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Nets continue preseason in Philly vs. 76ers

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The party rolls on. The Brooklyn Nets came home from the West Coast to host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, with Kevin Durant and James Harden playing for the first team this season and Cam Thomas just showing off.

The opponent tonight will be the Philadelphia 76ers. Doc Rivers and friends are trying to figure a few things out as they come into the season. They played the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night and came away with a 12-point win in front of the hometown faithful.

Where to follow the game

ESPN2 has us covered tonight (ESPN is busy with Colts vs. Ravens on Monday Night Football). Tip off after 8 PM.

Injuries

Paul Millsap missed Friday’s game as he was in health and safety protocols. He’s not on the injury report so it looks like he’ll be back. Devontae Cacok is out with right groin soreness. Kyrie Irving is back practicing with the team, but won’t be playing tonight as it sounds like the Nets are working on a ramp-up plan with him. More on Irving in a second.

Ben Simmons is currently in parts unknown and not here. Man packed up his house so you know he ain’t coming back to Philly any time soon. Matisse Thybulle is out with right shoulder soreness and will be reevaluated in a few days.

The game

So Steve Nash had this to say about Irving’s availability yesterday:

Things are always changing a mile a minute around these parts, so we’ll keep people updated as this situation continues to unfold. And before we move on, I’ll pass the mic to Malika Andrews...

Chris, Matt, and I were at Practice in the Park on Saturday. It was a vibe. Read about it here.

These two teams will do this again for real next Friday so don’t look for too much here. No giving away secrets. With Simmons wherever he is, that opens up an opportunity for Tyrese Maxey. Maxey had a good rookie season last year and now that he has some more responsibilities on his shoulders, we’ll see how he handles it.

The stars (except for Irving) are back for the Nets, and with things tipping off for real soon, Steve Nash and the coaching staff will look to strike the perfect balance of shaking off the rust while not playing his best guys too many minutes in games that don’t count. Kevin Durant and James Harden got some work in and played 23 minutes each.

Player to watch: LaMarcus Aldridge

For a team that had trouble with defensive rebounding last season, having more size to work with is always a good thing. Aldridge was on the team last year and played well here, but his heart condition forced him to medically retire. Thankfully he’s back, healthy, and able to safely resume his career. LMA adds another wrinkle to an already dangerous Nets offense, so as the team figures the rotations out, having a safety blanket like him on the inside will help smooth it out.

So, Dwight Howard is back out west and replacing him will be Andre Drummond. If you think back to last season, he was rumored to be a player the Nets were looking to bring in, but he chose the Lakers instead. Drummond’s LA experience was a disaster and by the end, Lakers fans were practically begging for him not to see the floor. Here, he’s solidly behind Joel Embiid and won’t be tasked with too much. Embiid played 20 minutes vs. the Raptors and figures to be around that number tonight as well.

From the Vault

We haven’t seen championships around these parts in quite some time. This one is for you Yankees fans out there

More reading: Liberty Ballers