76ers Nets Basketball

Philadelphia 76ers Coach Doc Rivers talks to James Harden during their team’s 96-88 win over the Brooklyn Nets that completed a four-game sweep of the first-round playoff series. Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Tobias Harris had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers overcame the absence of Joel Embiid to beat the Brooklyn Nets 96-88 on Saturday, completing a sweep that made them the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs.

James Harden added 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the third-seeded 76ers, who will wait for the winner of the series between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. The defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics have a 2-1 lead.

The 76ers hope Embiid will be recover from his sprained right knee in time for the start of the next series. The MVP finalist and two-time NBA scoring champion was ruled out Friday night, and the 76ers struggled to score without him.

So they turned to their defense, and ended up outscoring the Nets 21-4 during a stretch of more than eight minutes in the third quarter.

Tyrese Maxey finished a strong series with 16 points, and Paul Reed added 10 points and 15 rebounds after replacing Embiid in the starting lineup.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 points and Nic Claxton had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who were swept for the second straight year and have lost 10 straight postseason games. They went 0-8 this season against the 76ers.


The Sixers were just 2 for 11 from 3-point range in the first half as the Nets led, 48-40.

But the 76ers allowed only 40 points in the second half and eventually pulled away to a 14-point lead.

HEAT 121, BUCKS 99: Jimmy Butler scored 30 points before leaving with back soreness following a hard fall, and eighth-seeded Miami beat the top-seeded Milwaukee for a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Duncan Robinson scored 20 points on his 29th birthday for Miami, while Kyle Lowry scored 15 for the Heat.

The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo for a second consecutive game because of a bruised lower back. Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Jrue Holiday added 19 and Grayson Allen scored 14 for Milwaukee.

Game 4 is in Miami on Monday night.


Butler got hurt midway through the third quarter after trying a shot near the rim and landing on his back. He stayed in the game briefly, departed for a short stint in the locker room and returned with a large wrap on his back – with the Heat saying he would return.

He didn’t, because he didn’t have to. The game was in hand, and Miami eventually led by as many as 29.

Still, it was a somber ending for Miami, first with Butler getting banged up and then with Victor Oladipo – who has spent years dealing with injury issues – leaving late in the fourth quarter after apparently hurting his left knee. Oladipo was expected to play a bigger role for Miami in the postseason after an injury to Tyler Herro.

SUNS 112, CLIPPERS 100: Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Devin Booker added 30 and Phoenix won again at Los Angeles to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.

The Clippers, who lost Game 3 by five points, again made a strong run with Kawhi Leonard watching from the bench. He has missed two straight games because of a sprained right knee. They’re also without Paul George, who hasn’t played since March 21 because of the same injury as Leonard.

Russell Westbrook carried the Clippers in the fourth quarter. He scored 14 points, including nine in a row when they twice pulled within two points, and finished with a game-high 37.


But as the fourth quarter wound down, the Clippers ran out of gas.

Chris Paul, the 37-year-old former Clipper, had 12 points in the fourth, hitting big jumpers each time Los Angeles threatened.

Paul finished with 19 points and nine assists. Booker had nine rebounds and seven assists. Deandre Ayton added 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Game 5 is Tuesday in Phoenix.

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