D’Angelo Russell flashed some postseason magic, taking part in like the All-Star chief the Nets wanted with 26 factors, and Caris LeVert scored 23 to guide the visiting Nets to a 111-102 win on Saturday in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff collection.
Jimmy Butler scored 36 factors and saved the third-seeded Sixers, favored by many to no less than attain the East semifinals, from shedding by 25. Joel Embiid slogged his means by 24 minutes on a bum left knee that price him a lot of the final month of the season, managing 22 factors and 15 rebounds. Ben Simmons got here up small in opposition to Russell, his highschool teammate, who scored 19 second-half factors.
Russell, LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie gave the Sixers matches off the dribble, buried open seems to be from Three-point vary, and a workforce that acquired sizzling late simply to make the playoffs instantly has the higher hand on the highway over a 51-win workforce stocked with stars.
“I think earlier in the season, especially when we were struggling, we’d lose games like that,” Nets Coach Kenny Atkinson mentioned.
With Philadelphia behind by 16 late in the fourth quarter, Amir Johnson was caught by tv cameras sitting on the bench and scrolling by his telephone. Johnson, who was inactive for the sport, confirmed Embiid no matter message was on the telephone and then slid the gadget into his warm-up pants pocket.
“I just looked down because he said his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on her,” Embiid mentioned.
Johnson issued an apology after the sport, and the Sixers fined him an unspecified quantity. It was a becoming episode in a sport that the Sixers appeared to telephone in.
Russell hit a string of jumpers in the third quarter that by no means let the Sixers critically chip away at the lead. LeVert’s third Three-pointer in the fourth made it a 16-point sport, and there was no wanting again for certainly one of the largest wins since the sixth-seeded Nets moved to Brooklyn.
“I trust our offense; we got great minds behind it,” Russell mentioned. “Coach set us up earlier this season with a routine and recipe for the offense, and it’s been flowing ever since.”
Embiid heard chants of “M.V.P.” when he opened the sport with two free throws. But he didn’t appear able to play an All-Star stage for any substantial size of time. He was hit with a technical when he shoved Jared Dudley to the floor, and he went again to the locker room for extra therapy with about three minutes left in the first half.
The Nets had been all however unstoppable for a lot of the first half. Dinwiddie and DeMarre Carroll made consecutive Three-pointers throughout a 12-Zero run. LeVert hit two straight 3s for a 14-point lead, and the Sixers had been soundly booed off the courtroom by 20,000 followers at Wells Fargo Center.
“We all got to do a better job,” Embiid mentioned. “Us. The fans. We have to bring the fun.”
MAGIC 104, RAPTORS 101 D. J. Augustin scored 25 factors, together with the tiebreaking Three-pointer with Three.5 seconds left, and seventh-seeded Orlando received at second-seeded Toronto in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round collection.
Kawhi Leonard, who led the Raptors with 25 factors, acquired a remaining shot however missed the rim together with his Three-pointer from the prime.
The Raptors are actually 2-14 in playoff collection openers.
WALTON TO COACH KINGS One day after parting methods with the Los Angeles Lakers, Luke Walton reached an settlement on a four-year deal to educate the Sacramento Kings, based on an individual conversant in the deal who was not approved to debate it publicly.
Magic Johnson abruptly resigned as Lakers president this week partly as a result of he didn’t wish to undergo with firing Walton, as had been anticipated round the N.B.A. for weeks. On Friday, Walton and the Lakers mutually agreed to half methods with two seasons left on his contract — with Walton realizing that the Kings, after firing Coach Dave Joerger on Thursday, had been keen to rent him.
The Lakers have the former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and the Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams at their prime of their listing to succeed Walton. Lue coached the Lakers’ LeBron James for 2 and a half seasons in Cleveland.
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