PLAYER GRADES: Philadelphia 76ers 112, Brooklyn Nets 108

Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers escaped the Barclays Center winning both games as they hold a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Brooklyn Nets. Saturday afternoon was a perfect representation of what the Sixers has been often times since they revamped their roster at the trade deadline: a team who can compensate for their flaws with outstanding talent.

It was the first nail-biter of the series. It was the first game that maintained playoff level intensity for 48 minutes.

Perhaps the Nets woke up a sleeping giant. In the third quarter, Joel Embiid fouled Nets center Jarrett Allen on what appeared to be a hard foul at first glance. It turned out that Embiid got more ball than body, but Allen took a hard fall. Jared Dudley did not take kindly to that.

The 12-year vet shoved Embiid and was soon hit with a push himself by Jimmy Butler. This led to what was a near-dangerous brawl, but nothing violent ensued. Dudley and Butler were both ejected from the game and Embiid was charged with a flagrant one.

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This series of events sparked the crowd at the game as well as the fans watching from the television. It was the atmosphere that makes playoff basketball the best thing about the spring season.

The Philadelphia 76ers showed tremendous heart with their ability to perform late in a hostile road environment. The way they closed out the game has to leave the organization and fans with a sweet taste in their mouths.

For three quarters, the Nets had too much offense. Shots seemed to fall with ease. The Sixers struggled to keep up and seize control.

The key was the fourth quarter. The superstar, Joel Embiid, put up 12 of his 31 points late and had several key blocks to add.

Perimeter shooting appeared to be the downfall of this team in Game 4. That was true until crunch time.

With fifty seconds remaining, JJ Redick received a Ben Simmons pass and hit a three point shot to take a 107-106 lead. The Nets answered with a Joe Harris layup at the 25-second mark.

After a Joel Embiid near-turnover, the big man kicked it out to Mike Scott in the corner for three-pointer. This gave the Sixers a lead they would keep until the clock ran out.

It was a chippy game with lots of concerns. But it is playoff basketball. Those concerns become much less alarming when you put a team on the brink of elimination heading back home.

Shoutouts to Caris LeVert who put on the performance of his life. The shooting guard had 25 points along with 6 assists and 5 rebounds. He was able to effortlessly reach his spots and he was clearly the best player wearing a black uniform. Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, and D’Angelo Russell also performed well enough to show why the Brooklyn Nets are a promising, exciting young bunch.

A. <strong>32 mins | 31 pts | 16 reb | 7 ast | 2 stl | 6 blk | 5 TO | 12-22 FG | 1-3 3PT| 6-6 FT | 3 PF | +18 |</strong><p> </p><p>If his knee was bothering him before the game, then he did a great job of overcoming the pain. Embiid put the team on his back late and showed the world why he is a superstar. His offensive dominance and defensive prowess make him a non-solvable problem for most, if not all opponents. The most jarring stat is the six blocks. He is a monster down low.</p>. Center. Philadelphia 76ers. JOEL EMBIID

A. <strong>43 mins | 24 pts | 8 reb | 6 ast | 1 stl | 1 blk | 0 TO | 10-20 FG | 0-4 3PT| 4-6 FT | 1 PF | +5 |</strong><p>Despite going 0-4 from beyond the arc, Harris is a mismatch on offense. His size makes him tough to guard and his ability to shoot over defenders makes him a a force with the ball in his hands. His two free throws with less than five seconds remaining sealed the deal. Harris has seemed to comfortably find his role on this team</p>. Power forward. Philadelphia 76ers. TOBIAS HARRIS

BEN SIMMONS. B-. <strong>39 mins | 15 pts | 8 reb | 8 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 4 TO | 7-12 FG | 0-0 3PT| 0-0 FT | 4 PF | +8 |</strong><p>Simmons gets a B- because we did not see the same aggression that he put on display in the last two games. It came in spots, but there were teams that he seemed content with simply being on the court. He made shots when needed and his ability to run the offense after Butler’s ejection kept the Sixers afloat.</p>. Point guard. Philadelphia 76ers

C+. <strong>24 mins | 11 pts | 4 reb | 4 ast | 2 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 4-6 FG | 1-2 3PT| 2-2 FT | 0 PF | – 4 |</strong><p>Butler did not deserve the ejection. It should have been Dudley and nobody else. Aside from that fact, it was Butler’s actions that sparked this team. As mentioned earlier, a sleeping giant was awakened. Butler’s willingness to ride and fight for his teammates is what any serious contender needs. He gets the C+ for reasons other than statistics.</p>. Small forward. Philadelphia 76ers. JIMMY BUTLER

Power forward. Philadelphia 76ers. MIKE SCOTT. C+. <strong>    27 mins | 8 pts | 8 reb | 0 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 0 TO | 3-6 FG | 2-4 3PT| 0-0 FT | 3 PF | – 3 |</strong><p>Scott was silent for most of this game. His rebounding and defense are always valuable but his offense made little impact, especially in comparison to some of the hot-hand games he has delivered since arriving in Philadelphia. That being said, it was his late three-point shot that put the Sixers up with under five seconds. It was a big time, clutch bucket that might serve as the dagger in this series.</p>

The Sixers outscored the Nets 27-17 in the fourth quarter. It was the antithesis of what has plagued them in many games throughout the regular season. The closing minutes, the clutch moments, the late game heroics. They remained cool and did what they had to.

There is a chance that Jared Dudley may face a suspension for Game 5. Butler may face one himself or a possible fine.

Saturday afternoon’s contest illustrated how important J.J. Redick can be to this team. The shooting guard hit two early three-point shots and was nowhere to be found until the last minute of the game. He is their main floor spacer and one of their main big-shot makers. The defense is not forced to spread out when Redick is cold, leaving the paint clogged for a team that does not have many snipers on the roster.

The two issues that need to be fixed are the turnovers and the complacent tendencies. There were too many instances where their poor passes were picked off or their dribbles were easily stolen. Talent can outweigh the errors against a team like the Nets. But in later rounds when the Raptors, Bucks, and Celtics are all possible opponents with better talent, the Sixers will need to clean up their act. Brett Brown needs to address these problems because these other teams are more equipped to capitalize.

Next. Brett Brown most to lose of playoff coaches. dark

Game 5 will take place 8 PM E.T. at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The Sixers will look to close the series out and await the winner of the Raptors-Magic series.