The New Jersey Nets host their division rivals, the 76ers, in Newark tonight, at what could not really be a worse time. While New Jersey has lost its last seven games, Philadelphia has gone 5-2 over that same stretch, including wins over New Orleans, Portland, and, yes, the Nets. Here are some things to look out for:
- No. 2 vs. No. 3: Back in May and June, there was a question as to whether Evan Turner might end up on the Nets before he went second overall to the Sixers. Tonight, though, he will do battle with Derrick Favors, the third overall selection. Turner has been less than stellar this year, averaging just under 7 points on 42 percent shooting, while making only 2 of his 12 three-point attempts thus far. His move to the bench has done little to help his efficiency, as the coaching staff thought it would. Meanwhile, Favors has been on a bit of a slide, failing to convert on some easy looks that could have helped the Nets. Still, he’s rebounding as well as ever, and that’s important to the team right now.
- Minding Spencer Hawes: Brook Lopez is not the quickest guy in the league, and accordingly, he might have a little trouble staying with Hawes, who tends to float around the perimeter. If Lopez gets lazy, Hawes could end up with a few uncontested three-pointers, which could prove costly in the outcome of the game.
- Find the Touch: The Nets offense hasn’t been all that spectacular lately, and they aren’t going to get a break tonight against a surprisingly stingy 76ers defense. In the last seven games, they have allowed only 100 points once to Boston, and in five of the six other games, they’ve held their opponents to 91 points or fewer, including 70 from the Hornets and 79 from the Trail Blazers. The Nets will have their work cut out for them to put some points up on the board.