After an unimpressive win over the Bobcats on Saturday, the Brooklyn Nets (44-32) will host the Philadelphia 76ers (31-45) for the final time Tuesday night. After their season high 8-game road trip, the Nets returned home and lost to the extremely shorthanded Bulls by 2 and then needed a second half rally to beat the last place Bobcats. The Sixers have not had Andrew Bynum all season and have really struggled without him. They got blown out in Miami on Saturday.
These teams have already played 3 times this season with the Nets winning 2 of the 3 games. However, the Sixers did win the latest matchup in Philadelphia. Spencer Hawes was very good in that game, finishing with a double-double, and the Nets were unable to get stops down the stretch. It was one of the worst defensive efforts of the season for Brooklyn.
Philadelphia is 7-7 in their last 14 games, which is not bad, but they have played a lot of bad teams during that time. They have also lost to some bad teams, including Charlotte, last week. The Sixers have not been very good against +.500 teams this season.
Injuries: For the Nets, Keith Bogans is out with a sore back. Joe Johnson is also a game-time decision. The Nets’ priority is getting him healthy for the playoffs, so he will probably rest unless he is close to 100%. Marshon Brooks and C.J. Watson will get more minutes if Joe can’t play. The Sixers are healthy with only Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson out.
Deron Williams vs. Jrue Holiday. Advantage: Williams
Holiday had a very good first half of the season but has been inconsistent lately. He has scored in single-figures in 2 of his past 3 games. Deron Williams has scored 30 in his last 2 games and has played like much more of an all-star than Holiday has since the all-star break.
Marshon Brooks vs. Evan Turner. Advantage: Turner
Marshon Brooks will probably start if Joe Johnson and Keith Bogans are out. Marshon had a career night in his only start this year, but that was against arguably the worst defense in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Turner has played well lately, averaging about 18 points per game in his last 6. He never seems to play very well against the Nets, but if Marshon is guarding him, he might have a nice game.
Gerald Wallace vs. Damien Wilkins. Advantage: Wallace
Wilkins has played well over the last month for Philadelphia. The Nets better hope that Gerald Wallace is the better player in this matchup, seeing that Wilkins is a mediocre NBA journeyman while Gerald is still owed $30 million after this season. There have recently been stories about Wallace’s confidence issues. He needs to get these figured out by the time the playoffs start. He has shot terribly from the field over the last month or two.
Reggie Evans vs. Thaddeus Young. Advantage: Young
Young is a player that always seems to cause the Nets problems because they don’t have a player who can match up well with him. I expect him to have another 20-10 game tonight. Reggie Evans has been on a rebounding tare lately and is consistently getting at least 10 rebounds in every game. He has already had a 20+ rebound game against the Sixers this year.
Brook Lopez vs. Spencer Hawes. Advantage: Lopez
When Philadelphia beat Brooklyn last month, Spencer Hawes was one of the main reasons why. For some reason, nobody on the Nets was able to keep him off the boards and he finished with a 24 point-10 rebound game. Brook Lopez needs to play better defense on Hawes tonight.
Prediction: Nets 93, Sixers 88.
Neither team is playing very well right now and neither team seems very motivated. The Nets are playing at home, where they haven’t played all that well recently, but have a chance to get back on track before the playoffs start. I think this will be a close, poorly played, and ugly game, but the Nets will find a way to win.