76ers

Sixers vs. Nets, Game 5: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers vs. Nets, Game 5: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

The Sixers will look to close out the series at home in Game 5 against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday evening. A Nets starting lineup change in Game 4 (adding Caris LeVert and Jared Dudley) gave Brooklyn a lift. Joel Embiid is officially listed as probable (left knee soreness), while Ed Davis is questionable (right ankle sprain). 

When: 8 p.m., Sixers Pregame Live starts at 7 p.m., Sixers Talk starts at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center  
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app. 

Here are three storylines to watch:

Desperation

Despite dropping the past three, the Brooklyn Nets know that they can beat this Sixers squad, as they still have their confidence from Game 1 at Wells Fargo Center to fall back on. On top of that, the Nets have absolutely nothing to lose in this game. The hungrier and more desperate team should be viewed as a dangerous one.

Keep your eye on JoJo

We said going into Game 4 to expect physicality, and the game lived up to its hype, seeing both Dudley and Jimmy Butler get ejected, while Embiid received a Flagrant-1. The subplot to the physicality is that Embiid already has two flagrant points, and if Embiid receives two more (which could come in the form of two Flagrant-1s or one Flagrant-2), Embiid will be facing a one-game suspension. Going back to the Nets having nothing to lose, expect them to be very aware of this.

If Nets get hot from three…

We all know that a lot of what the Nets do offensively is predicated on the three-point line, and the Nets have really struggled from deep. Joe Harris, who led the NBA in 3-point percentage this season (47.4 percent) has not hit a three in three games (0-12). Credit to the Sixers’ defense (and especially JJ Redick), but imagine if he got one or two of his threes to knock down in Game 4…we might not be talking about the Sixers closing it out in Game 5. 

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Kevin Hart curses at Drake over Sixers' loss to Raptors

Kevin Hart curses at Drake over Sixers' loss to Raptors

Kevin Hart is somewhat polarizing around the Philadelphia sports scene. You like him because he's "from here" and pulls for our squads but you hate him because he's something of a mush.

Fans had petitioned him to stay away from the Sixers during their playoff run — which he mostly obliged — but he still took some blame for who-knows-what-exactly after Philly fell to the Raptors in seven.

Anyway, Hart visited "Live with Kelly and Ryan" this week and they spoke at length about the tough series loss to the Toronto Raptors and also the roll Drake played in it.

"[Drake] wanted to bet on the series and I didn't because he doesn't pay," Hart said. "I think my frustrations from the past is probably what brought some of the negativity into this series. If I had a bet, we probably would have won. Because I didn't bet, he reversed me. He hit me with a reverse-woo."

"You know what's bad," Hart continued. "I didn't even go to the series. I didn't go to no games because I'm so superstitious. I went to games last year and then we lost to Boston."

Then they discussed Drake "cursing" the Sixers by wearing a pair of 76ers shorts during the series. 

"[Drake] wore our team shorts because he's a jerk," Hart said. "He put the reverse on himself because everybody was saying whoever he roots for loses. I should have done the same thing, I should have put on a Toronto Raptors uniform and I didn't. I let my city down. I let my city down."

The segment ended with Kelly and Ryan asking Hart to share a message directly with Drake, who watches regularly. You can watch the whole segment and Hart's very colorful parting message below.

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Joel Embiid earns spot on NBA All-Defensive Second Team

Joel Embiid earns spot on NBA All-Defensive Second Team

He may not be a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, but Joel Embiid will at least get some recognition for his defense.

Embiid on Wednesday was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team. Utah’s Rudy Gobert, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist to repeat, finished as the First-Team center.

It’s not to say Gobert isn’t deserving, but it does feel like Embiid’s impact is a little undersold. He defends more shots than any player in the NBA at the rim, allowing opponents to shoot 61.6 percent, a full percentage point better than Gobert. The fact that Embiid got just four first-place votes is straight disrespectful.

The playoffs don’t weigh into regular season awards, but the Sixers’ series against the Raptors further illustrated the impact of Embiid. The Sixers were a plus-90 with Embiid on the floor and a minus-111 with him out. In Game 7 alone, they were outscored by 12 in the 2:49 Embiid was on the bench in a two-point game. And that’s with Embiid struggling mightily on offense and dealing with tendinitis and illnesses.

The hope is a healthy Embiid, who has always stated his goal is to win DPOY, comes back motivated.

"The only reason that I’m playing is they’re telling me my presence only helps us," Embiid said during exit interviews. "Even if I’m not producing offensively, defensively they’re always telling me that the numbers show it. That’s why I played – I couldn’t let them down. It’s fine. I’ll take it all. You can put this loss on me. Don’t just put it on the coach or anybody else. I should play better."

Embiid was a finalist for DPOY last season, but Gobert, Paul George and Giannis Antetokounmpo make up the field this year. Embiid should have his name back in the mix season next season and should get more serious consideration for the award in the future.

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