G78 Can Nets Defense Stop 76ers for 3 Straight Wins?

A vastly improving Nets team beat the visiting Hawks 91-82 on the second night of back-to-back game. And defense has been the key. It was the first time of all 18 wins that the Nets held opponents under 90 points.

Jeremy Lin finally broke through his shooting slump to finish with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists (5-10 shooting, 2-4 three-point shooting). His driving threat made the Hawks focused too much on him, giving a tremendous assist to a thunderous Trevor Booker dunk. It gave the Nets 8-point lead (90-82) with 28 seconds left in the 4th quarter and broke the Hawks spirit in the process. Brook carried the Nets with a great all-around game (29pts/5rebs/5asts/5blks/5tos/2stls) before sitting out the last 2 min due to cramp.

Nets vs 76ers Matchup

The 76ers has lost 3 straight since they beat the Nets 106-101 on March 28. We can expect the Nets to be extra motivated to redeem their loss by beating the 76ers on their home-court. It should help the Nets that the 76ers won’t have Embiid, Okafor, Simmons, Bayless, and Covington.

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Jeremy Lin added 15 points, six rebounds and six assists for Brooklyn, which limited Atlanta to a season-low point total. The Hawks, who shot 37.5 percent from the floor, made just 30 field goals, a season low for a Nets opponent. Atlanta also turned the ball over 19 times.

“I think our defense is getting better in general,” said Atkinson, whose club won despite shooting 39 percent from the floor and committing 21 turnovers.

He attributed the defensive improvement to more “competitive fire.”

“You need to get stops,” Atkinson said, “and I think our guys are, again, raising our defensive standards, getting better.”

The Sixers (28-49) lost 113-105 in Toronto on Sunday, their third straight defeat. They lost Robert Covington and Jahlil Okafor for the season to knee injuries last week, after earlier seeing Joel Embiid (knee) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) ruled out for the year as well.

Ben Simmons, the top overall pick in the 2016 draft, is out for the entire season after breaking a foot in training camp.

“We are kind of just dropping like flies, man,” point guard T.J. McConnell told Philly.com on Sunday. “We are just giving new opportunities to new guys. We have to continue to play hard. You’d be surprised in the month of April what playing hard will do for you.”

Rookie guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored a career-high 23 points Sunday for Philadelphia, which because of all its injuries was allowed a hardship exception to sign a 16th player, forward Alex Poythress of the NBA Development League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants, to its roster. Poythress scored 11 points off the bench against Toronto.

Rookie forward Dario Saric, placed on a minutes restriction because of a sore left heel, notched 16 points in 23:47 and said he felt fine afterward.

“It’s not something that can be serious like some injury that can take me out for one month or two months,” Saric told Philly.com. “It’s just soreness (from) too many games, too much jumping and running.”

Coach Brett Brown told the same outlet that the Sixers, who like the Nets have five games left in their season, want to play hard to the end.

“None of us intend on just rolling over,” he said. “We’re playing with a spirit, which I’ve said many times, I hope that the city of Philadelphia is proud of.”

KEY OF THE GAME: The Nets continue to rely on their defense to start the game and not give momentum to teams. Lin should continue to excel in late-game situation by distributing the ball, drawing fouls, and putting the Nets in position to win their 19th game of the season.

Let’s hope and pray JLin will stay healthy and continue to lead the Nets to win more games!

Let’s go, JLin and the Nets! 


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