NBA Playoffs: Sixers-Nets Series Preview
Both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets have done their fair share of trusting the process since the 2014-15 NBA season. That is the year the Nets last made the postseason and when the 76ers began rebuilding their identity as a franchise.
Set to play each other in the opening round of the 2019 NBA playoffs, the matchup between the No. 3 Sixers and No. 6 Nets will serve as a testament to the work both franchises have put into their rebuild.
The Nets impressed many throughout the season and had two separate runs where they won six consecutive games. They saw players such as guard D’Angelo Russell, small forward Caris LeVert and center Jarrett Allen make significant contributions to the Nets’ success this season to get them to where they are now. Russell has made a tremendous case during this campaign for the Most Improved Player Award leading the Nets in points (21.1), steals (1.2) and assists (7.0).
The Sixers on the other hand are awaiting to hear the availability of star big man Joel Embiid, who has been sidelined due to left knee soreness. Embiid is their leader in points, total rebounds and blocks so starting the postseason without his services would be a significant blow to Philadelphia’s chances at making this a competitive series.
Should Embiid miss a game or two, the Sixers should utilize the abilities and height of 7-foot-3 center Boban Marjanovic and newly acquired center Greg Monroe. Both could heavily change the impact of a game on both ends of the floor.
Point guard Ben Simmons will also have to do a bulk of the scoring for the Sixers and while it might not be the most difficult task, he’s going to have to score at least 20 if Philadelphia goes into the series shorthanded.
It’s not enough to bank on the assumption that Embiid will miss a handful of the series. The Nets, as the underdog in this series, will have to rely greatly on the services of Russell to lead them to what they hope will be their first playoff win in four years against the fourth highest scoring team in the Association.
Game 1 of the best of seven series kicks off April 13, at 2:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. PT) on ESPN.
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