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Nets look to win their second straight vs Sixers

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

That was necessary. The Brooklyn Nets had lost five straight games heading into Friday's contest against the Kings in Brooklyn. The Nets put on a show and came away with a quality 128-119 victory in front of the home fans. They've got two more games after tonight before getting some time off for the All Star Break.

On the other side are the Philadelphia 76ers. They're still focused on the future and hoping to wrap this year up as soon as possible. They lost to Washington last night 106-94. Philly is still in last place, but to their credit, they've been playing much better (relatively speaking of course) and look to be simply bad instead of "worst team of all time" bad. Progress is progress.

Where to follow the game

YES Network for TV. WFAN 101.9 FM for radio. Tip at 7:30.

Injuries

Chris McCullough will be held out of this one and all signs point to him making his NBA debut on Monday.

Richaun Holmes will be out due to an ankle injury.

The game

Check it out

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Philadelphia

Record

13-38 7-43

Pace

96.79 100.02

Offensive Efficiency

99.1 94.2

Defensive Efficiency

106.4 104.7

Turnover Rate

15.3 17.7

Assist Rate

16.8 15.8

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.9 21.2

Rebound Rate

49.7 47.6

Free Throw Rate

23.1 26.9

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.4 48.4

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.4 50.6

The Nets won the first meeting in December

The Sixers have gotten tons of criticism for how they've gone about constructing their roster as it relates to tanking and looking for a franchise savior, but I saw another criticism that was really interesting to me. Over at Vice Sports, Seth Partnow discussed the proliferation of advanced metrics in the NBA and had this to say about Philly's approach on the court:

In Philadelphia's case, an intentional lack of talent has a great deal to do with their struggles. One can't help but wonder if a slightly more balanced approach—forcing opposing defenses to defend more of the court while de-emphasizing the offensive weakness of the team's young, sometimes D-League-level roster—might result in moderately better performance.

The important stuff for the Sixers will take place in the summer as they incorporate another high draft pick into the roster. With the additions to the management team, they have to go about repairing their reputation amongst agents, draftees, and players currently in the league.

Despite the appearances on TMZ earlier in the season, Jahlil Okafor has been having a nice rookie campaign all in all. Big Jah leads all rookies in scoring at 16.9 points a night and is third among rebounders with 7.1 in 30 minutes a night. He's coming off of a fantastic January as he averaged around 17 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes. He's been developing nicely, but Brett Brown could stand to utilize him a bit better. Jake Pavorsky of Liberty Ballers made a point I feel connects to Partnow's article from above:

Their floor spacing is absolutely atrocious, which basically forces Okafor to jack up contested mid-range shots. If they want to make it work with him, they need to find a way to work him into the offense in something other than isolation plays.

Okafor and Brook Lopez's battle on the inside will be a fun one to keep an eye on. This'll be the third rookie big Brook has played against this week. Okafor, Willie Cauley Stein, and Myles Turner have all had nice debut seasons and will be some of the better centers in the NBA soon.

Player to watch: Ish Smith

Throughout the season, the 76ers have discussed the need for a point guard to guide the offense. They picked up Ish Smith on Christmas Eve for two second round draft picks, and he's been running the point for them ever since. In 19 games, Smith is averaging close to 16 points and eight assists in 31 minutes a night. Most (well, all) of his offense comes from attacking the rim as he's third in drives and the majority of his field goal attempts have come from the restricted area.

The duo of Donald Sloan and Shane Larkin will be manning the point, but Joe Johnson has been the person that's been creating most of the looks for the offense recently. Sloan and Larkin will be responsible for watching Smith. Smith is a bad jump shooter, so if the Nets PG duo can keep him from getting to the rim, they'll be able to short circuit the 76er attack.

From the Vault

The Sixers are honoring former 76er (and Net) Darryl Dawkins. In honor of Chocolate Thunder, check out some of his greatest dunks.

More reading: Liberty Ballers