After losing three straight, the last an embarrassing defeat at Madison Square Garden, the Nets return to Barclays Center Sunday afternoon to face the Philadelphia 76ers who despite the absence of their biggest off-season acquisition, Andrew Bynum, are playing at the same level as the Nets who are as healthy as they've been all year.
Going into Sunday's game, the Sixers are a game back of the Nets in the East, at 13-14, Like the Nets, they've had some hard times of late. They're 3-7 in their last 10 (compared to the Nets' 2-8) and 4-7 on the road.
But put that all aside. Prior to Friday's whipping of the Hawks, the Sixers all-star point guard candidate, Jrue Holiday, had missed four games with a left foot sprain. Against Atlanta, Holiday had 11 points and seven assists to complement the other young guns on the Sixers' roster: Thad Young, who finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Evan Turner, who scored 21 points.The game was never in doubt and Philly won by 19.
Offensively, the Sixers are challenged. They're in the bottom five in points at 93,4; in points in the paint at 37; shooting efficiency at 1.004; and first quarter points at 22.7. Their starting center is Lavoy Allen, who's backed up by Spencer Hawes. Where they excel is in some of the basic fundamentals, taking care of the ball -- only 12.4 turnovers per game; defense in the paint at 37 points per game and keeping calm. They're second in fewest technicals. They're 21st in offensively efficiency, 20th in defensive. About what you'd expect from a team hovering at .500.
The Nets are internally optimistic that the worst is over. Deron Williams was reportedly ripping the cords at practice Saturday and Avery Johnson said it was the team's best practice for ball movement all season. Also, Jerry Stackhouse and Josh Childress are back and Brook Lopez finally has no minutes restrictions.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Philadelphia 76ers Game Notes - Philadelphia 76ers
- 76ers at Nets - December 23, 2012 - Jeff Mezydlo - STATS
- Avery: Lopez 'close' to his best - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
W2W4: Nets vs. Sixers - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Avery Johnson believes Nets have to trust each other more - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Brook shaking off rust - Howie Kussoy - New York Post
- Avery’s crew looking to regain early season mojo - Howie Kussoy - New York Post
Three things to watch for in Nets-Sixers - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Joe Johnson is Having Fun, But Thinks Eveyone Should Too - Josh Newman - SNY
- Sixers relieved to get win before long road trip - Marc Narducci - Philadelphia Inquirer
- Andrew Bynum is healing, but no timetable for return - Marc Narducci - Philadelphia Inquirer
- Bynum injury is no laughing matter for Philly fans - Sam Donnellon - Philadelphia Inquirer
- Luhm: Nets’ Williams in the middle of another controversy - Steve Luhm - Salt Lake Tribune
- Two other prominent point guards chime in on Deron Williams’ Brooklyn woes - Kelly Dwyer - Yahoo! Sports