The Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers are two of the top teams in their respective leagues. They’re both set to face off at Barclays Center on December 12, but what will happen? Let’s take a look back at these two powerhouses’ histories.
This is your chance to get the answers you’ve been waiting for. We’ll ask one question of two teams in this matchup, and everyone else can use their questions as well.In the first two games of their best-of-seven series, Philadelphia and Brooklyn combined for more than 128 points. Just how different will this year’s NBA postseason be?The “76ers vs nets” is the matchup of the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. The two teams are currently in a tie for first place in their division, but they have very different records against each other.
23rd of October, 2021
Tim Bontemps is a writer who lives in France.
- Since 2006, Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets, and NFL. Prior to that, he spent almost a decade covering the Nets, Knicks, and NBA. He graduated from Michigan State University and worked for over 12 years at the New York Daily News before joining ESPNNewYork.com.
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Prior to their home opener, teams usually present their whole squad. However, only Philadelphia’s starting five were announced to the audience as the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers prepared to play at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.
While the Sixers haven’t presented their whole squad in years, doing so this year had an extra benefit: it enabled them to avoid either ignoring or presenting Ben Simmons in his absence, both of which would have resulted in a chorus of boos.
It was another another illustration of the liminal position that both Brooklyn and Philadelphia are in this season. They started this season as the epicenters of NBA news due to the absences of Simmons and Kyrie Irving, after finishing with the top two records in the Eastern Conference previous season only to fall in the second round of the playoffs.
While the night concluded in spectacular fashion, with Brooklyn rallying from a 10-point hole in the last five minutes with a 16-1 closing run to win 114-109, the knowledge that Simmons and Irving are unlikely to return looms over both clubs. Both teams still have a lot of star power and a lot of other issues to address than when or if their point guards will play again.
With two games completed and 80 more to go, here are four questions to consider:
The Brooklyn Nets (1-1) are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Should the Nets be worried that there have been times when they didn’t appear like the squad that was supposed to win it all?
The Nets have had a string of poor beginnings, including a 127-104 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks in which they were outhustled and physically pushed about. The Nets needed a triple-double from Kevin Durant, a throwback game from LaMarcus Aldridge, a 16-1 closing run, and three late 3-point airballs from Sixers guard Danny Green to win their first game of the season in Philadelphia.
After the victory, coach Steve Nash warned, “It’s not going to be nice for a long time here.”
Nash is preaching patience, using the start of the regular season to experiment with huge lines and varied rotations, all while Irving remains out until he meets New York City’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement. As Brooklyn strives to remain healthy, the Nets’ veteran-laden lineup is working on fitness.
There have been a few of early developments for the Nets that might be significant. Patty Mills, a guard, seems to be a potential sixth man contender, taking advantage of Irving’s absence. He hasn’t missed a 3-point attempt in his first ten attempts. And although Aldridge won’t be the Trail Blazers version of himself (he was a four-time All-Star with Portland), he is capable of a 23-point outburst like the one he had against center Joel Embiid and the Sixers, which is a huge difference-maker for the Nets.
Kevin Durant and James Harden have been hurt by Kyrie Irving’s absence.
Nash pointed out the obvious missing piece from Brooklyn’s championship jigsaw when asked how Durant and Harden had adjusted to playing with ten new teammates.
In regard to Irving, Nash stated, “We lost a significant component.” “It’s not just the new pieces; it’s the emptiness we’ve been used to. At this point in life, we have a lot on our plates. But, maybe, in the coming weeks, we’ll begin to remove some of the trash and find out how to best play together.”
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It helps to have two superstars in Durant and Harden to clear the way. Without their primary point guard, Durant and Harden will have to adapt from game to game. Durant scored early and often throughout the contest. But, because of the Sixers’ defense, he claimed he felt compelled to assault the paint and create for teammates. As a Net, he concluded with his second triple-double.
“Each game is unique,” Durant remarked. “We all know that some of these competitive teams like playing hard defense because they are so adaptable. So, heading into the game, I just have to be ready for everything.”
Harden will be given additional playmaking responsibilities. Harden may be more of a facilitator with the starters while becoming a more aggressive scorer with the second unit, according to Nash. Harden is averaging 20 points, 8 assists, and 7.5 rebounds in two games, and the idea is that he will only get better as he recovers from his hamstring injury last playoffs.
76ers of Philadelphia (1-1):
Will Embiid, who has been plagued by injuries, be able to play this season?
It only took one game for the 76ers’ one continuous theme in recent seasons — apart from maximal mayhem, of course — to resurface: will Embiid be able to play?
Due to right knee pain, Embiid was labeled as doubtful for Friday’s game after Philadelphia’s 20-point win at New Orleans on Wednesday. Embiid ended up playing, but he was noticeably exhausted throughout the game, and he later admitted that he probably shouldn’t have.
When asked whether he’ll have to miss games in the future due of the knee, Embiid answered, “We’ll see.” “After last game, it was a fairly hard hit by the big man, but we’ll see how it feels tomorrow, and I’m not going to sit. I’d want to keep playing as long as there isn’t any major harm.”
On a per-minute basis, Embiid was perhaps the greatest player in the NBA last season. He may have earned the league’s Most Valuable Player title if he hadn’t missed 21 games last season due to different ailments.
With Simmons’ fate uncertain for the foreseeable future, Philadelphia needs Embiid on the floor now more than ever. His health might determine whether the 76ers get home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs or end up in the play-in round.
Who will be the closest to Philadelphia?
For years, the 76ers have been plagued by this question. It was a question they addressed quickly by trading for All-Star guard Jimmy Butler, but Philadelphia has been unable to find a replacement since he was sent away two years ago.
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The lack of a closer was evident in this game, as Philadelphia’s offense sank into quicksand down the stretch when Embiid was out. To conclude the game, the Sixers missed nine consecutive shots, while Harden and Durant made plays to bring Brooklyn back into the game and to a victory.
Doc Rivers, the 76ers’ coach, remarked, “We took the lead by playing.” “We ended the game with the ball in our hands, and we’re not that kind of squad.” We aren’t like that. We don’t have any playmakers capable of doing so.
“[The Nets] have the ability to pass the ball to Durant, who can dance one-on-one like Harden. We don’t have that kind of squad, so we’ll have to make do with mobility and movement, and we’ll have to keep believing in ourselves.”
That’s a bit of a slam on Tobias Harris, who the 76ers paid $180 million for two years ago and elected to retain over Butler. Harris had a solid game on Friday, scoring 23 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and dishing out 4 assists. But he and Embiid couldn’t provide a bucket when Philadelphia needed one late in the game.
It’s also one that Simmons, who is known for his silence in the fourth quarter, won’t be able to fix if he returns. If Philadelphia wants to be a legitimate title contender, it will have to solve this issue at some point.
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