Posts for nets

Big Plays in Big Moments – Observations from Sixers 112, Nets 108

Kevin Kinkead - April 20, 2019

The Sixers didn’t put in their best performance on Saturday afternoon.

They lost the turnover battle at a -6 margin. They allowed 13 offensive rebounds while only grabbing 12 themselves. They managed two fewer shots than Brooklyn while hitting just 76% of their free throws and eight of 26 three-pointers. Brett Brown’s team only mustered nine fast break points while finishing the game short-handed after Jimmy Butler’s ejection.

But they hung in there, showed some resilience on the road, and simply made more plays down the stretch, more than a young Nets team that displayed their nascent playoff experience with some inexplicably brutal shot selection and a number of crippling turnovers. The Sixers went on a 16 to 7 run that began at the 4:22 mark in the fourth quarter and took them to the final buzzer.

It was the first truly close game of this series, and Philly was simply better in clutch time scenarios minus their best fourth quarter option in Butler, who was sent to the locker room after what I thought was a total nothing-burger of an altercation. I’d call it a pseudo-melee or faux-donnybrook. Twice the Sixers pulled to within three points and just could not grab the lead until the third effort, as those scenarios played out in this fashion:

  • First time: They missed two shots before Boban was whistled for an offensive foul. Brooklyn pushed the lead back to eight.
  • Second time: JJ Redick missed an open three and D’Angelo Russell hit one on the other end in a back-breaking six-point swing. At that point, the Sixers were 6-23 from deep (26%).
  • Third time: Offensive foul on Joe Harris, Redick misses another three, Sixers get a defensive stop, Embiid dunk, then Brooklyn turnover and Embiid bucket.

Third time was the charm, that six-play stretch of possessions where they got a stop that was book-ended by Brooklyn turnovers. They kept beating down the door and finally went ahead at the 2:54 mark and made more plays en route to a 3-1 series lead.

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Not Your “Average” Performance – Observations from Sixers 131, Nets 115

Kevin Kinkead - April 19, 2019

Ben Simmons heard Jared Dudley refer to him as an “average” half court player and responded with 31 points on 11-13 shooting while going 9-11 from the foul line and adding nine assists and four rebounds. He turned the ball over just three times last night.

That’s nothing short of elite, Ben’s performance, and it spurred the Sixers to a comfortable 16-point game three triumph in Brooklyn.

This performance feels even more impressive than what the Sixers did in game two, which is crazy to think when you consider that they scored 145 points and tied an NBA record by scoring 51 in the third quarter alone. On Thursday night, with no Joel Embiid, playing on the road, and considering some of the stuff said in the media, Brett Brown’s team showed up in a big way. Outside of a rough stretch to end the third quarter, a Caris LeVert hot streak, and some tricky navigation of Boban’s foul situation, Philly controlled the game throughout.

Remember how Simmons, JJ Redick, and Tobias Harris combined for just 18 points in the game one loss? Last night they scored 86 point on 29-48 field goal shooting, stepping it up in Embiid’s absence to propel the Sixers to a 2-1 series lead.

Observations:

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Throwing the Counterpunch – Observations from Sixers 145, Nets 123

Kevin Kinkead - April 16, 2019

Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson said before this game that he was expecting a “haymaker” from the Sixers, a team he believed was “too good and too well-coached” to fall apart after one playoff loss.

If the Sixers took a left hook on Saturday afternoon, they came back with a massive overhand right on Monday night, throwing that haymaker in the form of a 21-2 run to open the second half, leading to an outrageous 51-point third quarter and 22-point win. They pulled level with the Nets at one game apiece as the series shifts to Brooklyn, which contains more hipsters per capita than Kensington and East Passyunk combined. Philly is back in this thing with 48 hours of rest before a short trip up the highway to the Barclays Center, and maybe the best part about the blowout is that Joel Embiid only had to play 21 minutes last night before taking a seat on the bench.

Now let me be honest with you –

I’m not big on fans leaving early during any win, especially when the playoffs begin. The crowd, which was excellent last night, starting filing out with more than seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter as both teams pulled their starters and let the reserves do mop up duty.

