FanPost

Game 65: Philadelphia 76ers at New Jersey Nets

Well guys, this is the end. This is the last home game for the New Jersey Nets, as they will be moving to Brooklyn starting next season. Everyone was hoping that the Nets would have had a better final season in New Jersey, but for various reasons, it didn't happen. The opponent here is the Philadelphia 76ers, who are fighting for a chance to catch a beating from the Bulls or the Heat playoff spot. So this game will be important in terms of tanking/playoff purposes.

Let's take a look at how these Atlantic Division foes compare:

Offensive Rating

Defensive Rating

Offensive Rebounding %

Turnover Rate

Free Throw Rate

Effective FG%

Opponent eFG%

Philadelphia

103.4 99 24.2 11 16.2 48.1 45.8

New Jersey

103.4 109.4 28 14.3 20.9 47.5 51.3

League Average

104.7 104.7 27 13.8 20.8 48.7 48.7

Early in the season, the Sixers were playing so well. The long twos were falling, they were great defensively and they were the class of the Atlantic DIvision. Now? They've fallen back to Earth & are more than likely gonna get demolished in Round 1. Despite the doom and gloom, they've been decent this year. They don't get to the line due to an overreliance on long twos and not having a player that can consistently get to the line.

It's been an ugly season for New Jersey. Injuries, underachievement & just terrible play have marred the final season in New Jersey. If they were healthy, would they have been a playoff team? I don't think so, but would it be better than the mess we've seen this year. In all likelihood yes.

The last preview. The result.

Before we jump, we're gonna use our time machine twice (it's a special occasion!). First up, we're gonna head back to May 13,1976. This was the last night of the ABA, and the last game the greatest Net of all time, Julius Erving played as a member of the Nets. Truly a bittersweet affair.


Our second use of the time machine takes us to May 12, 1976. This game is important in a historical sense because it's the last home playoff win for the Nets and featured the second greatest Net of all time, Jason Kidd, at his very best. Sigh.


Tip-off is at 7:30, but expect the game to start a little late as the pregame festivities ought to take a while. Take the jump for the matchups and other essentials.

Point Guard: Jrue Holiday vs. Sundiata Gaines

Holiday had a good game vs. Indiana on Saturday (though I'm curious as to why Darren Collison was on the bench), as he filled up the box score as the Sixers scored an overtime win at Indiana. Holiday is already a good defender, so if he can improve on the rest of his game, maybe he can become a star.

I'm assuming Deron Williams won't play due to his sore calf, so Gaines will start. Gaines sucks, so Holiday ought to dominate this matchup.

Advantage: Sixers

Shooting Guard: Jodie Meeks vs. Marshon Brooks

I think Turner should be starting, since he is the perceived future of the franchise and Meeks is easily replaceable. I guess Doug Collins thinks he gives him a better shot to save his job make the playoffs. As for Meeks, he's pretty mediocre on the whole, but he is their best shooter from downtown. If the Sixers wanna do something useful come playoff time, he's gonna have to be insanely hot from behind the arc.

Now that Deron isn't around, Brooks is getting the majority of the shots. It hasn't gone particularly well, but Brooks has the potential to explode on any given night so maybe he has a good final two games left in him. Anything to provide some optimism heading into next year.

Advantage: Nets

Small Forward: Andre Iguodala vs. Gerald Wallace

I don't know why, but Andre Iguodala can't shoot free throws anymore. Granted, he's only a 73% career FT shooter, but 61% this season is horrendous. On the bright side, he's shooting close to 40% from three. And most importantly, he's still one of the best defenders this league has to offer. This season, he's held opposing threes to a PER of 8, which is spectacular. If the Sixers could ever add a big time player and paired him with AI, they'd actually win something useful.

Even though he had no reason to, I'm glad Gerald Wallace is back. He's played well in the two games he's been back, as he shot 14-26 from the field vs. New York and Milwaukee. Much like AI, he'll get criticized because of what he's not (in AI's case, a top 10 player and for Wallace, being the draft pick that currently resides in Portland), but he's a good player that, if paired with other useful players, can help a team win something useful.

Advantage: Sixers

Power Forward: Elton Brand vs. Kris Humphries

For what it's worth, Brand is still pretty useful. He's still got a solid midrange game, grabs enough rebounds for his position, and provides good post defense.

Humphries will be a free agent this offseason, and in all likelihood he won't get paid much. He's a great rebounder, is inoffensive on offseason and is a bad individual defender. There really isn't much else to him, but he's a useful player all things considered.

Advantage: Sixers

Center: Nikola Vucevic vs. Jordan Williams

Vucevic hasn't been playing well as of late, but he's been rebounding well in his limited minutes so he ought to be productive against one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA.

Jordan Williams would be a good option to come off the bench.

Advantage: Even

Bench:

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

New Jersey: Anthony Morrow, Gerald Green, Johan Petro, Armon Johnson

Advantage: Philadelphia

Miscellaneous:

The Rockets have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, so it's down to Phoenix & Utah.

Speaking of those teams, they square off on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.

Elbow_medium_medium

Enjoy the first round off Ron Metta.

Philadelphia's magic number is at 1.

At the end of their game Saturday, Doug Collins was giving the badmouth to somebody. I wonder who it was.

I'm hoping Stephon Marbury is at the ceremony tomorrow.

Journey through the darkside: Liberty Ballers

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