Sixers-Nets: 5 things you need to know

Sixers-Nets: 5 things you need to know
December 16, 2013, 1:00 pm
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The Sixers (7-18) return to the hardwood in an attempt to snap their season-high six-game losing skid when they face the Brooklyn Nets (8-15) on Monday night.

Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (CSN) at the Barclays Center.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Defenseless
The Sixers’ porous defense continues to reach new lows this season.

The team allowed a 2013-14 NBA-high 139 points to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. They haven't allowed that many since 1993 (they did it four times). Plenty of those points came from a Blazers record 21 three-pointers, which also tied a franchise-worst mark for the Sixers. 

It would appear that the Sixers could find some traction on defense Monday against a Nets team that ranks in the league’s bottom third in both points per game (22nd) and field goal percentage (21st). 

However, the Sixers have already proven to be just the right team for opponents to find their offensive groove. That’s especially true away from the Wells Fargo Center, as the Sixers have lost 10 straight road games.

2. Walk the line
Speaking of the Sixers’ defensive issues, the team can’t afford to be overly aggressive against their division rivals on Monday.

For all of their early-season shortcomings, the Nets still have big-name players that tend to get foul calls. The Nets are fifth in the NBA in both free throw attempts per game (26.3) and free throws made per game (20.0).

The Sixers must be physical against perennial All-Stars Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and the rest of the Nets without giving the referees a clear reason to blow the whistle. Easier said than done.

3. Run, run, run
One advantage the Sixers bring into the matchup is youth. The Sixers are the league’s youngest team, while the Nets are among the association’s oldest.

The disparity is clearly evident in the two clubs’ style of play. The Sixers’ up-and-down style still has them atop the NBA in pace with 102.2 possessions per 48 minutes. Meanwhile, the Nets are tied for 25th in that category with 94.5 possessions a game. The Sixers also rate fourth in fast-break points per contest with 16.7 compared to the 29th-ranked Nets at just 8.4.

The Sixers should stick to attacking the basket (second in the NBA with 49.9 points in the paint per game), especially if Nets center Brook Lopez can’t go because of an ankle injury.

4. Injuries
Michael Carter-Williams (knee) is day to day.

Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are all out.

Daniel Orton will serve a one-game suspension against the Nets for his altercation with Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard during Saturday’s defeat.

Lopez (ankle) is questionable for Monday’s game.

Johnson (illness) and Mirza Teletovic (illness) did not practice Sunday and their status is unclear for Monday.

Andrei Kirilenko (back) and Jason Terry (knee) are out for the Nets.

5. This and that

• The Sixers are 1-10 without Carter-Williams and haven’t won since he last played on Dec. 3 against the Orlando Magic.

• The Sixers lost both meetings in Brooklyn last season.

• The Nets allow an average of 36.3 points in the paint with Lopez in the lineup and 44.0 without him.

• The Nets are dead last in opponents’ three-point percentage at 40.6.