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Nets visit Philly to face 76ers ... without Joel Embiid

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Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Not quite. The Brooklyn Nets got down big against the Utah Jazz and fought hard to make it close, bit could't get all the way oit the hole and took the loss last night. Gotta be able to put a complete effort together when you take on opponents in a higher weight class.

The opponent tonight will be the Philadelphia 76ers. It's been an... interesting year for the Sixers and while they still have championship aspirations, it's going to be difficult for them to get out of the East. They lost on the road to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network and ESPN on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip after 7. Make sure to watch the pregame show for more from Ian Eagle exclusive’s interview with Joe Tsai including his relationship with Sean Marks, the need for patience, the Liberty, status of the NBA’s relationship with China and how being successful includes being grateful. Pregame starts at 6:30.

Injuries

Wilson Chandler and Garrett Temple didn't play Tuesday night. No word on their availability for this one. Kevin Durant, of course, remains out. Also, we might see some movement with two-way players and 10-day Justin Anderson. All sorts of deadlines Wednesday.

Joel Embiid broke his finger a few weeks ago and had to undergo surgery. He's out for a while.

The game

Brooklyn won the first meeting in December. These teams will face off again on MLK Day next week.

This is the third game in four nights for the Nets. After this, they're off until Saturday night. Who'll be waiting for them then? Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Dios mio.

Somebody wanna go help Al Horford? The big guy has had a rough first year in Philadelphia as questions about his fit next to Embiid and role in the offense have dominated the focus surrounding him. He's still a good player, but it hasn't translated so far. Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan are hoping that his struggles continue tonight. Allen in particular is hoping to bounce back from last night when he was thoroughly outplayed by Utah's Rudy Gobert. Allen will need to do a lot better than the two rebounds he collected last night if Brooklyn wants to snag the road win.

For the first time in a while, the 76ers aren't near the bottom of the league in turnover rate. Even as they got out of "The Process" years, Philly was among the worst at taking care of the ball. This year, they're up to 18th in turnover rate, a dramatic improvement. It hasn't translated to that much offensive success yet, but once they get fully healthy, maybe that will change.

We'll see if Caris Levert is out there and for how long. The Nets didn't play him for both ends of their last back to back as he missed a game for "injury maintenance." With this being a division game against a rival, I think he'll see the court tonight.

Player to watch: Ben Simmons

So, is it weird that a top 15 to 20 (at worst) player is seen so derisively when discussing his game? If you follow the conversation about Simmons, everything is focused on his inability/refusal to take shots outside of ten feet. Combine that with him being seventh in the league in turnovers and it makes for a cloudy picture. However, Simmons is an excellent defender, versatile, and one of the better distributors in the league. I feel like the focus on threes with him is a bit misguided, but it would help him and the team a bunch if he at least took a few 15 foot jumpers. Gotta give us something.

With this being night two of a b2b, we'll see how Kyrie Irving reacts. He's been back two games and has been sensational in both contests. Look for the combo of Simmons and Josh Richardson to see time defending Irving. The Nets will experiment more with the guard combo of Irving-Levert-Spencer Dinwiddie. It didn't have the greatest results last night, but we haven't really had an opportunity to see them together for an extended run. It'll take time for them to gel together.

From the Vault

I saw a clip of Will Smith reciting his verse from "Brand New Funk" recently, and let me tell you, the Fresh Prince can rap his ass off. Don't sleep

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