Nets video: Caris LeVert scores 14 straight points to start second quarter of Game 3 vs. Sixers
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Caris LeVert scores 14 straight points to start second quarter of Game 3 vs. Sixers

Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert and the Brooklyn Nets caught a huge break on Thursday when it was announced minutes before tipoff that Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid would not play in Game 3 due to nagging pain in his left knee. Anyone expecting Brooklyn to walk over a short-handed Philadelphia squad, though, was setting themselves up for disappointment considering the Sixers’ wealth of upper-echelon offensive talents even without Embiid.

The opening stanza of Game 3 served as a helpful reminder of that reality, as Philadelphia poured in 32 points behind stellar play from Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, holding an eight-point lead when the first quarter buzzer sounded. Undeterred by his team’s early deficit, or perhaps even inspired by it, Caris LeVert opened the second quarter like gangbusters, scoring 14 consecutive points – many of which came on difficult floaters – to the game at 38-38 before his personal streak was over.

The 24-year-old finished the second quarter with 19 points, a career-high for points in a quarter.

LeVert was instrumental to Brooklyn’s convincing Game 1 victory, coming off the bench to score 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting and making life hard on the relentlessly active J.J. Redick on the other end of the floor. Like the Nets as a whole, he failed to reach that same level of play two days later, scoring 13 points on 3-of-8 from the field in the Sixers’ blowout victory.

A third-year pro, LeVert seemed well on his way to Most Improved Player honors in October and November before suffering a dislocated right foot, an injury that most assumed would end his season prematurely. He returned in early February instead, steadily rounding into form ever since – and apparently peaking at just the right time.