The Brooklyn Nets have won three of the last four games, including a big victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, are looking to launch another win streak against the injured and perpetually tanking 76ers.
After a hot start behind Rookie of the Year favorite Joel Embiid, the 76ers have since sunk back into full on tank mode. An injury to his left knee has sidelined him and then other key players like Jahlil Okafor, Sergio Rodriguez, and most recently Gerald Henderson has derailed their season yet again. Brooklyn should be able to capitalize on this tonight.
The Nets will be able to walk away with a victory if they can eliminate Dario Saric‘s influence, feed Lopez early and often, and let Jeremy Lin take over offensively.
Since Embiid went down with another injury, Rookie of the Year favorite has shifted to fellow 76er Dario Saric. Saric is an incredibly versatile forward that has an inside-out game, can pass like a point guard, and plays with supreme confidence. However, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brook Lopez should be more than capable of erasing him on offense. Hollis-Jefferson is quick enough to keep him in front of him and strong enough to match up well if Saric takes him to the post while Brook is big enough to devour him in the post.
Brook’s influence will need to be felt in this game early and often. He is a crafty veteran that matches up well against anything Philadelphia could throw his way. He is strong enough to take Holmes to the paint and dominate him while being versatile enough to take him all the way to the three point line. Jeremy Lin will need to look to feed him right away in order to establish a rhythm and force the 76ers to deal with him. This will open up other opportunities for others.
The most important thing will be getting Lin going in this game as well. The 76ers are not deep at the guard position and aside from a very raw Luwawu-Cabarrot, they don’t have anyone the could prevent Lin from penetrating at will. McConnell has a reputation for being scrappy but lacks a lot of the fundamental tools to prevent someone as quick as Lin from exploiting him. Lin should have a relatively easy time getting to the rim and if Brook is dominating, Lin will most likely benefit from an open lane.