The 12-5 Philadelphia 76ers have been blowing out lesser competition on a nightly basis this season, especially on their home floor (Big Macs). Tonight should be the same old story when division foe, the New Jersey Nets, come to town.
At 5-13 and 3-8 on the road, the Nets are a bad team. They're already without starting center, Brook Lopez and second year swingman, Damion James with serious injuries, and tonight they will probably be without the services of impressive rookie, MarShon Brooks. Brooks was averaging 15 points and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes per game before suffering a sore Achillies.
Deron Williams and Jrue Holiday is the match-up to watch this evening. Jrue has proven that he's capable of locking down the best point guards on any given night and Deron has been elite for the past few seasons. This year, however, Williams is shooting an abysmal 38 percent from the floor and averaging more than four turnovers per game – down from 46 percent and 3.1 turnovers for his career. Most blame his lack of a supporting cast for the massive dip in performance.
With Hawes and Vucevic both expected to miss the game with injury, Kris Humphries could cause the Sixers some trouble tonight. The former Mr. Kardashian ranks 11th overall in total rebounding and 5th in offensive rebounding. His PER is also above average at 19.3. Elton Brand will need to be at his best defensively and keeping Hump off the boards.
The Nets bench consists of Jordan Farmar, Shawne Williams, Johan Petro, Larry Owens and Shleden Williams. There's a ton of size there so the Sixers small-ish crew of Louis Williams, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and probably Lavoy Allen will need to counter with their speed and hope they don't get murdered on the glass.
A few key stats for you: the Nets are 29th in the NBA in points scored in the paint – good news for the soft interior of the Sixers minus Hawes and Vooch. The Nets are also 29th in shot attempts at the rim – no surprise given their point in the paint totals. Without a legitimate shock-blocking presence the Nets rank 6th in opponents' FG percentage at the rim. The Sixers should be attacking all game long.
Neither team played last night so both should be relatively fresh. The Sixers are 11.5 point favorites tonight and I think they will cover. One of these nights the Sixers are either going to lose a game to an inferior opponent or come damn close, but I don't see it being tonight against the Nets.
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