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Game 60: New Jersey Nets at Philadelphia 76ers

What's the elixir for Philadelphia's late season woes? A back to back set vs. our Nets and the equally as low Toronto Raptors. As for the Nets, just 6 games left and then the "fun" begins.

How have these teams done this season? Let's take a look:

Offensive Rating

Defensive Rating

Offensive Rebounding %

Free Throw rate

Turnover rate

Effective FG%

Opponent eFG%

New Jersey

103.8 109.8 28.7 21.3 14.3 47.5 51.1

Philadelphia

103.6 98.2 24 15.8 10.8 47.9 45.5

League Average

104.6 104.6 27 20.8 13.8 48.7 48.7

*Normally, I'd use Offensive Efficiency & Defensive Efficiency, but HoopData hasn't updated the team numbers, so whatever.

The preview. The result.

Taking a quick look at the last game, the game started off really slowly, and then the Sixers took over. They got to the line way more then they normally do (they're last in the league in free throw attempts), and that served to complement their good night from the field (49.4 eFG%). The second key was the bench play, as Philly's bench dominated Jersey's by a 62-41 margin. The return of Jodie Meeks in the lineup in favor of Evan Turner (Doug Collins hinted at reinserting Meeks in the starting lineup last week) and the surprising (to me at least) benching of Spencer Hawes in favor of rookie Nikola Vuvevic served to reignite their bench.

And before we jump, let's head back to the 1987 playoffs. These were the final moments of ex-Net and then Sixer Julius Erving's career in Game 5 vs. the Milwaukee Bucks.


Tip-off is at 7. Take the jump for matchups and things.

Point Guard: Deron Williams vs. Jrue Holiday

For the first time in a while, Deron Williams didn't hit double digits in the assists column. Of course, the beauty (or tragedy, in this case) of assists is that your guys need to hit their shots, and that was not the case Wednesday for New Jersey. In all likelihood, Gerald Wallace will miss this game, so look for Williams to resume his role of being the focal point of the offense. Unless he gets injured or the game is a blowout, I'd be stunned if he only takes 12 field goal attempts again.

None of his shot attempts went down near the rim (1-5), but the jumpers were working for the former Bruin. Jrue went 4-6 on shots from 10 feet and beyond, and with some fine defense, he had a productive game. Couple that performance with 7 boards and assists vs the Raptors on Wednesday, and Holiday might be coming out of his recent slump.

Advantage: Nets

Shooting Guard: Marshon Brooks vs. Jodie Meeks

After some good play, Brooks had an off night on Wednesday. He tends to get into slumps, so this game is an important test for him.

Collins was gonna put him in the starting 5 a few days ago, but he changed his mind. Meeks has been their best shooter this season, as he leads the team in True Shooting % (56.2%) and effective FG% (53.4%). Personally, I would've kept Evan Turner in the lineup, but Collins is trying to save his job so I can't blame him.

advantage: Sixers

Small Forward: Gerald Green vs. Andre Iguodala

Tuesday's game was probably Green's worst as a Net. He didn't get to the rim and only had one free throw attempt. Having to face off against Iggy is a tough challenge, and if the Nets wanna wreck Philadelphia's playoff chances, they're gonna need a big game out of Green.

Iggy's never gonna be the high usage scorer everyone thinks he ought to be with his high salary, but he's been a hell of player in his own right. On the right team, which isn't Philadelphia, Iguodala's defense, passing and rebounding might put them over the top and make them a title contender.

Advantage: Sixers

Power Forward: Kris Humphries vs. Elton Brand

I think this sums up the game best: Kris Humphries took more shot attempts (18) than Deron Williams (12). Anytime that happens, you're pretty much guaranteed a loss.

For a big man who's on the downside of his career, Brand can still be productive. Most of his shots are jumpers, and he's good at them (45% from 10-15 feet & 41% from 16-23 feet).

Advantage: Sixers

Center: Shelden Williams vs. Nikola Vucevic

This Williams only played 18 minutes last game. At this point, the Nets should start Jordan Williams. We know the kind of player Shelden is at this point, why not see what the young boy can do?

In the game against New Jersey, Vucevic grabbed 8 rebounds in only 16 minutes. Because the Nets are so bad at rebounding (and a lot of other things), I wouldn't be surprised if the rookie had a double-double in this game.

Advantage: Sixers

Bench:

New Jersey: Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro, Sundiata Gaines

Philadelphia: Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Sam Young, Lavoy Allen

Advantage: Philadelphia

Miscellaneous:

Philly's 3 games ahead of Milwaukee for a playoff spot (they're currently 7th while Milwaukee is 9th) and 3 games behind the Magic for the 6 seed.

Out West, Dallas is in the 6 spot followed by: Houston, Denver, Utah and Phoenix.

The latest ESPN mock draft has our pick at 7th, which means Portland would have our pick. That's not fun.

Journey through the dark side: Liberty Ballers

The mothership: Nets vs 76ers coverage

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