The early exit encapsulated a bizarre scene overall, a quirky example of just how quickly this city went from tight-sphincter worrying to 100% blowout boredom, which is hilarious to me considering how itchy and negative everything was during the two full days that followed the game one loss. It’s goofy how big of a difference one good performance can make in the mental health department, how much it changes the tone on sports radio and social media, where knee-jerk reaction is king.

And what a performance we got. The energy and purpose was ten times what we saw on Saturday, just a sense of urgency that was not there in game one. The guys who had bad games had good games, Joel Embiid was able to rest in the fourth quarter, and Brett Brown made a couple of key lineup adjustments that really helped turned this thing around, so we’ll start there, after the jump:

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Wake Up Call – Observations from Nets 111, Sixers 102

Kevin Kinkead - April 14, 2019

That was one of the worst Philadelphia playoff performances I’ve ever witnessed, and I watched Andy Reid’s Eagles back in the day. I watched Peter Nowak’s Union and countless Phillies and Flyers duds.

You’re not gonna win many games when you shoot 40.7% from the floor, 12% from three (3-25), and 69% from the foul line (29-42). And I think the further disappointment is that they did fine in most auxiliary areas. They pulled down 16 offensive rebounds and only turned the ball over 13 times. They shot 16 more free throws than the Nets and only two fewer field goals. They got Jarrett Allen in foul trouble and forced Brooklyn to play Ed Davis for 25 minutes and Jared Dudley for 28 minutes, well above their season averages.

They opened with some solid pick and roll defense, as D’Angelo Russell put up a number of low-percentage mid-range looks en route to 0-5 start. Then Brooklyn went on a big run to end the 1st quarter and they Sixers just couldn’t pull it together from there. They got cooked by the Nets’ guards in space and the offense looked completely discombobulated. JJ Redick fouled out. Tobias Harris only took seven shots. I’m honestly stunned that this game was as close at it was, because it felt like the Sixers were just getting run off the court at times.

Some thoughts:

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The Brooklyn Nets Deleted a “We Want Philly” Video Tweet

Russ Joy - April 11, 2019

Picture this: your team has been teetering on the fringe of the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoff standings. In what has been a renaissance year for D’Angelo Russell, you find yourself confident… perhaps too confident. The Nets, of course, locked up the sixth seed with a resounding 113-94 victory over the Miami Heat in Dwyane Wade’s final game.

You might have wondered why this popped up in the Sixers’ Twitter feed:

It was a response to a video posted by the Nets’ official Twitter account of their fans chanting “We want Philly!

That video has since been deleted. Cowards.

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If You’re Scared of the Brooklyn Nets, Get a Dog

Kevin Kinkead - April 11, 2019

That’s what Howard Eskin would say.

The King would tell all of you panicky Sixer fans to get a dog, and I see a lot of y’all out there. I see a lot of y’all on social media calling for the first round upset, saying the Sixers can’t defend guards, saying they can’t defend a pick and roll, and saying that Brett Brown can’t coach.

And listen, I get all of that, so allow me to address it:

The Nets are a tricky matchup. They have good back court players. Their guards get hot and they will run about 4,000 spread pick and rolls per game. They beat the Sixers twice this season and Philly needed a buzzer-beater to escape with a late win in New York City. The second win came at the Wells Fargo Center while the Nets were on the 7th game of a ridiculous seven-game road trip. You look at the regular season and even go back to 2017 and understand that this is a squad that has given Philly some fits.

But people said the same thing last year. “Miami will be a tough out!” The Sixers and Heat split the season series and then Philly went out and won 4-1 in the playoffs. Joel Embiid didn’t even play in two of those games. Miami was physical, sure, and they made some shots, but the Sixers just had too much talent, and it showed.

