Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Preview
When fully healthy, these might be the two most talented teams in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers have been on a losing skid of late, dropping six of their last eight games. Joel Embiid’s injury has certainly put a cap on their potential right now. They have also had a strong schedule of late, including Miami, Houston, OKC, and the Pacers. The luck doesn’t seem to get much better with a Kyrie-led Nets team coming into town. Kyrie has looked sharper than ever in his first couple of games. Caris Levert is also recently coming off an injury. Not playing at his top-notch level yet, but definitely starting to get a rhythm. If the role players can step up and not take a step back offensively, they can win this game.
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Wells Fargo Arena
Nets: Garret Temple (DTD), Wilson Chandler (DTD), Kevin Durant
76ers: Joel Embiid
76ers Starting Lineup
PG: Ben Simmons
SG: Josh Richardson
SF: Tobias Harris
PF: Al Horford
C: Joel Embiid
One of the main beneficiaries for the 76ers since Embiid’s injury has been the improved play of Josh Richardson. He has scored 23,29,16, and 23 points in the last four games. The goal of this 76ers offense is also to get Al Horford going on the offensive end. He has been more effective, but still not the level they need him to be. Given the home environment for the 76ers, they will feel enough pressure to want to win this crucial game at home.
Ben Simmons has been a lot more assertive offensively. He is changing the game on both ends of the floor but has been unable to help close out games recently. This Nets team has those kinds of players who can make plays at the end of the game, so it’s important that they get off to a solid start.
Brooklyn Starting Lineup
PG: Delon Wright
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr.
SF: Luka Doncic
PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
C: Dwight Powell
The Nets currently sit at 8th in the Eastern Conference. The return and play of Kyrie Irving has been a desperate need, but the inconsistency of Dinwiddie lately has also been their downfall. Guys like Joe Harris and Jarret Allen will need to step up in this tough game on the road. The x-factor will be Levert. Kyrie cannot just go for 40 and expect to beat this Celtics team. Dinwiddie and one other player will need to go for 20+ as well. The perimeter defense of the 76ers might make this a tough task.
The bottom line of all of their hopes comes down to how well Kyrie can mesh with his teammates and vice versa. By no means is this on Kyrie Irving in these first couple of games. The rest of the team has just not come to play. In this road environment, they will need scoring across the board against an up-tempo Philadelphia team.
Key Player Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs. Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons could very well guard Kyrie all game. Given his length and dexterity, he could easily cause problems for Kyrie in terms of efficiency. The length of the 76ers overall does not match up well for the Nets. The absence of Embiid will allow for easier layups at the rim for one of the best finishers of all-time. Ben Simmons will need to consistently attack the rim. The perimeter defense for the Nets altogether is lacking.
Tobias Harris vs. Caris Levert
Both of these players might be top-2 skilled players on their teams as of now. In a close game, these two will need to get crucial buckets on the wing to will their team forward. Both teams aren’t great from 3, so tough buckets inside the arm till need to be made. The Nets may not have a player who can stick Tobias. If he is aggressive and plays his game, he should have no problems whatsoever.
Kyrie and Ben Simmons are the two main point-getters fantasy-wise for both teams. The absence of Joel Embiid will allow for better statistical performance for Horford. This gives more shot opportunities to their wings. Tobias may be in for a big day. He has been consistent recently but still has yet to have that breakout game. Richardson is the one guy who can get hot and explode for this team.
The Nets will mainly rely on Irving and Dinwiddie’s service surrounding the offense. Joe Harris may struggle against one of the best 3-point defending teams in the NBA. Both Deandre Jordan And Jarrett Allen will need to provide some intimidation at the rim or else Horford and Simmons can have great games. The battle of the stars is what ultimately decides this game.
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