The Sixers are heading to Brooklyn to take on the Nets, looking to improve their series lead to three games. The Sixers have had good games from Joel Embiid while they’re hoping that James Harden’s shooting woes disappear to keep the momentum moving in the right direction.
Nets vs Sixers game info
Who: Philadelphia 76ers (2-0) at Brooklyn Nets (0-2)
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn NY
When: 7:30 pm EST
Watch: TNT, NBC Sports Philadelphia, YES Network
Nets vs Sixers Betting odds
Spread: Sixers -5 | Nets +5
Moneyline: Sixers -195 | Nets +165
Total: Over/Under 209 points
Eye on the Sixers
The Sixers come into Brooklyn having beaten the Nets by 20 points in game one and 12 points in game two. Joel Embiid, the likely regular season MVP, has not put up his typical scoring numbers but has been doing everything else that the Sixers need.
For the series, Embiid is averaging 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists per game to go along with 2.5 blocks. Embiid has faced constant double and triple teams from the Nets defense which has limited his shot attempts to 13 per game, down from the 20 per game he had taken over the regular season. His free throw attempts, in turn, have gone down from 11.7 per game to 9.5, though he hasn’t missed a free throw through the first two games. He’s truly been excellent for the Sixers.
James Harden hasn’t been doing as well. He is averaging just 15.5 points per game, down from the 21.0 he posted during the regular season. The shooting has been a mixed bag this postseason, with the veteran averaging just 32.4% on his field goal attempts.
Harden hasn’t been getting the calls that a player of his caliber and history would usually get in the playoffs but he’s been making the Nets pay with his three-point shooting and is averaging 10 assists per game in the playoffs.
The players that have come through for the Sixers are unexpected. Tobias Harris is averaging 20.5 points and 8 rebounds through 2 games. PJ Tucker has stepped up with timely rebounds and a five steal game already. Tyrese Maxey had 13 points in the first game and looked to be a little out of sorts but quickly responded in game two with 33 points. He’s shooting 51.6% from the field and 50% on his three-point attempts.
The Sixers seem to be rolling and getting everyone involved. The good news is that they’re still playing the Nets and should be able to sure up the rotation, get reserves quality minutes, and rest the starters to be ready for the second round.
Eye on the Nets
There’s not much that could be expected of the Nets coming into this series against the Sixers. They could take some positives away from the series if they were competing with the Sixers and keeping games close but that hasn’t been the case. They had a good first half of game two and then fell apart as the Sixers took control later in the game and the Nets had no answers.
Mikal Bridges, since coming over in the trade with Phoenix for Kevin Durant, has shown that he’s becoming a star player in the league. He’s averaging 25.5 points per game in the series. Cameron Johnson is averaging 23 points per game. Spencer Dinwiddie is averaging 13 points per game.
The Nets are having to play Nic Claxton against Embiid and it’s a big reason why they’re double and triple-teaming him. While the 6’11” Claxton has the height to stand with Embiid, he’s outweighed by about 70 lbs. and that is doing him no favors as he tries to slow down the All-Star center of the Sixers.
The Nets are simply outmanned and don’t have the interior players nor the outside shooting that the Sixers posses so it will be hard to grab a win against the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. Tonight may be their best chance to try to steal a game during the series.
What to watch for in Brooklyn
The physical play that the Nets have used will continue. Embiid is simply too big, strong, and talented for them to handle. While Embiid had a very good game in the first game of the series, he did have eight turnovers in game two and that’s something that the Sixers will be looking to get under control.
While James Harden has had a rough first two games, he has had timely shots from three-point range and is hitting well above his career mark in that area. If he can keep getting the ball to players like Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey, who’ve both been playing amazingly, then Harden can control the tempo and the Sixers shouldn’t have any problems going forward in the series.
Prediction: Sixers 118 – Nets 107
AP Photo/Derik Hamilton