The Brooklyn Nets stunned the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 on their first-round series on Saturday, defeating them by a final score of 111-102.
It took a team effort to get it done for the Nets, as six players scored in double figures. D'Angelo Russell led the way with 24 points, while Caris LeVert (23 points), Spencer Dinwiddie (18 points) and Ed Davis (12 points, 16 rebounds) each came up big off the bench.
For the 76ers, Jimmy Butler scored a playoff career-high 34 points, but he didn't receive much help. The All-Star duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid combined to shoot 9-for-24 from the field and Tobias Harris scored only four points.
For more on the game, here are four takeaways...
An off-game for Joel Embiid
Embiid was questionable heading into Game 1 with a knee injury, but he was a late addition to the lineup.
While he came out of the gates strong - Embiid attempted seven free throws in his first four-minute stint and drew two crucial fouls on Nets starting centre Jarrett Allen - he quickly cooled off. He entered halftime shooting 1-for-9 from the field, including 0-for-5 from 3-point range.
Instead of using his size advantage to punish the Nets down low, Embiid continued to settle for 3-pointers in the first half - perhaps a sign that he doesn't quite trust the knee that he says has given him trouble since All-Star Weekend.
Embiid is a capable 3-point shooter, but he is coming off of a season in which he shot a career-worst 30.0 percent from deep. The Nets will likely live with him taking those shots, even wide open ones if it means he isn't putting pressure on them in the paint, which is when he's at his best.
Embiid ended up playing only 10 minutes in the first half and the 76ers were outscored by 15 points with him on the court.
Embiid played better in the second half, but it wasn't enough for the 76ers to mount a comeback. He ended the game with 22 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks and four assists on 5-for-15 shooting from the field in 24 minutes of action.
Jimmy Butler stands tall
When the 76ers made the trade to acquire Jimmy Butler earlier this season, it was with the playoffs in mind.
Joel Embiid was hobbled, Ben Simmons was non-existent, but Butler put the team on his back in moments throughout the game trying to change the direction of Game 1.
Unfortunately for him and the 76ers, it wasn't enough to bring home a victory.
Butler finished with a playoff career-high 36 points and nine rebounds, shooting 50% from the field. Whenever the 76ers needed a bucket, they called on their emotional leader and he delivered.
It's a long series and despite giving up home-court advantage, Butler showed that he can be the dynamic player Philadelphia is hoping he'll be for their playoff run.
Game 2 will be the biggest game of the year for the 76ers - as must-win as it gets this early in the playoffs. If Butler can bring the same energy and intensity he had on Saturday afternoon for Game 2 of the series, expect Philadelphia to tie things back up at 1-1.
Dinwiddie, LeVert and the Nets' bench
Much was made of the lack of depth that the 76ers possess. Not enough was made about the advantage the Nets have with their second unit.
The Nets bench finished the regular season ranked second in the league in scoring, averaging 47.8 points per game. Only the Los Angeles Clippers got more from their bench than the Nets did - and they have a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Lou Williams.
Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert combined for 41 of Brooklyn's franchise playoff-record 59 bench points.
The Nets kept it simple with both Dinwiddie and LeVert - spread the 76ers out and attack the team's weakest defender, whomever that was on the floor.
They were phenomenal in the first half while D'Angelo Russell struggled to get going in his first playoff game. Their play allowed the Nets' best player to finally get comfortable and help finish off the Game 1 upset.
If the Nets want to get greedy in Game 2, expect their bench to once again make some noise.
Poor 76ers shooting
3-point shooting is one of the biggest reasons why the Nets are now up 1-0 in the series. Whereas Brooklyn made 11 of its 26 shot attempts from deep in Game 1, Philadelphia went a miserable 3-for-25.
Joe Harris (3-4), D'Angelo Russell (2-6), Spencer Dinwiddie (2-5) and Caris LeVert (3-3) each made multiple from deep for the Nets. Jimmy Butler (1-3), JJ Redick (1-4) and Mike Scott (1-8), meanwhile, were the only players on the 76ers to hit a shot from the perimeter.
Joel Embiid went 0-for-5, while Tobias Harris and Jonathon Simmons missed both of their 3-point attempts.
Additionally, the Nets made 24 of their 26 free throw attempts compared to 29 of 42 for the 76ers.
The combination proved to be too much for the 76ers to overcome.