Friday, December 20, 2013
W2W4: Nets at Sixers
By Mike Mazzeo
PHILADELPHIA -- The Brooklyn Nets blew out the Philadelphia 76ers by 36 points Monday night at Barclays Center. They’ll try to do it again four nights later at Wells Fargo Center. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
SHORT-HANDED? The Nets will be without Kevin Garnett (rest) and could also be without Joe Johnson (game-time decision, personal). Nets coach Jason Kidd said he had not yet made a decision on who his starters would be. Mirza Teletovic started alongside Garnett the last time the two teams played. Kidd said Paul Pierce could return to the starting lineup if Johnson doesn’t play.
Pierce has come off the bench the past five games since returning from a broken right hand injury, and had his best game of the season in Wednesday night’s loss to the Washington Wizards, scoring 27 points. Johnson had a career-high 10 3-pointers in Monday’s victory over the Sixers, so his presence would obviously be missed should he be unable to go.
CLEANING THINGS UP: In Wednesday’s 113-107 loss to the Wizards, the Nets were out-rebounded by 20, gave up 19 offensive rebounds and allowed Washington to connect on 12 of its 20 3-point attempts. Brooklyn hit a franchise-record 21 3s the last time it faced Philadelphia.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH? The 76ers (7-19) have lost eight straight games -- all without rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who will return to the lineup. Deron Williams will have to bring his A-game again against yet another emerging point guard. The Sixers are second-to-last in defensive efficiency, giving up 106.6 points per 100 possessions. Basically, they don’t defend, and the Nets need to take advantage of that. They do lead the NBA in pace (101.9), so it’s going to an up-and-down affair, which will be to Williams’ liking. Williams is averaging 18 points and 9.2 assists in his past five games.