NEW YORK — The 76ers hold a 3-1 edge over the Brooklyn Nets in their Eastern Conference opening-round series for many reasons, but among the biggest is how they finished both games at the Barclays Center.
Saturday’s 112-108 win in Game 4 came after the Sixers outscored the Nets, 27-17, in the fourth quarter. The Sixers will attempt to close out the series Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
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After Mike Scott’s three-pointer gave the Sixers a 110-108 lead with 19.7 seconds left, the Sixers forced a turnover and were fouled and Tobias Harris sealed matters by hitting two free throws with 4.8 seconds left.
“Fourth-quarter defense was huge for us in terms of getting stop and getting back out on offense,” said Harris, who finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in a game-high 43 minutes and 26 seconds. “That was the name of the game, I think.”
Harris said the defense led to a more consistent offense.
“Once we locked in defensively as a group, we were able to get out in transition,” Harris said.
In the fourth quarter, the Nets shot 5-for-19 overall and 2-for-8 from three-point range. Brooklyn also committed six of its 14 turnovers in the fourth.
The Sixers, who trailed, 91-85 after three quarters, shot 11-for-26 overall and 2-for-6 from three-point range and outrebounded the Nets, 19-11, in the final period.
“We just kind of were hanging around in the fourth quarter,” said JJ Redick, who hit a three-pointer with 50 seconds left that gave the Sixers a 107-106 lead. “We kept telling each other that we would figure a way to win this game. When we got it to one possession, we felt like we were going to win.”
In the Sixers’ 131-115 win during Game 3 on Thursday, they led, 97-90, entering the fourth quarter and then put the game away by outscoring the Nets, 34-25. The Nets shot just 7-for-25 in the fourth quarter and 1-for-11 from three-point range.
The Sixers won that game without Joel Embiid, out with left knee tendinitis.
“We came here expecting to win these two games and now have to go home and close this thing out,” Harris said. “I thought we showed resiliency in both games.”
In the two road games, the crowd was at a fever pitch in the fourth quarter, even more so Saturday since the Nets had the lead.
“Night by night, we are finding ways to get it done,” Harris said. “It was a slow start from the beginning [Saturday]; we had different lineups out there and were able to keep the game in reach.”
On Saturday, the Sixers fed Embiid extensively in the fourth quarter. He scored 12 points of his 31 points and grabbed six of his 16 rebounds in the period.
The Nets had great difficulty dealing with the Sixers’ size advantage, with Embiid being the toughest to keep in check.