So when I look at this matchup on the surface, I only see 2-3 areas where Brooklyn has the edge. Here’s how I’d analyze that:

  • overall talent level: Sixers
  • home court advantage: Sixers
  • playoff experience: Sixers
  • coaching: push
  • bench/depth: Nets
  • size: Sixers
  • weight of expectations: this benefits the Nets (there’s exponentially more pressure on Philly)
  • three-point shooting: Sixers rank 8th, Nets 14th
  • field-goal shooting: Sixers rank 8th, Nets 25th
  • effective field goal %: Sixers 8th, Nets 18th
  • offensive rebounding: Nets rank 10th, Sixers 11th
  • defensive rating: it’s the same exact number, 108.9
  • offensive rating: Sixers 8th, Nets 19th
  • net rating: Sixers 11th, Nets 15th
  • turnover percentage: Sixers 24th, Nets 25th

Across the board, the Sixers win in pretty much every statistical category. But to expand on a couple of those bullet points, after the jump:

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More Purpose and More Energy – Observations from Sixers 123, Nets 110

Kevin Kinkead - March 29, 2019

For the 5th time this season, the Sixers followed up a two-game losing streak with a win.

In other words, they have not lost three in a row this year.

Nice bounce-back last night after disappointing performances in Orlando and Atlanta. The Sixers came out with much more purpose and much more energy, jumped out to a big lead, and never really allowed Brooklyn to get too close for comfort. Additionally, they knocked the Nets out of the 6th seed and helped position themselves for a better first round playoff matchup. It was a victory both on and off the floor.

That should pretty much do it for Brooklyn as a possible six seed, since they play their next three games against Milwaukee, Indy, and Boston. Imagine that. Imagine finishing up a ridiculous seven-game road trip (how is that even allowed by the scheduling people?) and having to play three of the top five Eastern Conference squads at home. And they gotta play the Bucks on the road, too.

You should be hoping for a Pistons or Heat matchup in the 3/6 game, because those teams just give the Sixers fewer defensive issues than Brooklyn does.

Speaking of which:

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Turnovers

Kevin Kinkead - November 5, 2018

I didn’t see the point of doing a full “observations” post after last night’s game because it was just a terrible all-around performance.

Let’s just focus on the season-high 27 turnovers and see what we can learn, because that was certainly the takeaway from the 122-97 loss in Brooklyn.

Specifically, we want to know how they’re turning the ball over. Miscommunications happen. Sometimes guys just aren’t on the same page, especially early in the season. But sloppy handles and poor passes are a little more egregious and preventable than other turnover types.

Here are the 27 giveaways, which was more than last year’s season-high of 26, if you can believe it:

  1. Robert Covington throws inbound pass off rim (alley oop attempt)
  2. Ben Simmons loses ball driving to rim off steal
  3. Simmons caught in the air, kick out to perimeter stolen
  4. Dario Saric offensive foul (elbow push off)
  5. Amir Johnson offensive foul (hard back screen)
  6. Simmons loses ball while driving
  7. Johnson bad pass (working JJ Redick DHO action)
  8. Redick out of bounds pass
  9. Joel Embiid on the wrong page with Landry Shamet, bad pass
  10. Mike Muscala offensive rebound, throws ball to Brooklyn while falling out of bounds
  11. Redick bad post entry to Embiid
  12. Covington traveling
  13. Covington offensive foul (hard back screen)
  14. Simmons loses handle pushing ball
  15. Simmons too high on entry pass into post
  16. Covington bad bounce pass in paint
  17. Embiid offensive foul (backing down Allen in the paint)
  18. Muscala bad pass looking for Shamet in the paint
  19. Shamet loses ball on DHO (probably fouled)
  20. Markelle Fultz offensive foul (shoulder)
  21. Redick backcourt (missed Embiid on a DHO return pass)
  22. Embiid pocket picked after defensive rebound
  23. Embiid offensive foul (backing down Allen in the paint)
  24. Muscala bad pass into high post
  25. Covington offensive foul (bit of a high elbow on a screen)
  26. Embiid loses pass on wing
  27. Muscala dribbles ball off foot and out of bounds

That’s a long list, so let’s parse these jawns..

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