the mascot got in on the Dudley hate parade.

Welcome back, Dudley, here’s to hopefully never seeing you around here again this season.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers