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Nets take a trip to Philly

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing doing. The Nets opened up their brief road trip in Orlando on Friday night, but lost 118-111 to the Magic. Brooklyn has one more game on the road before heading back home to start a back-to-back. The opponents those two nights? The Warriors and Cavaliers. Eesh.

Awaiting the Nets will be the Philadelphia 76ers. There wasn't much expected from them this season and they find themselves near the bottom of the Eastern Conference with the Nets. They fell behind by a bunch, fought back, but weren't able to overcome the Lakers and lost at home on Friday night. They've got one more game at home before they start a week long road trip that will tske them to Phoenix, Sacramento, Utah, and Denver.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 6 PM.


Jeremy Lin returned to action on Friday, but came off the bench. He'll be playing tonight, but no word on his role yet. Everyone else is healthy. Chris McCullough is with the Long Island Nets.

Jerryd Bayless is out for the year after undergoing wrist surgery.

The game

Our friends over at Liberty Ballers are doing a ticket drive with the 76ers to benefit the Philadelphia Boys and Girls Club. Check out the details here.

We might have a controversy on our hands in Philadelphia. Nerlens Noel only played eight minutes on Friday and was fairly unhappy about it. Here's what he had to say after the game:

You can definitely see where he's coming from. As a young player and particularly a young player returning to action following an injury, he needs as much playing time as possible. Brett Brown has a logjam in the frontcourt and how he manages it will be the most important thing to keep an eye on for the Sixers. He’s not sure it will work out.

"I think it would be an extreme challenge," the Sixers coach said after practice Saturday.

On the other hand, Noel has picked up a bad rep. Adrian Wojnarowski, in a podcast with Bobby Marks, said this week...

“The research teams have done on him is not good. Their intel of how he’s carrying himself there, of his habits, is not a great return. There are teams willing to do a deal for him and bring him in, but they don’t want to give up much.”

Prepare to see a boatload of three pointers attempted tonight. Brooklyn is third in three point attempts per game and the Sixers are sixth. Both teams are also extremely turnover prone so don’t be surprised if this game gets sloppy in a hurry.

Nik Stauskas appears to be turning into a useful player. He’s shooting career highs from the field, three point line, and is getting to the foul line more often. He’s able to stretch the floor and that helps create room for the big guys on the inside. The Sixers have been doing a great job of spreading the ball around and having a shooter like Stauskas helps keeps defenses honest. Rondae Hollis Jefferson lost his starting job due to injury, but he’s still someone that’s an important player for the Nets. They’ll need him to help out on the glass and chase Stauskas off the three point line tonight.

Player to watch: Joel Embiid

How can you not love this dude? Thanks to injuries, Embiid missed two seasons after he was taken third overall back in 2014. While he was out, he became a fan favorite thanks to his Twitter and Instagram accounts. Luckily for us, he's continued to be a great follow and is making another rebuilding season in Philadelphia worth watching.

On the court, The Process has been just as fun. In his rookie year, the big fella has been averaging an impressive 17.6 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Most impressively, he's been a pretty decent passer and as the 76ers continue to find the right pieces, Embiid's skills in that area will come in handy. As he gets more experienced and acclimated to opposing defenses, he should commit fewer turnovers as well.

Naturally, the 76ers have been cautious with him, but they have increased his minutes limit to 28 minutes a game. He's been starting next to Jahlil Okafor the past couple of games, and it doesn’t seem like a good fit. Okafor is a bad defender and takes up space on the inside that Embiid would occupy. It’s still early, so maybe they’ll figure something out.

I was gone the past couple of days, so excuse me for a second...

Ok I'm back. In previous years, this would be a battle that would take place exclusively in the low post. However, with Lopez becoming an acceptable three point shooter, it’ll make things interesting for Embiid and the Sixers. The Process is third in blocks per game, and by drawing him away from the basket, driving lanes should open up for the Nets.

From the Vault

Of all the great interviews Allen Iverson did before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, the one he did with Craig Sager was the most touching. Rest in peace to Craig.

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