Sixers look to extend series lead over Nets: Game preview & TV Schedule

Brooklyn Nets’ Mikal Bridges, right, dribbles the ball past Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden in the first half during Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

The Brooklyn Nets are in Philadelphia for the second game of their first-round series against the Sixers as the Sixers look to take a 2-0 series lead. After a convincing 121-101 win on Saturday to start the playoffs, the Sixers are in control of their first-round series and saw contributions from their reserves as well as their starters in game one. In game two, they’ll be looking for more of the same as they hope to move one step closer to moving into the next round of the playoffs.

Sixers vs Nets game 2 info

Who: Brooklyn Nets (0-1) at Philadelphia 76ers (1-0)

When: 7:30 pm EST

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

How to watch: TNT

Sixers vs Nets betting offers

Eye on the Sixers

The Sixers are coming into game 2 with good momentum following their victory on Saturday afternoon. As is usually the case, the Sixers were led by Joel Embiid and James Harden who combined for 49 points, 9 rebounds, and 16 assists. While Embiid saw constant double teams as the Nets tried to slow down the leagues leading scorer, the feel for the playoffs is that the Sixers need more from other players.

James Harden has evolved his game so much that he’s able to get you 30 points if needed but it’s rarely ever needed. Harden is now, arguably, the games’ best facilitator on offense. He led the league in assists per game this season and has improved his three-point shooting to where he picks and chooses what he and the team will be doing on offense. While Harden shot 8-21 overall for the game, he was 7-13 on three-point attempts and that’s a huge problem for the Nets defense. As Harden continually got past the defense, he wasn’t converting on the drives, he was still getting to the hoop.

What the Sixers really needed to happen was to see contributions from the whole team. Everyone knows that PJ Tucker will be on a different level when it comes playoff time and he showed it on Saturday. With 6 points and 7 rebounds, it may not seem like he showed up but the 5 steals and 5 offensive rebounds showed that when it matter most, Tucker can be counted on.

Tyrese Maxey had a quiet game with just 13 points and that won’t be the norm for Maxey throughout the playoffs as everyone is aware of his capabilities. What he did do was shoot 3-5 on his three-point attempts and added 6 rebounds. Tobias Harris, who seemed out of place toward the end of the season, showed up big for the Sixers with 21 points on 8-14 shooting, including 3-3 on his three-point attempts.

The rest of Philly’s players like DeAnthony Melton, Georges Niang, and Jalen McDaniels all stepped up in their minutes and Paul Reed had 11 points and 4 rebounds in 13 minutes, including an incredible play in the fourth quarter.

If the Sixers reserves are able to continue to contribute as they did in game 1 against the Nets, it’s going to be very hard for the Nets and anyone else to keep up with the team throughout the playoffs.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton (18) scores a basket as Brooklyn Nets guard Dru Smith (9) watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 9, 2023 in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

Eye on the Nets

The Nets, for all of the expectations over the past two years, are not the team that everyone was counting on appearing in multiple NBA Finals. Gone are Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving, and in their place are Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and a long list of future draft picks.

Bridges had 30 points in the opening game to lead the Nets and Johnson had 18 points, after that, there wasn’t much to be said for the Nets. Bridges, since arriving in the Durant trade with Phoenix, has shown that he can be a big-time player in the league. The problem for the Nets is that after him, there’s not much to rely on.

Seth Curry only saw 16 minutes in the first game and had 10 points while shooting 2-3 on his three-point attempts and that’s not helping the team in those limited minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie had 14 points and Nik Claxton had 5 points with 10 rebounds. It’s just not enough against the Sixers team to give them any sort of hope going forward in the series.

The Nets are going to need their starters to contribute much more than they did in game one and the reserves actually have to show up if they hope to keep the game close, which they couldn’t do in game one.

What to look for in game 2

The Nets will try to do what they were doing in game 1, trying to double-team Joel Embiid and force him into turnovers and poor shot attempts. The problem is that Embiid was able to counter that by making correct passes and moving well without the ball. There won’t be many games that see Embiid held below 30 points and tonight you’ll probably see Embiid up just above his season average of 33.1 points. He’s going to show the Nets that there’s nothing they can do to really shut him down.

The Sixers will look to get out to an early lead, continue their hot shooting on their three-point attempts and get their reserves more involved in the game as they look to build their confidence for the later rounds of the playoffs. I would expect, as the Nets look to shut down the Harden/Embiid combination, that Tyrese Maxey will benefit from this the most and be over 20 points for the team as well.

Prediction: Sixers 128 – Nets 104

AP Photo/Derik Hamilton