Oh. After an ugly loss at home to the Cavs on Monday, the Nets went to Chicago with the hopes of bouncing back. What happened? A 105-80 beatdown at the hands of the Bulls. The team has lost the last three games by margins of 23, 22, and 25 points. This is the first night of a back-to-back for Brooklyn. When this game concludes, they'll head down to Charlotte to face the struggling Hornets.
Making the trip to will be the Philadelphia 76ers. They still aren't any good, but they have won two out of their last four games. Last game was a loss to the Hawks in Atlanta. This is also night one of a back-to-back for Philly. They face Memphis at home on Saturday.
Where to follow the game
On TV, head over to the YES Network. On the radio, WFAN 101.9 FM has got you covered. Tip off is scheduled for a bit after 7:30.
Still no Brook Lopez. Lopez will sit this and the Charlotte game out in order to rest his injured back. Joe Johnson missed the last game with the flu but is listed as probable for this game. Mirza Teletovic also sat the last game out due to a hip pointer and is listed as questionable. Kevin Garnett injured his foot in Chicago and is also listed as questionable.
Tony Wroten missed the Hawks game and is questionable fir tonight.
What's the narrative? Let's find out:
Offensive Rebounding Rate
Free Throw Rate
Effective Field Goal Percentage
Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage
The Atlantic Division is, has been, and figures to continue being a dumpster fire.
The Nets won the first meeting 99-91.
There will be some new faces for Brooklyn. The team traded Andrei Kirilenko (who won't play for Philly) to the Sixers for Brandon Davies and signed former Laker (and 76er) Darius Morris.
Amazingly, the Sixers might not be the worst team in the NBA right now. That dubious distinction belongs to the Detroit Pistons, losers of 13 straight. Also, Philly is only 1.5 games behind the Knicks. Head over to Detroit Bad Boys and Posting and Toasting for more on those dumpster fires.
The third quarter did the Nets in once again. The game in Chicago was tied at 53 early in the third quarter before the Bulls went on a 52-27 run to close the game. Brooklyn's third quarter ineptitude has been a problem for years and with a less than healthy roster, will continue to be one. If everything holds to form, all the 76ers have to do is keep it close in the first half and then pull away in the third.
Without Johnson, the Nets offense looked abysmal. One person who needed to pick up the slack was Bojan Bogdanovic. He came off the bench for the first time this season and didn't score a single point. Sergey Karasev saw most of the minutes and after a fast start fell away
This is all somewhat discouraging for the coach, Lionel Hollins.
"I didn’t know what to expect. I thought we would be better. I didn’t know when. We have some deficiencies. The rebounding one is huge, and defensively, the quickness against most teams is huge and just being able to execute and play at a tempo that keeps us in games versus letting the other team having their way of playing. That’s important, too.
"But with this group it’s a learning process of how to play that way, and I think most of the guys would like to play quicker, but it gives the other team too many opportunities."
The Sixer defense hasn't been the problem this season. They're twelfth in defensive efficiency, allowing a respectable 103.2 points per 100 possessions. Over at Liberty Ballers, Sean O'Connor breaks down what works:
It's not much of a secret how the Sixers force so many turnovers - the Sixers are really, really long and ahtletic. The shortest player on the roster is a 4-way tie involving all three point guards Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten and Alexey Shved) along with McDaniels, who has a block rate greater than 4%, which no one at his height in recorded NBA block history has ever done. The height, and corresponding length (all but Shved have longer wingspans than their heights) make it more difficult to convert relatively low-risk passes and makes it nearly impossible to convert difficult passes.
The problem is all on their offense. They are the league's worst, scoring only 91.5 points per 100 possessions, almost five points behind the second worst, Detroit. They play at a very fast pace, but can't avoid committing turnovers. They cough it up 18 times per 100 possessions, highest in the Association. With an incredibly young roster (only three players are above the age of 25), that was to be expected.
One positive of having a roster as young as Philadelphia's is that you have ample opportunity to take a look at players who can contribute in the future. One such player is Nerlens Noel. He still has lots of room for improvement, but so far he's a solid post defender and rim protector. As he develops a more refined offensive game, he'll become an even more important
Player to watch: Michael Carter Williams
Things haven't been going well for the reigning rookie of the year. He missed some time at the beginning of the year due to injury and has struggled in his return. His shooting percentages are down, his trips to the free throw line are down and his turnovers are way up. He's had to take on more responsibility on offense and he's doing a better job of involving his teammates.
Carter-Williams will be facing off against Deron Williams. Deron was the main focus of the offense, but was outplayed by Derrick Rose. He'll have to carry things again for the Nets and should be looking for his shot early. With Wroten at less than 100 percent, MCW will need to play big minutes for Philadelphia. Deron got most of his shot attempts near the rim against the Bulls, but wasn't able to convert on most of them.
From the Vault
Say whatever you want about Charles Barkley's statements off of the court, but he was undeniable on it.
More reading: Liberty Ballers
- Brooklyn Nets: Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Philadelphia 76ers Game Notes - Philadelphia 76ers
- 76ers-Nets Preview - Chris Altruda - STATS LLC
- Joe Johnson plans to play on Friday - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Joe Johnson shakes flu, Nets trade talk - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News
- Joe Johnson plans to play on Friday - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Hollins: 'We're not a very good team' - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Joe Johnson returns for busy Nets - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets’ Woes Start in Second Quarter - Alex Raskin - Wall Street Journal
- Nets rewind: A glaring weakness easily exposed - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets’ Joe Johnson finally feeling fine; ready to return - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Joe Johnson says he's 'definitely going to play' Friday against the 76ers - Laura Albanese - Newsday
- 76ers coach unhappy with his loss, Nets' gain - The Brooklyn Game - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
Nets, desperate for win, take on lowly 76ers - Sean Flattery - The Brooklyn Game
- Sixers vs. Nets at a Glance - Keith Pompey - Philadelphia Inquirer
- 76ers sad to see Davies go - Keith Pompey - Philadelphia Inquirer
- Brett Brown upset by Sixers' trade of Brandon Davies - Dei Lynam - Comcast Sports Net
- Sixers coach Brett Brown not happy to lose Brandon Davies in trade with Nets - Brett Pollakoff - NBC Sports