Out of the frying pan and into the fire. After a tough game Saturday night that saw the Nets get close to the Raptors —but nothing more, Kenny Atkinson’s charges are back in Brooklyn to the Broad Street Bullies, aka the 76ers. It is the toughest back-to-back the Nets will face all year. They’re depleted by injury, facing two of the East’s best teams on a home-and-home with start times less that 24 hours apart.
A loss to the Sixers would extend the Nets losing streak to three games and have everyone re-think the good feelings they had last weekend when they had won three straight. But some late injury news out of Philly suggests that the Nets may get a break.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 6:00.
The Nets will be without four players: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert and Nicolas Claxton, No word on any of their returns. However, Wilson Chandler’s 25-game suspension for PED use is over and Kenny Atkinson says he will be “thrown to the Wolves” Sunday. He’s been practicing with the team and played a single game on the preseason trip to China.
Irving will miss his 15th on Sunday LeVert his 17th.
Philly could be without their two All-star big men. Joel Embiid (Upper respiratory illness) is listed as doubtful and Al Horford (knee and hamstring soreness) is questionable. He’s missed the last two games. That would leave the 76ers with one true center, Kyle O’Quinn. Looks like drama at Game Time.
So much going on here. The Sixers are on a roll. Philadelphia enters Sunday on a five-game winning streak — nine wins in its last 10 games. The 76ers finish well. Four of the five wins were by single digits, including Friday’s 116-109 home win over New Orleans. Tobias Harris, who people forgot got the biggest contract of the off-season at 5 years and $180 million, scored 31 points. He’s averaged 24.9 points in his last seven games.
”He’s been so steady and just responsible and reliable,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said of Harris. “He’s our go-to guy, and I put him in a bunch of different spots.”
Then, there’s the monster who dominated Jarrett Allen’s nightmares last summer: Joel Embiid. Will he play? He finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds Friday to follow up his 38-point night in Thursday’s nationally televised win at Boston.
Back in April, the Nets couldn’t contain Joel Embiid in the first round of the playoffs. The result was a first-round exit in five games at the hands of the 76ers. Embiid treated Allen so roughly that at one point in Game 4, Jared Dudley intervened and pushed Embiid, starting a fracas between the two teams.
Allen redeemed himself a bit in that game, going for 21 and 8 but Embiid 31 and 16 with six blocks. Allen of course is stronger this season, garnering 10 rebounds in nine straight games. Plus he had DeAndre Jordan as his back-up. It should be interesting underneath.
It also should be noted that Rodions Kurucs played well back then. In Game 5, The 6’10” (6’9 3/4” in sneakers) Latvian finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal, hitting 2-of-3 from deep, all in 14 minutes. He played 17 minutes in Toronto.
Finally, this is Wilson Chandler’s first game back and ironically, it’s against Philly who traded him at the deadline to the Clippers in the Harris deal. In 36 games with the Sixers —32 starts, Chandler averaged 6.7. points, 4.7 boards and shot 39 percent from three. We’ll take that kind of tame from him tonigh.
From the Vault
If you’ve forgotten the fracas, here’s the play-by-play.
Miss you, Jared.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Philadelphia 76ers Game Notes - Philadelphia 76ers
- Nets resume search for ways to slow Embiid, 76ers - STATS/TSX
- Jarrett Allen’s offseason prep will be tested by Joel Embiid - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie continuing his evolution into All-Star candidate - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Is Sixers’ Tobias Harris an All-Star? He’s making a compelling case - Phil Hudrick - NBC Sports