The Nets’ season is over, which means the maintenance staff at Barclays Center will have plenty of time to fix the rims dented Saturday by all the missed 3-pointers.
Instead of attacking the rim to take advantage of MVP candidate Joel Embiid’s absence from the paint, the Nets tried to shoot their way to survival and wound up getting swept out of the playoffs with a 96-88 loss to the 76ers in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Nets have lost 10 straight playoff games dating to 2021, though the first six of those losses came during the failed Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving era.
After Dorian Finney-Smith got a rare 3 to drop for the Nets and tied the score at 70-70 with 9:30 to play, the 76ers went on a 19-6 run and proved that they didn’t need Embiid to dominate the glass, especially on the offensive end.
Paul Reed’s 15 rebounds fueled a decisive 54-38 rebounding edge.
The Nets shot just 9-of-37 (24.3 percent) from behind the arc, which was a significant decrease from when the current roster – mostly assembled after the Feb. 9 trade deadline – shot 35.6 percent from behind the arc in the regular season.
Spencer Dinwiddie (20), Nic Claxton (19) and Mikal Bridges (17) paced the Nets’ scoring.
But it was invading 76ers’ fans who roared loudly as the final minute ticked away on the clock.
Embiid (right knee sprain) didn’t play for the first time in the series.
It is uncertain when he will return, though the 76ers are headed toward a long layoff.
Without Embiid protecting the rim, Claxton scored 15 first-half points, including eight off of dunks, to build a 48-40 lead.
Without Embiid passing out of double-teams at the other end, the 76ers had a much more difficult time getting open shots until the middle of the third quarter.