It is that time of the year again. The 2019 NBA Playoffs are set to begin April 13th. The Eastern Conference seeding is set in stone. One of the series in the East will be the third seed Philadelphia 76ers against sixth seed Brooklyn Nets. The 76ers enter the playoffs with high expectations. They have built a roster that is talented enough for an NBA Finals run. The Nets are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and look to pull off an upset. Who will come out on top? Let’s take a look at this match-up.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets Series Preview
The 76ers and the Nets split their four-game regular season series at two games apiece. Two of the four games were close with both teams winning by two points. The 76ers won the last game 123-110 on March 28. Both teams have been inconsistent in the last handful of games. The 76ers lost four out of their last six. The Nets are 4-4 in their last eight games but have played the tougher schedule. Both teams are close to each other in major statistical categories. The 76ers average 115.1 points per game to the Nets’ 112.2. Both teams shoot around 35 percent from three. Also, both rank in the top in total rebounding and opponent three-point percentage.
The 76ers are a dark horse team. The most popular picks to win the Eastern Conference are between the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics. However, the 76ers have the roster to be in that conversation. The additions of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris have elevated this team to be dangerous.
Butler will be the key player. His leadership and playoff knowledge will be the highlights of the 76ers’ success. He has not played well down the stretch, averaging only 14.4 points per game and shooting under 40 percent. Since joining the 76ers, Harris has averaged 18.2 points per game. Harris has added another scoring dimension and has opened up the floor more for the team. Another key player will be J.J. Redick. The 76ers are even more dangerous when he is hitting threes consistently.
The Nets have proven to be tough. They gave the top tier teams of this season nightmares. Their key player is obviously D’Angelo Russell. All eyes will be on him as he enters the post-season for the first time in his career. Russell has to play well in every game in order for the Nets to win. He leads the team in scoring (21.1 points per game) and assists (7.0 per game). However, Russell needs to be more efficient. He shoots 43.4 percent overall, which is low by NBA standards, especially for stars.
Another key player will be center Jarrett Allen. Allen has made a name for himself this season with outstanding blocks against star players such as LeBron James and Blake Griffin. His main task is to keep 76ers center Joel Embiid in check. Embiid has scored more than 30 points in three out of the four games in this match-up.
Despite their differences in overall record, these two teams are even to each other. The defense will be key. Both teams give up around 112 points per game to their opponents. The 76ers could be missing Embiid in this round. He is battling a left knee injury and has missed five out of the last seven games. However, the 76ers are loaded with talent that is more than capable of filling in for Embiid. The 76ers are the more efficient team offensively, shooting 47 percent against the Nets’ 45 percent. This series will go six or seven games. The Nets will push the 76ers as they have done all season. But, the 76ers will prevail due to experience and having better talent.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 21: Jimmy Butler of the United states looks on during the final match of the Men’s basketball between Serbia and United States on day 16 at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)