Opponent: Philadelphia 76ers
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Where to watch: YES 2*, Fox Sports Go
Listen: WCBS 880 AM
The Brooklyn Nets will look for their first three-game winning streak since the 2015 season as Brook Lopez and company also look to stay undefeated in the month of April. In Philadelphia to take on the 76ers, the home team is looking for the season sweep after they handed the Nets another loss just last week. Jeremy Lin fully aware of the magnitude of the loss took full blame as he struggled in crunch time during that game:
“I didn’t play nearly close to what I’m capable of, so I have to just live with that tonight and then just get better for the next one, but I definitely feel like if I just had played better – hit more shots – we wouldn’t be in this position,” Usually the closer for the Nets, Lin was limited to only two points in the fourth quarter and shot poorly, finishing 4-14 from the field and 0-4 from 3.
Brooklyn was able to exploit anyone matched up against Lopez who finished with 26 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks. Philadelphia has shut down both of their big men Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, leaving the likes of Richaun Holmes, Dario Saric, and Tiago Splitter to attempt to handle Lopez. The Nets likely will adjust their late game strategy as Lopez only put up three shots all of the fourth quarter.
Lopez has been a big reason behind the Nets breaking their 20-game losing streaks on the second halves of back-to-backs on Sunday. Lopez scored 30 points against the Magic and then 29 points against the Hawks to lead all scorers in both contests. Philadelphia, attempting to improve their draft position at this point of the season, is in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has taken full advantage of the ample playing time, exploding against Toronto on Sunday for 23 points in 35 minutes.
3 Things to Watch For in Nets-Sixers:
1. T.J. McConnell
The second-year point guard is in the midst of a breakout season, McConnell has seen his strongest performances against the New York teams this season. We all remember his buzzer-beater against the Knicks, but he has dominated Nets guards all season as well. McConnell impacts the game through the intangibles he offers and is averaging about 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals in the three games against the Nets this year.
2. Battle For Backup Center
After falling out of the rotation over the winter, Justin Hamilton has come on strong in any minutes available. Coincidentally, also on his April 1st birthday, Hamilton scored 13 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 19 minutes against the Magic. It will be interesting how coach Atkinson handles both centers as Acy struggled with his shot in his return to the lineup on Sunday.
3. Race For Second To Last
Sure, it’s a pipe dream, but Brooklyn’s recent string of strong play has fans dreaming of the possibility of sticking it to the Celtics in just a tiny way. The Nets are four games back of the Suns, who have upcoming games with the Warriors and Thunder, and also four games behind the Lakers who take on the Spurs tonight. The Nets need to win four of their last five games and their new opponents must lose out — so don’t hold your breath.