Sur­prise: Nets roll in opener

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports -

PHILADEL­PHIA — D’An­gelo Rus­sell flashed some post­sea­son magic, play­ing like the All-Star leader the Nets needed with 26 points, and Caris LeVert scored 23 to lead the vis­i­tors to an im­pres­sive 111-102 win Satur­day over the 76ers in Game 1 of their Eastern Con­fer­ence first-round play­off se­ries.

The sixth-seeded Nets turned Philly in the city of

20,000 boos — and that’s just count­ing the ones echo­ing through­out the Wells Fargo Cen­ter — as they smoked a 76ers team that re­sem­bled one straight out of the early Process era.

Jimmy But­ler scored 36 points and saved the 76ers, widely con­sid­ered a fa­vorite to at least reach the East semis, from los­ing by

25. Joel Em­biid slogged his way through 24 for­get­table min­utes on his bum left knee. Ben Sim­mons was a post­sea­son dud against Rus­sell, his high school team­mate.

Rus­sell, LeVert and Spencer Din­wid­die gave the 76ers fits off the drib­ble, buried open looks from 3-point range, and sud­denly a team that got hot late just to make the play­offs has the up­per­hand on the road over a

51-win team stocked with stars.

“We’ve got the right pieces to keep it go­ing,” said Rus­sell, who scored

19 points in the sec­ond half.

Poised for a post­sea­son break­through, Rus­sell flour­ished and hit a string of jumpers in the third that never let the 76ers se­ri­ously chip away at the lead. LeVert’s third 3 in the fourth made it a 16-point game and there was no look­ing back for one of the big­gest wins since the Nets moved to Brook­lyn. Rus­sell raised his arms in cel­e­bra­tion as he headed down the tun­nel into the Nets’ locker room.

Magic 104, Rap­tors 101:

D.J. Au­gustin scored 25 points, in­clud­ing the tiebreak­ing 3-poin­ter with 3.5 sec­onds left, and the Magic earned the road vic­tory and took a 1-0 lead in the first-round se­ries.

Aaron Gordon had 10 points and 10 re­bounds, Evan Fournier scored 16 points and Jonathan Isaac had 11 as the sev­enth­seeded Magic be­came the lat­est team to beat the Rap­tors in the open­ing game of a play­off se­ries.

The Rap­tors are 2-14 in play­off open­ers.

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