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Sixers take a trip to Brooklyn

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

That was sloppy, but fun. The Brooklyn Nets played the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, and the two teams combined for 47 turnovers. The Nets made some big plays late and came away with a 110-105 victory in front of the home crowd. The Nets are still in a big hole, but they do have a few more games at home to get things right before they're back on the road.

Coming into the Barclays Center this evening will be the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are still playing the long game and are winding their way through the season in the hopes of landing the top pick in the upcoming draft. They haven't played since Monday against the Spurs. San Antonio sat Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, and Manu Ginobili and the Sixers managed to lose by 51 points. It's a long process.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV (but not on Comcast, where there is still weeping and gnashing of teeth), WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off is after 7:30.

Injuries

Andrea Bargnani practiced Wednesday, so there's a chance we will see him.. Lionel Hollins expects Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to miss about ten weeks after undergoing ankle surgery Wednesday morning.

Kendall Marshall has been out since last season with a knee injury and might make his season debut tonight.

The game

This won't be pretty

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Philadelphia

Record

6-15 1-21

Pace

98.92 99.63

Offensive Efficiency

97 91.3

Defensive Efficiency

103.4 103.3

Turnover Rate

15.6 18.5

Assist Rate

15.9 14.7

Offensive Rebounding Rate

24.5 20.2

Rebound Rate

51 47.1

Free Throw Rate

22 26.9

Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.4 47

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.1 49.1

This might be the game of the year if you're Danny Ainge or Bill Simmons. For everybody else? Nah.

The Sixers made some news off the court this week. Prior to the game against San Antonio, they announced the hiring of Team USA head honcho Jerry Colangelo. Colangelo will serve as Chairman of Basketball Operations, but current General Manager Sam Hinkie will stay have final say on personnel decisions. It sounds as if the owners are tired of The Process and want the Sixers to become competitive again ASAP. Over at Liberty Ballers, Jake Pavorsky breaks it down:

If the commissioner and other owners are now deciding to interfere with how the Sixers opt to run their franchise, then the rebuild will never realize its full potential. The league forcing Harris's hand to put together a better team has the potential for rush job written all over it, and the past several years of meticulous crafting to gain assets and financial freedom could go right down the toilet for the purposes of appeasement. It's easy to be a middle-of-the-road team in the NBA. It is not easy to actually be great, and the Sixers are letting people put a time stamp on on their plan after showing patience for so long.

The reason the Sixers have gone through these years of suffering is to avoid the mediocrity they had been used to for so long. Bringing in Colangelo at the league's behest to try and turn this all around in a short amount of time has the potential to for Philadelphia to mortgage their future while improving short term, all while possibly alienating their now relegated general manager.

This does make a hell of a lot of sense. The Sixers haven't been near a Championship since 2001 and doing a total rebuild is a better alternative than finishing tenth every year. That said, there has to be a happier medium between being in the playoffs every year but not near a title (the mid 2000's Sixers, the current Nets, etc) and the endless stream of losing Philly's currently in. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

With the game against the Rockets being close throughout,  it'll be interesting to see how Lionel Hollins manages the minutes of his starters. Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Brook Lopez each played over 37 minutes while Joe Johnson played 43 minutes, the most in one game since playing 47:44 in triple overtime against the Bucks last season. He only played 25:44 the next game, but it was the second night of a back-to-back.

It's been a disappointing season for Nerlens Noel. Noel is a little more involved in the offense, but is shooting worse from the field and free throw line, and is turning the ball over more often. Noel is one of the players the Sixers will count on once they get good again, so his development is of the utmost importance. Former 76er Thaddeus Young has been terrific this year and will look to keep Noel off the glass. Young doesn't have many plays run for him,

The Sixers are the worst scoring, rebounding and ballhandling (turnovers) team in the league, and if the Nets keep them to their averages, they'll win this game going away.

If Bojan Bogdanovic continues to play like he did on Tuesday, then the Nets have a great chance of climbing in the standings. Bogs scored 19 points, made three three pointers, and thoroughly outplayed James Harden. If he's able to give them close to 17 points a night while shooting efficiently from the floor and three point range, the Nets will have a viable second scoring option in the starting lineup and someone that can be a good sixth man when RHJ comes back in a few months.

Player to watch: Jahlil Okafor

There's a lot to cover here so let's get to it. In October, Okafor got lit in the club and someone pulled a gun on him. In early November, he got ticketed for going 108 MPH down the Ben Franklin Bridge. And to close out November, he got in a fight outside a Boston bar and put a dude to sleep. Okafor received a two game suspension and 76ers management got him a bodyguard so he doesn't end up in bad situations anymore. Teenagers do stupid things, but it would be nice if Big Jah slowed down a bit, for his own good.

Now, to the on court stuff. Okafor is the lead option for the Sixers, and he's played pretty decently for a rookie with a bunch of expectations heaped on him. He's averaging close to 19 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes a night, but is only shooting 44 percent from the field. Coming in, we knew that he was a big man that gets most of his offense from the low post, and one month in, that's held up. He's second in the league in post ups with 155, but is averaging less than one point a possession on those opportunities. As he develops and gets better teammates, that should improve.

Brook Lopez shot pretty well against Dwight Howard and also picked up five blocks, but he did commit a season high six turnovers. The big guy's turnovers are up from where they've been over the past couple of seasons (remember two were injury-shortened), so it's something we should keep an eye on. The Sixers have had difficulties defending the pick-and-roll, so the Nets should keep Okafor busy by running a bunch of Lopez P&Rs.

From the Vault

The series was ugly and injury plagued, but it's always fun to win a playoff series in front of your home fans.

More reading: Liberty Ballers

One more thing...

For those of you going to the game tonight, the Nets will be celebrating Jewish Heritage Night as part of their annual Hanukkah celebration. There'll be a game before the game, special music played throughout the night, and special greetings by the players will be shown in the arena. And in the Nets store, you can buy a special edition of the Nets' "Represent Brooklyn" ... in Hebrew!  Sounds like it's gonna be fun.