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Nets and Sixers play a matinee at Barclays

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It could've been worse. The Brooklyn Nets fell behind by a bunch to the Cleveland Cavaliers and fought back, but ultimately fell short 116-108 on Friday night. The losing streak is at five games.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Philadelphia 76ers. Like Brooklyn, Philly finds themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with the Nets. They had won back-to-back games going into Friday's game in Boston, but fell a bit short and lost 110-106.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. This one’s early and tip off will be after noon.

Injuries

Jeremy Lin is out.

Ben Simmons is still recovering from foot surgery, but he’s inching closer to making his NBA debut. Sergio Rodriguez missed Friday's game with an ankle injury and his status for this one is unknown.

The game

Philly won the first meeting last month.

Joel Embiid has continued his stellar play. The big man is on track to make the All Star team (maybe as a starter if he gets enough votes) and has been well worth the wait. He had one of his best games of the season vs the Nets and will look to do it again this afternoon. Embiid is still on a minutes limit, but that’s not a really big deal at this point in time. He also has gastroenteritis so that might keep his minutes down some as well. Brook Lopez will be the focal point for the Nets and will look to put a complete game effort up against Embiid. He had a spectacular first half against Philly in game one, but was a non-factor in the second half. He’d have an easier time against Jahlil Okafor as compared to Embiid, but Jah was a DNP-CD on Friday and Lord knows what Brett Brown will do with his big man rotation.

Caris Levert is coming off the best game of his young career. The rookie scored a career high 19 points and most importantly, looked incredibly comfortable running the point for Brooklyn. The Nets have room to experiment and I wouldn’t be surprised if he took on more responsibility in initiating the offense. His development going forward will have major ramifications on how the Nets organize their roster and approach free agency.

Player to watch: Nerlens Noel

When we last saw the 76ers, Noel publicly voiced his frustration with the rotation and his playing time. As it so happens, Noel saw his playing time reduced. He’s gotten some more minutes over the past week and has made the most of it. Whenn he plays, it’s easy to see why he can be a valuable contributor. He’s a good rebounder and most importantly, a great rim protector. Initially, I was puzzled as to why Philly demoted Noel. However, after reading this article from Liberty Ballers’ Kyle Neubeck, I think I have a little better understanding as to what’s going on:

Nerlens Noel has made life harder for everyone around him in Philadelphia. This is an objective fact. He is putting strain on a coach already overburdened, diminishing trade value for multiple players on the roster, and contributes to a lingering image of strife to people outside the organization.

Noel’s absence from the offseason program, the timing of his elective surgery, and the increasingly hostile comments directed at the organization reveal a young man interested in himself and his own interests. In golf or tennis, that sort of attitude would probably be just fine. In a team sport like basketball, it serves to create a wall between Noel and his team, from the players all the way up to the top of the organization. In a contract year, his rage is understood, but unchecked it damages everyone.

It’s going to be incredibly interesting to see what the 76ers do with Noel as we approach the trade deadline.

Trevor Booker has consistently been a bright spot for Brooklyn. He’s their best rebounder, can lead the occasional fastbreak and is an acceptable post scorer. He was one of the better free agent acquisitions made this offseason and is someone the Nets can count on to give a good effort every night.

From the Vault

You can never go wrong with Allen Iverson at the Rucker.

More reading: Liberty Ballers