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Sixers put new road mettle to the test in Brooklyn

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Now second place in the East, the Sixers face the Nets in a Sunday showdown

NBA: Playoffs-Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

One game after facing former Sixer JJ Redick, Philadelphia will visit his former place of residence when they head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets. The Sixers have won five straight games and nine of their last ten, and (potentially more relevant for tonight’s proceedings), are coming off their best road performance of the season earlier in the week in Boston.

Tonight is the first meeting between the two clubs since last spring’s five-game series in the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs. Of course, both rosters have seen some overturn in the interim. The Sixers, of course, swapped Redick and Jimmy Butler for Josh Richardson and Al Horford in the starting lineup. Brooklyn sent point guard D’Angelo Russell to Golden State in a sign-and-trade for an injured Kevin Durant, and signed Kyrie Irving in free agency. Irving has joined his friend KD on the injured list in November, but the Nets are currently 9-5 since Kyrie went down with a shoulder injury.

Continuing a recent bit of good fortune in this area, the Sixers once again have a rest advantage with Brooklyn having lost in Toronto yesterday, 110-102. The Nets will get one small bit of reinforcements, however, as tonight is the first game former Sixer Wilson Chandler is eligible to play following his 25-game suspension for violating the NBA’s drug program.

In Kyrie’s absence, Spencer Dinwiddie has taken control of Brooklyn’s offense, averaging 23 points and 7.2 assists in the month of December. He has scored at least 20 points in 12 of his past 14 contests. Although the Sixers did a fine job against him last postseason, Dinwiddie had games of 31 and 39 points against Philadelphia last regular season. However, the Sixers are better equipped to defend opposing guards this season with Josh Richardson and Matisse Thybulle in the fold, and Ben Simmons not having the D’Angelo Russell assignment (something Ben did a great job with in that first-round series).

In the pivot, Jarrett Allen is someone Joel Embiid has always cooked, as Allen doesn’t have the size to bang with Joel down low without fouling. While the Nets paying DeAndre Jordan the money they did to come to Brooklyn is questionable for a lot of reasons, he does present a more physical challenge for Embiid on the interior, now that he’s no longer checked out with the Knicks.

We’ll also see if Tobias Harris can stay hot on the offensive end. He is coming off a 31-point outing against New Orleans, averaging 24.9 points on 48.6 shooting across seven December games. Al Horford is once again questionable with his knee and hamstring injuries. If Mike Scott makes another start in his stead, his floor-stretching ability should help open up even more driving lanes for Harris.

Can the Sixers make it 2-0 this week on the road? Tune in tonight to find out.

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets
When: 6:00 pm ET
Where: Barclays Center, New York, NY
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Follow: @Liberty_Ballers

Injuries

Philadelphia: Al Horford (questionable - knee, hamstring)
Brooklyn: Kyrie Irving (out - shoulder); Kevin Durant (out - achilles); Caris LeVert (out - thumb);