"There's no secret how this game tomorrow will be played, given the complaints that have surfaced in regards to refereeing and what inevitably will be sort of the reaction to the game," Brown said Monday about Game 5 in the series that Philadelphia leads 3-1. "I want to get ahead of that as the coach. Anticipate different things like that. Share stories with my team so we can just stay very linear, very straight line. Just play through noise, and that's what interests me the most in how to close out a series."
The Sixers' 112-108 win in Game 4 was marred by ejections to Brooklyn's Jared Dudley and Philadelphia's Jimmy Butler when a skirmish broke out afterJoel Embiid fouled Nets centerJarrett Allen, bringing the 6-foot-11 big man to the floor.
Then the league, in its Last Two Minute Report released Sunday, determined that Tobias Harris should have been called for a foul on Allen before Allen turned the ball over with the Nets trailing by two in the final seconds. The report also detailed a carry by Spencer Dinwiddie that should have been called.
"I mean, the game's over," Harris said Monday. "And really, who is to say he'd make both free throws anyway? I mean, I understand the league report came out and whatnot, but it is what it is. There was also something on Spencer Dinwiddie and a carry or whatnot. So, it is what it is. The game is finished. We got the win. I ain't going to say I shouldn't have done it or whatever. I was hustling. Clearly, they said it was a foul. So, it is what it is. I don't feel sorry."
The no-call on Harris, coupled with a previous foul by Embiid in Game 2 -- when his elbow to Allen's face was determined to only be a flagrant 1 instead of a flagrant 2 -- prompted Nets general manager Sean Marks to confront the officials after Game 4 by entering the referees' locker room.
Marks was fined $25,000 by the league, suspended for Game 5 and docked a game's pay.
"You see how much he's invested with the team," Dudley said Monday about the GM. "You've got to think about this: Sean was an ex-player too. ... He still has his competitive juices at all times. Just shows you his personality, a fiery guy. A guy who doesn't like to feel like he's disadvantaged. Wants to be on the same playing field. And for the most part, we're trying to set the tone for what he wants."
Embiid wanted his flagrant foul on Allen in Game 4 to be rescinded. Instead, he now is saddled with two flagrant foul points in the playoffs. If that total reaches four, he'll be suspended for a game.
"It's tough," Embiid said. "You just got to play basketball. If it happens, it happens. Like I said, I'm mature. I know what I'm doing. Although the last one, I don't even know if it was even a foul. I feel like I got all ball. So I don't know why it can be a flagrant foul, which doesn't make sense, but I'm just going to play basketball and just be myself."
When asked if he is concerned that players might try to bait him the rest of the postseason to add to his flagrant point total, Embiid said, "I don't care."
Brown has tried to drill to his players, Embiid included, that they still have to finish the job and getting in any sort of extracurriculars beyond executing the game plan will only jeopardize the team.
"It's the discipline that we have to have," Brown said. "I've told this group candidly, I sat on the bench in San Antonio [in 2007] when Robert Horry hip checked [Steve] Nash into the stands and Amare [Stoudemire] and Boris [Diaw] walked onto the court. And we weren't beating them. I think they were winning the NBA championship.
"We remember Draymond [Green] stepping over LeBron [James]. And they're up 3-1 and they lost the series [in 2016]. So it's not holding your breath. There are reminders that I owe my players as the coach to have them be adults, be big boys and navigate through this. It's not our fault at times we're 20 pounds heavier and 3 inches taller [as is the case with Embiid versus Allen]. And so, in the meantime, we just got to be smarter and that's my job."
And it's Embiid's job to play, as JJ Redick calls him the "focal point" and "anchor" for the Sixers' organization. After sitting out Game 3 with left knee soreness, Embiid was dominant in Game 4.
He wouldn't confirm that he will definitely be in the lineup for Game 5.
"Got to keep 'em guessing," Embiid said. "But if I do play, I'm going to be aggressive. We got to close them out tomorrow night. We don't want to go back to Brooklyn, so we got to do whatever that's necessary to close it out tomorrow."
ESPN's Ian Begley contributed to this report.
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