Considering the Nets have been outrebounded by the 76ers 153-120 in the first three games of their first-round playoff series and have given up 64 second-chance points to the Sixers on 46 offensive rebounds, the news that backup center Ed Davis will miss Game 4 Saturday afternoon at Barclays Center is about the worst they could get.
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson ruled Davis out with a sprained left ankle after previously spraining his right ankle in Game 1. “That’s the first time I’m hearing it, but we’re going to have to figure it out either way,” starting center Jarrett Allen said. “Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson], Jared Dudley, whoever’s going to play the five, they’re going to have to step up their game the way we all do.”
Davis had 12 points and 16 rebounds in the Nets’ Game 1 victory. But he was limited in Game 2 by the sprained right ankle and played barely 10 minutes of Game 3 after turning his left ankle. The Nets lost both.
“We’ll have to adjust,” Atkinson said. “We’ve done it all year, and Rondae has given us some real positive minutes with his speed. It’s not like we don’t have someone that can step in and help.”
Atkinson said the Sixers have been crashing four or five players to the offensive glass, which is new wrinkle. “They’re flying in from the three-point line,” Atkinson said. “I told the guys, ‘If you’re not hitting somebody, you’re doing something wrong.' We need to hit a guy on every play, and we’re just not doing it right now.”
The Nets got a break in Game 3 when 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid sat out with a sore left knee. If Embiid returns and 7-3 backup center Boban Marjanovic continues his strong play, the Nets will miss the five or six fouls Davis provides.
“Ed, when he fouls, he fouls hard,” Allen said. “He’s sending the message of physicality. We’re going to miss that.”