PHILADELPHIA — If the Nets’ Game 1 victory over the 76ers on Saturday came as a wake-up call, the home team certainly responded to the alarm voiced by their angry fans in resounding fashion with a dominating 145-123 victory in Game 2 Monday night at Wells Fargo Center. A one-point game at halftime turned into a blowout of epic proportions when the 76ers clobbered the Nets with a 51-point third-quarter barrage.
In the third quarter, the 76ers shot 72.0 percent from the field (18-for-25), outrebounded the Nets 15-4, recorded 11 assists and had three players score in double figures for the period — 13 by Joel Embiid, 12 by Tobias Harris and 10 by Mike Scott.
The series is tied 1-1 and moves up I-95 to Barclays Center for Game 3 Thursday night.
“They picked up their intensity defensively,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I thought they did a fantastic job, got into us with extreme physicality, denied us, held us, pushed us. I thought we did a good job of kind of holding the fort in the first half. In the third quarter, we didn’t really respond. That was really the story of the game, that third quarter.”
The Nets trailed by as many as 13 points in the second quarter but fought back to tie the score at 64 just before the end of the first half and trailed by one at halftime.
Atkinson said the Nets expected the 76ers to throw a haymaker after losing the first game at home.
The first one came in the second period when Embiid decked Nets center Jarrett Allen with an elbow to the chops and was hit with a flagrant one technical that easily could have been elevated to a flagrant two and an ejection. The Nets’ Rodions Kurucs later received a flagrant one for a forearm to the face of Simmons.
“I think [76ers coach Brett Brown] said before the series it was going to be a fistfight, and they threw a couple punches,” Atkinson said. “No comment on the call, but very, very physical. It’s a great experience for our guys to understand what playoff basketball is all about. We have to respond. They dominated us in the paint and they dominated us on the boards.”
The knockout punch came at the outset of the third quarter when Embiid scored 11 points in a 24-4 76ers run that pushed their one-point lead to 89-68.
A 23-9 burst, including 10 points from Scott, near the end of the third quarter with Embiid and Simmons on the bench ballooned the 76ers’ lead to 112-83, and it was game over.
Embiid had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Harris scored 19 and Simmons had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.
Spencer Dinwiddie had 19 points for the Nets. D’Angelo Russell scored 16 but had four turnovers.
“They got multiple stops in a row, and we couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Russell said. “It just snowballed. We looked up and it was kind of out of reach. Give credit to them. They played hard. Their intensity was a little higher. We’ve got to come back and match it at home.”
The 76ers also did a good defensive job on Joe Harris, limiting him to four points and four shot attempts. “I think they did a good job being more aggressive,” he said. “Obviously, DLo is our focal point offensively. Everything really flows through him, and we expected them to be a lot more aggressive defensively. Ben did a really good job denying him and making things difficult on him.”