WHAT: Alright, so, time to reset. Nets are still at home and have a chance to tie up this series against a 76ers team with an inured Joel Embiid. Kenny seems to be open to playing his best players some more minutes - which seems promising. But the Nets more than anything are going to need to get stops against the 76ers and not just turn it into a shot for shot track meet. There’s hope, but this game is a must win.
WHERE: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
WHEN: 3:00 p.m. EST
HOW: WWOR, NBCSP; TNT
THE STORY: Preview
Let’s play a game, it’s called What’s Wrong With This Sentence. Ready? Here it is: Caris LeVert scored 26 points in 27 minutes. Now, you might think that’s a lot of points for the amount of minutes he played. Correct! The problem? PLAY HIM MORE. Actually, PLAY CARIS AND D’ANGELO AND SPENCER MORE. Caris played 27 minutes, DLo played 29, and Spencer played 26. This is the playoffs, and that is unacceptable. Ben Simmons, for example, played 38 minutes and dominated the Nets. Brooklyn is going to need all the points they can get from their three scorers, and playing them all under 30 minutes is just an untenable strategy.
Defense is still an issue for the Nets in this series, but I don’t think there’s necessarily a fix. I know that might sound fatalist, but it actually presents an opportunity to just go nuts on offense. The Nets are just simply going to have to out-gun the Sixers, and in the case that they don’t shoot 20 percent from three going forward it isn’t impossible. Play the Three Amigos all at least 32 minutes a game, and just set them loose. They should be singularly focused on getting to the basket and drawing fouls, which would then eventually collapse the Sixers defense and open up shots on the perimeter for guys like Joe Harris and DeMarre Carroll. It would also give the Sixers fewer transition opportunities, which would slow their scoring significantly. The Nets just have to leave it all on the court, which is something only a few of them seem to be doing so far. They look frustrated and static. It’s time to bounce back and get some rhythm going.
For more on the 76ers, check out: Liberty Ballers
One thing that has been of interest to many is the 3-point shooting in this series. The Sixers shot terribly in Game 1, but have come back from the depths of despair and are currently averaging 31 percent from beyond the arc in Round 1. That is a touch below their season average of 36 percent, but they are trending in the right direction. The Nets are also shooting close to their season average from 3, but are trending in the wrong direction.