WHAT: The Nets are barely holding on to the 6th seed in the East - just barely even holding on to a spot in the playoffs - and their road to the playoffs does not get any easier. In fact, it’s really, really hard. And it begins tonight against the 76ers.
WHERE: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. EST
HOW: YES, NBCSP; NBA League Pass
THE STORY: Game Preview
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.
For more on the 76ers, check out: Liberty Ballers
The Nets have taken advantage of the Sixers this season by exploiting Philly’s defensive scheme. Brett Brown’s drop coverage, which often gives the opponent the option of challenging Embiid at the rim or taking a mid-range shot, appears to be ineffective against volume scoring guards like Russell and Dinwiddie. This is has contributed to a slight paranoia from Sixers fans that maybe, possibly, the Sixers are on upset alert for the opening round of the 2019 playoffs — I do not endorse this sentiment! Some of those fears will be minimized if the Sixers can get back in the win column this evening.