The stakes for Wednesday night’s matchup between the 37-17 Sixers and 37-17 Nets are clear.
The winner will take a one-game lead in the Eastern Conference standings and seal the regular-season series, while the loser will be a game behind with 17 to play.
Here are the essentials:
- When: 7 p.m. ET
- Where: Wells Fargo Center
- Broadcast: ESPN
And here are three storylines to watch:
Nets will be very shorthanded
The Nets' status report for Wednesday's game is extensive. Here it is in full:
Kyrie Irving missed Brooklyn's win Tuesday over the Timberwolves due to personal reasons. He's available against the Sixers, The New York Daily News' Kristian Winfield confirmed.
Kevin Durant played against Minnesota (and played very well, scoring 31 points), but the Nets have been easing him back into action after a 23-game absence with a left hamstring strain.
Nicolas Claxton started Tuesday in place of LaMarcus Aldridge.
George Hill (right thumb surgery) was the only Sixer on Tuesday night’s injury report. New addition Anthony Tolliver will be available.
If Furkan Korkmaz can keep stringing together games like his last two, his case for a place in the Sixers’ postseason rotation will gain substantial steam.
Ben Simmons is a supporter.
“Defensively, he’s taken a huge jump,” Simmons said Monday. “He’s gotten a lot better in the time I’ve played with him. For me, it’s easy to play with Furk. We have a good connection on the floor out there in the pick-and-roll game. He can pass the ball, he can shoot the ball. I’ve had a blast playing with him, and he continues to get better. I think he’s deserving of that spot.”
Korkmaz totaled 40 points and seven steals in the final two contests of the Sixers’ 3-1 road trip.
The corner 3 king
In theory, Matisse Thybulle’s defensive skills would be very valuable in a Sixers-Nets playoff series.
Any time he flashes offensive development, whether it’s a pump fake, strong drive and finish at the rim or a smooth jumper, it has to be encouraging for head coach Doc Rivers and the Sixers’ staff.
“Matisse is going to give you the defense,” Rivers said Monday. “With him, we want him to make the open shots, which he’s working his butt off every day doing. Straight-line drives … the last four, five games, he’s had those straight-line drives, and we need that from him. So, that’s been good. And then defensively, he was just disruptive as always.”
Thybulle said last month that he entered the NBA wanting to emulate Danny Green, calling the 33-year-old “a player who has a very similar skill set but just a little more refined than myself.”
In terms of corner three-point shooting, there might not be a better player to look up to than Green. He’s made an NBA-high 67 corner threes this season, converting 42.9 percent. Thybulle is 10 for 46 (21.7 percent) on corner threes.