Not good enough. The Brooklyn Nets had multiple chances to come away with an incredibly impressive win in Portland on Monday night, but some bad mistakes and some bad luck led to them losing by four points. Can't linger on it too long though.
The opponent tonight will be the Philadelphia 76ers. It's been a busy year for Brett Brown's squad as they're on track to land the three seed when the playoffs begin on April 13th. They’re not in the best of moods after they got boxed around by the Orlando Magic on Monday night. The schedule lightens up after this (save for an April 4th game against the Bucks and a potential playoff rematch on April 9th in Miami) so they should hang on to third.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7 PM.
Allen Crabbe missed last game and is out this game as well.
Ben Simmons sat Monday's game out due to a stomach virus. He’ll play. Mike Scott is day to day with a back injury.
As it stands now, here's how the bottom of the East looks
Here are some games Nets fans should keep an eye on Thursday.
Orlando at Detroit
Dallas at Miami
Brooklyn won the first and third meetings while Philly took Game 2.
Whoever wins the turnover battle will probably win the game. Both squads are in the bottom third in turnover rate in the league this season and in their three meetings, the team that committed the fewest turnovers won each contest. For the Nets, this means D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie will have to make good decisions with and without the ball. Late in Monday's game, they both made foolish mistakes that helped push the Nets to a loss. That said, they've both been great throughout the year and will have a big advantage at the point if Simmons doesn't play.
After a terrible game in Portland, Jarrett Allen will be rewarded by having to go against the best Center in the East. Embiid’s gotten better each year he’s been in the league and is currently second in free throws attempted a game. For Allen, the hope is that Embiid will fall in love with the three point shot as that is the one (relative) weakness in his game this year. Ed Davis has done an admirable controlling the glass coming off the bench and the Nets will need him to play a big role tonight.
When the playoffs start, rotations go from nine players to about seven or so. For the 76ers, their lineup of Simmons-JJ Redick-Jimmy Butler-Tobias Harris-Embiid has a plus minus of 15.7, which is good for sixth best in the league of lineups that have played at least 150 minutes together.
Player to watch: Tobias Harris
One of the biggest moves of the deadline came when Philly acquired Harris (while the whole East Coast was asleep) from the LA Clippers for Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler and a bunch of picks. Having Harris gives the 76ers another scoring option and arguably the best starting five in the East. Since the All Star break, Tobi’s averaged 19 points and eight rebounds on a 48.5/35.4/85.7 shooting split. He’s fit in seamlessly to a jumbled roster, and as Steve Lipman of Liberty Ballers explains:
Low maintenance, high quality players like Harris are hard to come by and when the playoffs start, he'll be one of the reasons Philly will have a chance to get back to the Conference Finals since 2001.
The duo of Rodi Kurucs and Demarre Carroll will tangle with Harris. Carroll has played a variety of roles for the team this year and has been a calming veteran presence. For a team who's best players are young and never played in high pressure NBA games, having a guy who helped a team make a deep playoff run is incredibly valuable.
From the Vault
My key card still works around these parts, so we're taking three trips to the Vault!
On Sunday, radio host Bob Slade passed away after a long bout with kidney disease. Bob was most well-known for hosting “Open Line” every Sunday morning, but I got familiar with him through “Week in Review” every Sunday night at 11 PM. It was there listening to Slade, Bob Pickett, Peter Noel, and Charles W. Etheridge III, I got a better understanding of the community and they helped sharpen my own internal politics. Although I didn’t appreciate the show enough in my early 20s, as I get older, I’ve come to cherish the importance of having Black radio and fearless people that will focus on stories impacting our community even when larger outlets either ignore or don’t cover issues with the care and nuance it deserves. For more on Bob, read David Hinckley’s obit here. With all that said, let’s watch Bob interview Ms. Dionne Warwick.
If the standings stay the same from here until the end of the season, Brooklyn and Philly will meet up in the first round of the playoffs. They met up in the first round back in 1984 as Moses Malone, Dr. J, Mo Cheeks and the 76ers tried to defend their Championship and avoid an upset at the hands of Michael Ray Richardson and the Nets.
And lastly, with Auburn being back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003, let's revisit their game against Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse.
For a different perspective, head on over to Liberty Ballers, our 76ers sister site on SB Nation.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Philadelphia 76ers Game Notes - Philadelphia 76ers
- 76ers strive to get back on track against road-weary Nets - STATS/TSX
- Nets’ offense needs boost, and Sixers could be surprising balm - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- How Kenny Atkinson is approaching Nets’ playoff race - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets face star-studded 76ers to finish tough road trip - Greg Logan - Newsday
- NETS VS. SIXERS: BROOKLYN HITS END OF THE ROAD IN PHILADELPHIA - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- BROOKLYN NETS STATS SURVEY - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- A ROOKIE RISES IN BROOKLYN - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- NBA Daily: Nets Frontcourt Key to Success - David Yapkowitz - Basketball Insiders
- The Sixers have a big puzzle to solve in their last eight games - David Murphy - Philadelphia Inquirer