Opponent: Philadelphia 76ers
Time: 6:00pm EST
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Listen: WFAN 101.9 FM 660AM
The Brooklyn Nets look to get their eighth win of the season, taking on a Philadelphia 76ers team that is one of two teams that has fewer wins than the Nets. (Yes, that other team happens to be Deron Williams and the Dallas Mavericks, but who’s counting?) This will truly be another matchup of Eastern Conference cellar dwellers and with the strength of the Nets’ schedule next week — Toronto, Cleveland, and Golden State, getting a win in this game becomes even more important for the water-treading franchise.
Coming off a devastating 118 – 111 loss to the Orlando Magic, in which the Nets held a 9-points lead in the third quarter, the home team outscored the Nets 35-29 in the fourth quarter and that was that. The Nets, as usual, struggled with Magic big man Nikola Vucevic, who came off the bench to drop 21 points and grab 10 rebounds. Orlando guard Evan Fournier caused major problems too as he finished with 21 points and the front court duo of Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo combined for 8 blocks in the congested paint.
Elsewhere, the Nets were led by Brook Lopez’s 22 points and 6 rebounds, and Jeremy Lin was very productive in his 19 minutes and tallied 17 points and dished out 3 assists. Unfortunately, the ever-reliable Trevor Booker was unable to backup his stellar 18-rebound performance against the Los Angeles Lakers as he only put up 2 points along with 9 boards in 29 minutes.
The Philadelphia 76ers are coming off a 100-89 home loss to those aforementioned Lakers, dropping their record to just 6-20 — but there appears to be more drama on the horizon with forward Nerlens Noel. After his post-game rant about playing just 8 minutes, head coach Brett Brown has said that Noel is out of the rotation as of now.
As the potential-laden shot blocker’s trade value continues to plummet, there’s one franchise that should consider giving the now Sam Hinkie-less Sixers a ring…
3 Things to Watch for in Nets-Sixers:
1. Who is next to join the Brook Lopez dunk club?
Larry Nance Jr. started the precedent on Wednesday night, only to be followed up by Jeff Green on Friday. So, then, if this is a continuing pattern, who will it be on Sunday? Joel Embiid? Robert Covington? Although this keeps happening to poor Lopez, it’s hard not to applaud his effort defending the rim. He has made great improvements to that part of his game in the last couple years, and on dunks like Nance Jr.’s, it’s more bad luck than anything else. Of course, an occasional poster is worth it if it means teams won’t get easy baskets at the rim as long as Lopez is near.
2. Justin Hamilton’s status
Migraines have kept the Nets’ backup center out for the last three games, but as of now, he’s not on the Injury Report for tonight’s against the Sixers. It’ll be interesting to see if Hamilton immediately regains his spot in the rotation if they’ll continue to go to the surprising Anthony Bennett. The latter has done a solid enough job replacing him, however Hamilton’s three point shooting far surpasses Bennett’s.
3. Lin’s minute restriction, or lack thereof
The Nets will not have Jeremy Lin start the game, but it feels as if the restriction is close to being lifted. In a tweet from Newsday’s Greg Logan, he reiterated that Lin felt much better, but that they’d be playing it by feel throughout the game.