Philadelphia 76ers vs. New Jersey Nets Preview and Pick

Philadelphia 76ers -1.5 (27-27) at New Jersey Nets (24-32) O/U 190.5 7:30 PM ET Monday February 23, 2009
By Jason Green at

Tonight is a big Atlantic Division game the Philadelphia 76ers travel to play the New Jersey Nets. The Nets were a pleasant surprise in the first half of the season, as they were not expected to be in the playoff hunt, but they have stayed in the thick of the race and are currently in the 10th position in the Eastern Conference. However, the Nets are in a slump, big time, as they have not won since before the All Star break and have lost 5 games in a row. The 76ers are in the 6th position in the East, but they are also struggling lately, as they have lost their last 3 games. Even though the 76ers lost Elton Brand for the season they have actually played better without him in the lineup.

This season the Nets are 11-17 at home and the 76ers are 10-15 in away games.

Hoops bookies have the 76ers as 1.5 point favorites with a total around 190.

The 76ers come into this game after losing to the Miami Heat 97-91 on Saturday night. The high scorer for the 76ers in that game was Andre Miller going for 30 points on 11/21 shooting. For the game the 76ers left their shooting touch in Philly, as they could not hit water if they fell out of a boat shooting 33/89 for a horrid FG% of 37.1%. The 76ers must have left their defense at home as well, as they allowed the Heat to shoot 38/74 from the floor for a FG% of 51.4%.

The Nets come into this game after an embarrassing loss to the weak Washington Wizards 107-96 on Friday night. The high scorer for the Nets in that game was Devin Harris going for 26 points on 7/16 shooting. For the game the Nets shot poorly going 33//87 for a FG% of only 37.9%. On D the Nets allowed the Wizards to shoot 40/85 for a FG% of 47.1%.

Don’t look for a high scoring game tonight, as the 76ers rank 20th this season in scoring (97.9 ppg) and the 76ers only rank 24th (96.2). On defense the 76ers rank 10th in points allowed (95.6 ppg), while the Nets only rank 19th (100.6 ppg). The 76ers are a much better team on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of -.0.5 rpg, while the 76ers are legit on the boards at +2.9 rpg.

This season the 76ers are 24-28-1 ATS and the Nets are 28-28. In terms of Over/Under games the 76ers are 22-30-2 and the Nets are 28-28.

On the injury front PG Andre Miller is day-to-day for the 76ers and SF Jarvis Hayes is Out for the Nets.

Even though Nets’ C Brook Lopez (12.6 ppg 8.1 rpg) has been on fire lately averaging 18.1 ppg 10 rpg and shooting 61.3% from the field in his last 9 games the Nets have been dominated on the glass in their last 3 games being out-rebounded by an average of 10.4 rpg.

Lopez needs to hit the boards tonight and not give the 76ers many second chance opportunities.

Samuel Dalembert (6 ppg 8.6 rpg) has to play good D on Lopez and not allow him to dominate the lane on offense.

The key match up in this game is between PG Andre Miller (16.1 ppg) and Devin Harris (21.5 ppg). Harris is more of a scoring PG and Miller will have to play good D on him tonight.

The 76ers could really benefit if leading scorer Andre Iguodala (17.7 ppg) ends his hooting slump, as he is only shooting 32.5% from the floor and scoring 14.7 ppg in the team’s 3 game losing streak.

Vince Carter (20.8 ppg) has to have a big scoring game, as the Nets do not have many scoring options.

The Nets are one of the worst home teams that are still in the playoff race, as they are 6 games below .500 in the Garden State. In the last 4 games in New Jersey between these 2 teams have been close, as margin of victory has only been by an average of 5 points.

The 76ers will look to move up in the Eastern Conference standings, as they want to avoid the Celtics and Cavs in the first round, while the Nets will be happy just to make the playoffs.

Jason’s Pick: I like the 76ers to get it done on the road tonight.