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PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers blocks the shot of Mikal Bridges #1 of the Brooklyn Nets in the second quarter during Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 15, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Sixers took game 1 of the best-of-seven series, defeating the visiting Brooklyn Nets by 20, 121-101. Game 2 takes place tonight at 7:30. 

Plenty of positives to take away from the playoff opener on Saturday evening. Let’s begin with as a team they shot 43 threes, making 21 of them for 48.8 percent. An outstanding shooting display by Philadelphia. Point guard James Harden hit on seven of his 13 attempts for a game-best. 

The next positive was protecting the basketball. Something that’s discussed with the team often and could be a detriment. But the 76ers were fantastic with just nine turnovers while forcing 21 by the Nets. Leading to 31 points the other way. If they can continue to keep the turnovers to a minimum, things should be ok going forward.   

Third, 32 assists on 42 made baskets by Philadelphia is a phenomenal outing for any team but it was nice to see the sharing of the ball throughout the night by the home team. This team is much deeper than any in the past and that’s why it was put together this way for a potential deep run – multiple scorers, multiple options, versatility and unselfish play is the ingredient for team success. That’s what was on full display as a unit. Harden led all with 13 dimes in the game. 

And finally, hitting the boards. 14 offensive rebounds leading to 21 points on 8 for 14 shooting after gaining those extra possessions. PJ Tucker collected five offensive boards with two each from Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and Paul Reed. They were relentless on the glass allowing them to outshoot their opponent in field goal attempts 89 to 70. That’s a big margin. 


The Nets were led by Mikal Bridges’ 30 points on 12 of 18 shooting and was fantastic. The issue for Brooklyn was that while Bridges had it going in the first half, they were unable to get him going in the second with just two shot attempts, making both. Philadelphia seemed to change a few things defensively to prevent his shot-making from continuing and the Nets didn’t appear to have an answer for it. We’ll see what adjustments will be made on both sides. Cam Johnson was second on the team in scoring with 18, connecting on four made threes on six tries, Spencer Dinwiddie shot 5 for 12 from the floor for 14 points with seven assists… turning the ball over four times. Seth Curry came off the bench to score 10 points. 

As a team the Nets shot it well from the field at 55.7 percent but being a minus-19 in field goal attempts and a minus-seven in three-point makes (13) could lead to what we saw as the end result on Saturday afternoon. 

Probable Starters for Game 2: 

PHI: Embiid, Harris, Tucker, Maxey, and Harden 

BKN: Claxton, Cam Johnson, Finney-Smith, Bridges, and Dinwiddie 

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