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Sixers Look to Cut Down the Nets in Game 1

Series 1, Game 1 on deck.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

New playoff run.

New playoff video.

Same good ol’ fashioned fun that we all had 365 days ago.

The Philadelphia 76ers will begin their playoff run on Saturday afternoon against the Brooklyn Nets. In four regular season games, the teams split the season series, 2-2. There was one 25-point blowout win, a loss by three, a win by two, and another 10-point blowout.

Brooklyn brings a familiar Achilles heel to round one: athletic point guards who can score. Like many guards of their kind, D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie have given the Sixers some problems. Russell has been a lot spottier.

In four games, Russell has one 38-point game, one 21-point game, and two other games where he failed to score 15 points. Dinwiddie, on the other hand, has does well on a regular basis. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that he’s being guarded by bench defenders.

Regardless, Dinwiddie has averaged 23.7 PPG against the Sixers, hitting 11 out of his 18 3-point attempts across four games.

The last time these two teams met, Dinwiddie and Russell had 12 and 13 points, respectively, but over the course of a seven-game series, they’ll score. I’m not worried about them stealing a series, but I’m worried about them stealing ONE game. (My personal prediction is Brooklyn wins game three.)

An encouraging twist to monitor is that of Caris Levert. After suffering a subtalar dislocation of the right foot, Levert didn’t play until February 8th. In his last eight games, Levert has scored 16.0 PPG, while shooting about 51 percent from the field.

Let’s not forget about Joe Harris, either, who hits 47 percent of his threes (386 attempts this season).

That’s all fine and good for Brooklyn, but they should probably remember who their going up against: Joel Hans Embiid. He FEASTS on the Brooklyn Nets. These are his numbers in the season series:

  • 30.0 PPG
  • 14.3 RPG
  • 5.0 APG
  • 60% FG
  • 45% 3 PT

It’s such a shame he’s doubtful for game one to instill the fear of God in the Nets from the very first tip-off. Even when Embiid plays, he’ll still feast. Nets center Jarrett Allen may have the best afro in the NBA, but that isn’t going to help him too much outside of being very aesthetically pleasing to me. (My track record for liking NBA players with afros is well documented on Twitter.)

The rest of the Sixers have been doing just that: resting. Embiid has missed time. Jimmy Butler has missed time. JJ Redick has missed time. Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris are the only starters who haven’t missed significant time. Harris’s numbers recently give pause. In his last 15 games, Harris is shooting 24.6 percent on 3s (4.3 3PA) after hitting 44 percent in Los Angeles with the Clippers.

Even if the Sixers aren’t firing on all cylinders in game one, it probably won’t matter in the long run. The Sixers are way too top heavy in talent to lose more than one game to the Nets – especially since Brooklyn is the very definition of “league average”. Seriously, look at some of these rankings:

  • 15th in PPG
  • 18th in Opp. PPG
  • 11th in Pace
  • 19th in ORtg/14th in DRtg
  • 42-40 record

Look up “average” in the dictionary. You’ll find the Brooklyn Nets logo. Give credit to the Nets, however. They’re back in the playoffs after years of not having a first-round pick. Brooklyn finally has their own first-round pick this summer. I know it seemed like they would be without one until the 24th 1/2 century, where Duck Dodgers will be battling Marvin the Martian on a regular basis.

The Nets fans wanted Philly. They chanted it, and then deleted that video from Twitter. No matter.

Be careful what you wish for.

Game Info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets

When: 2:30 pm EST

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Watch: ESPN

Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic

Follow: @Liberty_Ballers

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