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Nets visit playoff-bound 76ers

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Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

That wasn't fun. The Brooklyn Nets had a chance to get their first three-game winning streak of the season on Sunday, but the Detroit Pistons made sure that didn't happen as they came away with a 12-point victory. The Nets must be allergic to the number three, or something.

The opponent tonight will be the Philadelphia 76ers. It's been a dream season for the Sixers as they'll be in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They were able to push their winning streak to TEN after beating the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. They've got a big week ahead of them and will be facing the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night with the three seed on the line.

Where to follow the game

This one's tricky. The Yankees got snowed out yesterday so their home opener will be airing on YES Network starting at 4 PM. Assuming the game runs long, I'm not quite sure where the Nets game will be broadcast (maybe the alternate YES channel?) They'll for sure be on WCBS 880 AM though. Tip off after 7 PM.

Injuries

Isaiah Whitehead underwent surgery and is out for the season. Allen Crabbe is out with an unspecified illness.

Joel Embiid is currently at home resting after he broke his face a few games ago. Philly hopes that he'll be able to return for the playoffs. Dario Saric is dealing with a hurt elbow and he'll be out for this contest.

The game

Brooklyn won the first game in January while Philly took games two and three in March.

At the rate he's going, Ben Simmons will be running the league sooner rather than later. Simmons is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year and he looks like a once in a generation talent that will form a dynamic duo with Embiid for years to come. His jumpshot isn't there yet, he has a turnover problem (that 15:1 assist to turnover ratio in Charlotte notwithstanding!) and he hasn't hit a single three-pointer this season, missing 11, but that part of his game will grow in due time.

When you effect the game in as many ways as Simmons does already, it shows that he's on the fast track to superstardom. D'Angelo Russell will be running point for Brooklyn and he needs a good showing in the worst way. It's been a rough couple of games for him and a good showing will do wonders for his confidence as the season winds down.

This one's gonna be fast and a bit on the sloppy side. Both teams are top ten in both pace and turnover rate (not in a good way) so there'll be plenty of frustrated faces being made by Kenny Atkinson and Brett Brown tonight. Also, these are the two worst fourth quarter teams in the league this season. For Philly, that's going to be a big problem for them when the playoffs start. They can mitigate that by shortening their rotations and pushing some of their key guys into the 38-40 minute range.

It promises to be an interesting night for Jahlil Okafor. The former 76er hasn't played in a while and there are questions about whether he'll be back in Brooklyn next season. With so many questions about his future, Okafor will have to decide which situation will be best for him and allow him to develop into the player he hopes to become. That's a lot to think about when you're 22 and struggling to find your footing.

Player to watch: Markelle Fultz

If you had asked me about two months ago, I would've bet the farm that Fultz wouldn't play this season. He hadn't played all year and those videos of his ugly shooting form had everybody concerned for his future. He made his debut a few games back and hasn't looked half bad. The numbers aren't sexy, but Philly fans and management aren't concerned about that. As Tyler Monahan of Liberty Ballers explains:

Gotta crawl before you run.

Caris Levert might be feeling a little down today. His Michigan Wolverines were defeated by Villanova in the National Championship game last night and with tonight's game being in Philly, he's definitely gonna hear about it. He's put together a solid sophomore campaign and is the most important player on the Nets second unit.

Dante Cunningham, on the other hand, has to be feeling quite good ... although he is now the second most popular Dante/Donte in Wildcats’ history.

From the Vault

The snow ruined everyone's plans yesterday and caused the Yankees home opener to be pushed back to today. If the good folks of the Bx are lucky, Giancarlo Stanton will treat them to a special moment like Hideki Matsui did in his Yankee Stadium debut back in 2003.

More reading: Liberty Ballers