WHAT: We’re home! And while this isn’t your typical “revenge game,” it’s kinda a “revenge game.” Fros and elbows.
WHERE: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
WHEN: 8:00 p.m. EST
HOW: WWOR, NBCSP; TNT
THE STORY: Preview
The Sixers out-rebounded the Nets 49-32 and that is just too wide a margin for the Nets to allow again. They have to do a better job at boxing out the Sixers, especially on defense where Philly grabbed 15 offensive boards. Brooklyn doesn’t have nearly as much pure talent as Philadelphia, so they’re going to have to play both harder and smarter if they want to win this series. They have to win the turnover, foul, and rebounding battles. There is absolutely no reason that Caris LeVertand Spencer Dinwiddie can’t put multiple Sixers in foul trouble early on.
The Nets biggest problem was team defense, which I’m sure Kenny and his assistants have been in the lab trying to figure out for a couple of days now. We’ll see how they counter in Game 3. Something a little less technical is the fact that the Nets need their one All Star to be an All Star. This series is unwinnable if D’Angelo Russell is even just good, which is what he’s mostly been so far. He isn’t shooting great, 39% from the field and 38% from three, and his assist numbers are down to 3 a game. The Nets play better when DLo can whip passes around the court to open wings and diving bigs, so opening up the offense and giving D’Angelo a little more room to cook is going to be imperative going forward.
For more on the 76ers, check out: Liberty Ballers
The Barclay’s Center should be especially hostile this evening. Beef has been building between these two teams, with Jared Dudley and Ben Simmons exchanging trash talk, and the Nets apparently pretty upset over Joel Embiid’s elbow to the face of Jarrett Allen in Game 2. The fact that this is the Nets first home playoff game since 2015 should amp up the rowdiness of the home crowd.
After coming out flat and seemingly uninterested in Game 1, the Sixers stepped up their effort in Game 2, scoring a franchise playoff record 145 points. While the offense reached peak potency in the 3rd quarter of Game 2, so did the Sixers’ defense. Ben Simmons stood out for the intensity with which he hounded D’Angelo Russell — it appeared to be an attempt at changing the fabric of the Nets offense, as Russell’s usage rate dropped by nearly 14 percentage points from Game 1 to Game 2. Will the Sixers chase Russell around with the same ferocity in Game 2?