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Sixers vs. Nets, Game 2: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers vs. Nets, Game 2: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

The Philadelphia 76ers will look to rebound in Game 2, after giving up their home-court advantage in Game 1.

Here are the essentials:

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

Here are three storylines to watch:

Attacking mismatches

As I mentioned in our Game 1 storylines, the Brooklyn Nets were going to look to take advantage of JJ Redick defensively, and that they did, but it was far from just Redick. When the Nets’ second unit of Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert checked into the game, the Sixers couldn’t match up, whether that was Dinwiddie blowing by Mike Scott because he pressed him too far out, LeVert beating Jonathon Simmons backdoor or a variety of other missed man-to-man coverages.

The Nets' gameplan wasn’t a secret. As D’Angelo Russell said after the victory, “In the second unit there are a lot of matchups that we like to exploit… Kenny (Atkinson) is a genius when it comes to that.” Some mismatches you are forced to live with, but the Sixers will have to figure out some of their glaring defensive deficiencies in Game 2.

Adjusting offensively

Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Redick combined for four points in the first half (and 18 overall). It’s a combination of the Sixers needing to do a better job of creating opportunities for Harris and Redick, as it is them knocking down shots. Atkinson said a big part of their game plan was shutting down Harris and Redick, and the Nets simply took away where Redick has been most effective — coming off screens on the perimeter — which means the Sixers will have to find different ways to get him (and Harris) open.

Embiid inside

The biggest advantage that the Sixers have over the Nets is Joel Embiid inside. Embiid admitted after Game 1 that he felt out of shape and Brett Brown said that was a big reason for why Embiid was running perimeter-to-perimeter, rather than rim-to-rim. Still, Embiid was able to get to the line 18 times and finish with 22 points and 15 rebounds in just 24 minutes of play (and limit Jarrett Allen to under 10 minutes after getting him in early foul trouble). I’d still like to see Embiid play more bully ball in Game 2, but that type of play might be dependent on how Embiid’s knee feels. 

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Joel Embiid's status for Sixers Game 1 is up in the air

Joel Embiid's status for Sixers Game 1 is up in the air

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid’s status for Game 1 against the Nets remains a mystery.

GM Elton Brand said he was “optimistic.” Brett Brown said he “expects” his starters to play.

What did Joel Embiid have to have say at the team’s practice facility Friday?

“I have no idea.”    

Not exactly the answer Sixers fans were looking for.

It was first announced that Embiid was dealing with left knee soreness right after the All-Star Game. Embiid then missed the first eight games coming out of the break and then missed 14 of the last 24 games to close out the season.

Like it has been for much of the second half of the season, Embiid will be a true game-time decision.

“It’s my decision because I’m the one feeling the pain and it’s my body,” Embiid said. “[The medical staff] is going to do whatever they can as far as getting me ready and healthy, but if my body doesn’t respond based on the pain level, there’s really nothing you can do.”

Embiid said that everything with his knee is still structurally sound. All the scans the medical staff has done have come back negative. It’s a matter of pain tolerance, so Embiid really won’t know if he’ll be able to go until he has the chance to test it prior to Game 1 Saturday (2:30 p.m./NBCSP).

“Whatever I’ve been feeling the past couple days has been different,” Embiid said. “It still hasn’t changed [structurally]. Everything looks good — the scans and everything — but it’s just the pain level just changed. It just got worse but that’s what I do.

“I think everybody that knows me knows that I want to be on the floor and I always play through pain and injuries and everything, but if I can’t go that means that it’s pretty painful. Like I said, I’m still glad there’s nothing else going on and for me just some regular pain that I got to work through.”

If Embiid is unable to go, this will be the second season in a row that he’ll miss the beginning of the postseason.

Last season, he dealt with a facial fracture after catching an inadvertent elbow from teammate Markelle Fultz. The injury caused him to miss the final eight games of the regular season and the first two games of the first round against Miami.

With a team that was assembled with a playoff run in mind, missing its “crown jewel” at the start isn’t ideal. Brown has clearly grown tired of the questions about Embiid and his health — something he’s dealt with since the team drafted Embiid in 2014.

It’s those experiences that he feels make him equipped to handle the possibility of his All-Star center sitting out.

“I’m so numb — in a good way, in a positive way — to the many things that have come up over our days together,” Brown said. “What I do know is here we are about to enter the NBA playoffs, I have the best team I’ve ever coached and we’re excited to go play Brooklyn …

“We’ve all gone through a lot. I’ve been a coach while we’ve been through a lot. I’m excited to go play basketball. If we do this right — and I believe we will — if I’ve learned anything in my 19 years in the NBA and 14 years in the playoffs, you have to go into this with psychological stability.”

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Sixers at Hawks: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers at Hawks: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Updated: 5:55 p.m.

The Sixers (49-28) will look to rebound against the Atlanta Hawks (28-50) on Wednesday night. The Sixers are once again without Joel Embiid (load management). Jimmy Butler, who missed Monday's game with back tightness, will play.

Here are the essentials: 

When: 7:30 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7
Where: State Farm Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Alternate broadcast: 76ers vs. Hawks Presented by NBC Sports Bet on NBCSP+ 
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

There will also be live, betting-focused coverage on NBCSP+. 

Here are three storylines to watch:

Last time around

The Sixers’ last matchup against the Hawks is one they’d like to forget. Between allowing 47 Hawks’ three-point attempts, struggling in pick-and-roll defense, and rookie Trae Young hitting the game-winner, head coach Brett Brown said post-game, “This is not who we are.” This is one of those pride games for the Sixers.

50 wins

That statement, should the Sixers win, will be their 50th win of the season, marking this as just their second time with consecutive 50-win seasons since 1985-86. On top of that, dating back to 1990, there have been only two 50-win seasons in Philadelphia’s history. If they win tonight, it will mark just the third in 29 years.

Young Trae

I probably don’t need to remind Sixers fans of the pull-up, game-winning Young floater over Butler in their last matchup. This 20-year-old rookie has been off-the-charts impressive this season, from his passing ability to his knack to score in any given situation. Might we be looking at this season’s rookie of the year?

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