Grade the Players at any time!
Today: The 13-12 Brooklyn Nets take on the 13-14 Philadelphia 76ers today at 3 P.M. EST at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Both teams are in relative freefall — the Sixers have lost five of their last six games, and the Nets have gone 2-8 in their last ten, with victories only over the 9-19 Raptors and 9-21 Pistons.
Watch & Listen: The game is broadcast on YES Network. Ryan Ruocco & Mike Fratello have the call. The game is also broadcast on WFAN Radio (Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw are on the call), and in Spanish on WADO Radio.
Philadelphia 76ers: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez
Keith Bogans starting!? Yup, that’s right. Avery Johnson routinely talks about how Thaddeus Young gives bigger power forwards like Kris Humphries fits, so he’s adjusted his starting lineup accordingly, putting Bogans at small forward and matching up Wallace with the 3/4 hybrid Young.
Philadelphia 76ers: 100.4 offensive rating (18th), 103.0 defensive rating (19th), 92.54 possessions per game (28th)
Brooklyn Nets: 103.6 offensive rating (11th), 103.4 defensive rating (21st), 90.30 possessions per game (30th)
3 Keys to the Game
1) Andray Blatche’s… defense? The Sixers rank second in the NBA in turnover rate (in the good way), behind only the Knicks, who currently have a historically low turnover rate. The Nets defense is not particularly adept at causing turnovers — and this, weirdly, is where Andray Blatche comes in. Backup center Blatche leads the Nets with a 2.7% steal percentage, and opponents turn the ball over almost 25% more often with Blatche on the floor than off. If the Nets can force the Sixers off their strongest suit — keeping control of the ball — it’ll do wonders for their chances to win.
2) Finding the touch. The Sixers are not the best team defending the perimeter — they’ve allowed teams to shoot 37% from beyond the arc this season, 40.1% from the corners, and 43.2% from the right wing three. The corner three has been Stack’s House — Jerry Stackhouse is 17/33 (51.5%) from the corners this season — and Joe Johnson has shot 43% from the right wing three. Even with Deron Williams’ struggles, the Nets should be able to take advantage from deep tonight.
3) Brook Lopez’s rebounding… advantage?. Brook Lopez’s rebound rate is 14.1%, the highest since his rookie season. At center, the Sixers will likely start either Kwame Brown, whose rebound rate is 13.2%, or Lavoy Allen, whose rebound rate is 12.5%. It’s not often that Lopez has a distinct advantage on the glass over his opponents. If he can take advantage? The Nets will, hopefully, continue to float above .500.