The Brooklyn Nets dropped game four of the seven-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday afternoon at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Nets are losing the battles of both strength and skill to the more talented 76ers, and trail the series 3-1 after the 112-108 loss.
After 76ers center Joel Embiid knocked Brooklyn center Jarrett Allen to the floor, Nets reserve Jared Dudley responded with a shove of Embiid. Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler then pushed Dudley, and both teams squared off, though no punches were thrown. Once the dust settled, both Dudley and Butler were ejected, and Embiid was assessed a flagrant 1 foul.
After the game, Dudley explained what spurred his reaction.
“Joel Embiid is second in the league in flagrant fouls,” the NBA veteran said. “He just got a flagrant 1, almost hitting a guy. If he would have sold it a little bit more, falling down, and that was a crucial elbow, laughing about it, no fine, no nothing laughing in the media, if anything, I should have got him worse. If you think a team I play on is going to have that, that’s another thing coming.”
Nets All-Star and leading scorer D’Angelo Russell also chimed in on the physical play.
“We’ve seen hard fouls go against Jarrett Allen the last few games,” Russell said. “This happened to be from the same player, so for Jared Dudley to step up and react like that, I thought it was necessary. We’re getting the bottom end of that in the results of it, so for one of our players to be on the ground after every hard play like that, that’s not what it’s going to be. If (those guys) aren’t seeing it from our perspective, we see if from that perspective, so we’re going to handle it in our own ways.”
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson discussed the impact of Dudley, who scored eight points and dished out five assists in the first half before the ejection.
“He was great,” Atkinson said. “It reminded me of Game 1. He has an understanding, an IQ that really helps our team. He has a physicality. He knows playoff basketball. He was great and obviously, hitting those two threes, I thought that really helped stretching them out a little bit, but (a) huge part of the reason why we played well tonight.”
The Brooklyn Nets face elimination in game five of the best-of-seven opening round series Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.