WHAT: The Nets are on a 2-game win streak, the 76ers are possibly without Jimmy Butler - here come the Nets?
WHERE: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. EST
HOW: YES, NBCPS+; NBA League Pass
THE STORY: Game Preview
Hey! Missed you guys! It’s been a real minute since the last Nets game and wow did we all need the rest. I don’t know about you but even after the back to back wins against the Raptors and Knicks, the losing streak was just emotionally exhausting after a while. So many close ones. So many disappointments. Plus, it seems like the Nets have played the most arduous schedule in the NBA so a three-day break is just what the doctor ordered. They should be rested and ready to go to for Wednesday’s match-up with the 76ers, who just swept a home and home against the Pistons and sit third in the East at 19-9. Let’s get into it.
The Nets have played the Sixers well this season in their two matchups, running them off the floor in the first and losing on a Jimmy Butler game winner in the second. Brooklyn scored 122 and 125 points against the Philly defense in those games which is impressive considering Philly is 11th in the league with a 106.8 Defensive Rating. There’s a good chance this one ends up another close match-up, with the Nets having played 17 “clutch games” this season, games that are within five points or fewer in the final five minutes, the most in the league.
Joel Embiid has looked a little more human since the Butler trade, at least on offense. This is to be expected not only since Butler is going to get his shots, but the offensive dynamic does shift a bit with another impact player coming into the fold. Embiid’s shooting 43% from the field since the trade compared to 48% before, and his points per game are down from 27.7 to 24.7, a clean three-point drop. The Nets held him to just 16 points in the first match-up but he went for 32 in the second. We’ll see if the Nets can focus their defensive scheme on him to neutralize his output, but it’ll be harder if Butler plays. He needs some attention as well.
For more on the 76ers, check out: Liberty Ballers
Neubeck went on to note that Butler underwent an MRI that revealed “nothing significant” — i.e., no damage worth worrying about.
Butler’s injury occurred during Monday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. He left the game early with a groin strain and did not return.
If Butler is a no-go vs. the Nets, I would expect Mike Muscala to get the start in his place, with Muscala manning the four and Wilson Chandler sliding down to small forward.