Maxey leads Sixers to victory over Brooklyn and puts them within a win of the semifinals

Joel Embiid, limping throughout the game and perhaps lucky not to have been ejected for kicking a Nets player in the groin area, blocked a potential game-tying basket with 8.8 seconds left and the Philadelphia 76ers defeated Thursday 102-97 to Brooklyn. night to take a 3-0 lead in the first-round series.

Tyrese Maxey hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 44 seconds remaining for the 76ers, who can advance to the second round with a win Saturday in Brooklyn.

With James Harden ejected in the third quarter for another groin bruise and Embiid not looking like his usual dominant self, Maxey took over on offense and scored eight straight points, turning a five-point deficit into a 99-96 lead. in his triple. -pointer.

Spencer Dinwiddie made a free throw, then appeared to have a way to the basket for a tying layup before Embiid got up and hit him. PJ Tucker made a free throw to make it 100-97, and the Nets lost it on their next possession.

Maxey scored 25 points and Harden had 21 for the 76ers. Embiid shot just 5 of 13 but had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Mikal Bridges scored 26 points and Dinwiddie had 20 for the Nets, who have lost nine straight playoff games and are on the verge of being swept for the second straight year. Cam Johnson scored 17 points.

Embiid went to the locker room for treatment after retiring in the first quarter, then limped several times later.

The 76ers might have been lucky that he was still in the game at the time.

Nets fans loudly booed the decision not to eject him for kicking Nic Claxton’s leg into the groin in the first quarter after he was run over by the Nets center after he dunked and was fouled by Embiid a foul and fell to the field. Those not in the arena took to social media to ask why he wasn’t ejected, as Golden State’s Draymond Green was for stepping on Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis in Game 2 of their series. Green was then suspended by the NBA for Game 3.

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Claxton ended up called for a technical foul, and was ejected in the fourth quarter when he committed a second.

But the ruling came against the 76ers in the third quarter when Harden, while closely guarded by Royce O’Neale, waved his arm and hit the forward, who fell to the floor in pain.

The Nets raced to 19-11, getting an emotional boost after Embiid’s flagrant foul. But Philadelphia would rally to lead 32-28 after one, extending the lead to 51-40 on Maxey’s 3-pointer with 3:52 remaining in the half and the lead held 11 into halftime.

But Bridges got the Nets off to a quick start in the third and Johnson scored 13 points, helping the Nets outscore the 76ers 35-18 in the third to push an 82-76 lead into the fourth.

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