Nets 76ers Basketball
(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

They did it. The Brooklyn Nets pulled off the huge upset in Game 1 of their first-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Matt Brooks

  • Brooklyn Nets 111 (1-0)
  • Philadelphia 76ers 102 (0-1)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

“Brooooklyn! Brooooklyn!”

That’s what the remaining fans were chanting as time expired at the Wells Fargo Center. At this point, most of Philadelphia’s fans had piled out of the stadium. (At the three-minute mark, too! Really, Philly?)

Much like the team they supported—the only fans left standing was a group of scrappy Brooklyn Nets.

I’ll be honest, when this game tipped off, I didn’t have high hopes. Brooklyn—the clear underdog in this series—was forced to play on the road in front of a boisterous and motivated Philly crowd. Moreover, Brooklyn was at a clear disadvantage when it comes to pure talent. With more playoff experience than the first-time Nets, Philly seemed like the “well, duh” choice to take Game 1.

That “well, duh” quickly evaporated into an “oh, no” for Philadelphia.

Brooklyn’s defense came out swarming from the second the ball was tipped. I’ve watched this Brooklyn team for 82 games this season, but I really don’t know if I’ve seen a better holistic defensive performance from this group of guys.

Within three minutes of play, it was evident that Jarrett Allen would be unplayable for the duration of Game One. Allen, who picked up three quick fouls early in the first, was utterly overmatched by Joel Embiid‘s physicality.

Kenny Atkinson quickly stepped in and inserted wily veteran, Ed Davis, in the second-year center’s place.

Davis showed just how valuable he is, bodying up Philly’s best player and making him work for every possession. Embiid, who was a game-time decision and may have been playing on one leg, still finished with 22 points and 15 boards. Here’s the thing though: he did on 5-for-15 shooting.

Let’s be honest though, the real MVP on defense was Jared Dudley. Dudley was everywhere during the matinee game, picking up charges with vigor while putting his body on the line. I hate to give one player credit considering basketball is a team sport, but Dud might have single handily taken Ben Simmons out of the game.

Dudley, understanding Simmons’ issues with shooting, sagged off the 6-foot-10 point guard during every single transition possession. Simmons—incapable of pulling up for a jumper much less a floater—repeatedly panicked and either a) turned the ball over, b) took a contested layup or c) passed the ball behind him uselessly to a trailer.

Let’s talk about the offense because Brooklyn wasn’t too shabby on that side of the ball either.

Kenny Atkinson (who send an apology letter to Brett Brown for just how badly he outcoached him) clearly drilled in Philadelphia’s defensive inefficiencies to his players.

Brooklyn’s guards laid the absolute smackdown on Philly’s porous backcourt defense. I’m honestly shocked that neither one of Caris LeVert or Spencer Dinwiddie physically licked their chops on camera with Philadelphia’s T.J. McConnell or JJ Redick picking them up in the half-court.

The trio of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and D’Angelo Russell finished with 67 total points.

Caris LeVert was in his bag, pump faking Philly’s defenders out of their shoes.

In case you forgot, the guy has some of the meanest hesitation game in the league and has the patience to wait for the perfect moment before picking his shots.

Perhaps the best moment of the game was when LeVert took a wide-open three and WALKED AWAY towards the Brooklyn bench—Steph Curry style—as the ball landed softly through the hoop.

If that doesn’t get you hyped, I don’t know what will, my friend.

Of course, we can’t forget about D’Angelo Russell who, after a slow start, cooked the 76ers in the second half.

After struggling with his outside shot in the first quarter, Russell wisely took the three out of his diet all together. Instead, he used his elite handle to slither around Philadelphia’s defenders and elevate for crisp midrange shots to increase Brooklyn’s lead.

Like all season long, Russell was Brooklyn’s Mariano Rivera-style closer.

Brooklyn will get the opportunity to go up 2-0 against Philadelphia on Monday, April 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Tune in via TNT.

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