The Sixers will try to do better against the Nets

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Two steps forward, one step back. Just when you think the Brooklyn Nets are about to go on a sustained winning streak, they come up short. The Nets came within one point late in the fourth quarter, but couldn't go over the top and ended up losing to the Wizards at home on Wednesday night. On the injury front, it looks like Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry are on the comeback trail and might (just might!) be back soon.

It's been a really bad week for the Sixers. Really, really bad. Last Saturday, they allowed Portland to connect on a franchise record 21 (21!!!) three pointers en route to a 34 point #beatemdown. On Monday, Brooklyn hit a franchise record 21 three pointers (Joe Johnson was responsible for ten of them) and once again, Philadelphia was on the receiving end of a #beatemdown, this time by 36 points. It's officially trading season and with the rumor that disgruntled Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters wants to join Philadelphia, that Sixer roster might be headed for an overhaul pretty soon.

The season so far

What's up with these teams? Let's check the numbers

Metric

Brooklyn

Philadelphia

Record

9-16 7-19

Pace

94.49 101.92

Offensive Efficiency

102.5 97.3

Defensive Efficiency

106.3 106.6

Offensive Rebounding percentage

23.7 30.2

Turnover rate

15.4 17.2

Assist rate

16.2 16.3

Rebound rate

48.8 52.1

Free throw rate

33.4 25.6

Effective Field Goal percentage

49.3 48.6

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.7 52.8

One thing that's been consistent for the Nets has been their poor three point defense. Against Washington, they allowed the Wizards to drain twelve from behind the arc. One thing that has been true for the Sixers is their penchant for three pointers. They're eleventh in three pointers a game, but 26th in efficiency. As for Brooklyn, they have the worst three point defense in the Association, allowing teams to shoot 40.6 percent from deep.

In Monday's game, the Nets punished the Sixers on the inside. They connected on 19 of their 31 attempts from inside 16 feet. Daniel Orton will be back for Philadelphia after missing a game due to his dust up with Portland's Meyers Leonard. On the other hand, Brook Lopez will be here for this matchup. Lopez has excelled on the inside this season and outside of Spencer Hawes and Orton, Philadelphia doesn't have the size to match up well against Lopez or Andray Blatche.

Michael Carter-Williams is expected to make his return. The rookie guard has been out due to a knee infection for the past couple of weeks and the Sixers have struggled even more than usual. He's missed the last seven games, and the Sixers have lost all seven. If he does play, he'll have a really difficult challenge on his hands in the form of Deron Williams. Williams is coming off his first poor shooting game since coming back, but did collect 13 assists. The Sixers allow 28 attempts a game inside the restricted area, so look for Williams to drive at will.

Player to watch: Thaddeus Young

Of the players expected to be traded by the deadline, Young is the best of Philadelphia's trade chips. In a story first broken by our colleagues at Liberty Ballers, Young requested a trade. He does most of his damage on the inside cleaning up on the offensive glass. He has the ability to hi jumpers, but hasn't been able to hit them on a consistent basis throughout his career (only 40 percent from the midrange once in his career). If you remember back to Doug Collins' tenure, they relied on a lot of deep jumpers. With the management change, so too did the over reliance on jumpers. As it relates to Young, it's had a bit of a negative effect. About 14 percent of his field goal attempts have come from three point range, the highest amount since 2009. He's converted on 35 percent of them, which is right around league average. The drawback to this change is that his offensive rebounding and free throw rates are down. What's the best description of Young? Big boss at Liberty Ballers Michael Levin has a good one:

He's great off the ball in the open court, but watching him handle the ball gives you the same feeling you get immediately after a roller-coaster: your knees are kind of buckling and in hindsight, that wasn't as safe as you expected. If the Sixers will keep up this kind of pace when they become more "team" and less "abstract fingerpainting," Hinkie may want a 4 who can create for himself a bit more.

In this game, look for him to have a big game on the glass. Kevin Garnett is the best rebounder in the rotation, but his poor overall play has limited him to around 22 minutes a game. Provided that this game is close (& with the way Monday's game, it's not guaranteed that it will be), his work on the offensive glass should give Philadelphia a chance to win.

From the Vault

Head on back to the 2003 Playoffs and relive the finish of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Sixers and New Orleans Hornets. With guest appearances by old pals Keith Van Horn and Derrick Coleman.


More reading: Liberty Ballers

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