The cost was a second half without Dudley, who had scored 8 points in 20 minutes, and Butler, who had 11 points in 24 minutes.
The Sixers, especially Embiid and Simmons, appeared energized by the drama of it all. Though the Nets held onto a slim lead for much of the second half, Philadelphia kept pushing before pulling ahead down the stretch and securing the win.
In describing Embiid’s impact on the game, Sixers Coach Brett Brown grabbed the stat sheet.
“Just look at the magnitude of what the numbers say, the influence that the numbers say that he must have had on the game,” Brown said. “To have 31 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 blocked shots and you win, well it’s hard to sort of say it any better than that. He was dominant.”
The Nets certainly had their chance to change the momentum of the series and leave Barclays Center with a win heading into Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia. With less than five minutes remaining and the Nets leading by 7, they fumbled their opportunity in the closing moments. And once again, Embiid was a factor when he passed the ball to Mike Scott for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 18 seconds left.
On the Nets’ ensuing possession, Allen turned the ball over after three Sixers surrounded him, and Tobias Harris closed out the scoring with two free throws. Nets Coach Kenny Atkinson said afterward that Allen was wrapped up by Harris as he tried to turn to the basket.
It was a frustrating end to a tension-filled night.
“It was really important because we wanted to get this one and go home and try to finish it off,” Embiid said. He added: “It feels great to be up, 3-1. We definitely don’t want to be in a situation like the Warriors,” referring to the 2016 N.B.A. finals, when Golden State lost the series to the Cleveland Cavaliers after being up, three games to one.
At that, Butler left the podium. He said he joined the postgame news conference to save Embiid from himself, so he “don’t do something stupid.”
Butler left the room with a laugh. Embiid continued, “I’m just kidding, but we want to be able to close it out, so that was a big win.”