Tuesday, January 8, 7:00 PM (EST) at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
19-15 (2nd Atlantic, 6th East)
15-20 (4th Atlantic, 9th East)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
MATCHUP TO WATCH
G Deron Williams vs. G Jrue Holiday
Expected by many to be the centerpiece of the Nets' Brooklyn rebirth, three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams has simply not performed to the level at which he played at the height of his career in Utah. Williams, who averaged 19.4 points (47.8 FG%) and 10.4 assists per game over his last three and a half seasons with the Jazz, is averaging just 16.6 points (40.3 FG%) and 7.8 assists this season.
While the Sixers spent the last two weeks traversing the western half of the United States, Jrue Holiday appeared unaffected by the time spent away from home. Through eight consecutive road contests, the 22-year-old point guard averaged a healthy 19.4 points (45.3 FG%, 40.7 3P%), 9.3 assists, and 5.3 rebounds. He topped twenty points in four of those contests, including a 24-point, 9-assist, 6-rebound performance against the Nets in Brooklyn (12/23) to open the trip. He notched a triple-double (16 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) in a loss to Phoenix on January 2 and was one assist and one rebound shy of doing the same against the Trail Blazers on December 29. A slight increase in turnovers per game served as the only stain on Holiday's individual performance during the trip – he averaged 4.0 per game after averaging just 2.5 per game over the team's previous eight contests.
In terms of shot selection, Deron Williams has been his own worst enemy this season. Despite shooting a woeful 34.1% from midrange and 29.7% on above-the-break three-pointers this season, those are the two spots on the floor from which he attempts the majority of his shots. A remarkable 59.3% of his shots this season come from those two locations; overall, he's shooting 31.7% on those attempts. Last season was no different. In fact, an even higher percentage, 61.5%, of his shots came from those two locations in 2011-12, but he was able to convert on a respectable 37.2% of such attempts.
This season, Williams' shooting efficiency around the rim (65.2%) is the highest it's been since he joined the Nets in 2011, but he's actually attempting fewer shots from within three feet this season (20.1% of his attempts) than he did last season (23.9% of his attempts) or the season prior (29.9% of his attempts). Forcing Williams to continue to attempt long twos and straight-away threes will be key, as he's one of the most dangerous floor generals in the league when driving to the basket off of screens.
D. WILLIAMS | J. JOHNSON | G. WALLACE | R. EVANS | B. LOPEZ
Back In The Saddle
Interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo spent five seasons as an assistant coach in San Antonio under the legendary Gregg Popovich (2002-07). Following that stint, he went on to become the head coach of the rebuilding Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder; he lasted 95 games, winning just 21 of them. In Brooklyn, though, he's been able to put together the makings of a nice turnaround. The Nets began the season 15-15 under former head coach Avery Johnson (fired on December 27), but have won five of their last six (all under Carlesimo).
B to the L-O
When seven-footer Brook Lopez missed 61 of 65 games last season due to a foot injury, many expressed concerns regarding his longterm health. Nets general manager Billy King, though, was undeterred, offering the talented young center a max-level extension in the summer of 2012. The move has paid off. Lopez is averaging 18.9 points (52.3 FG%), 7.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game in 29.3 minutes a night. He's currently fifth in the league in Player Efficiency Rating (25.8) behind just LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul. During the Nets' current stretch of five wins in six games, Lopez is averaging a remarkable 23.7 points (59.8 FG%), 8.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.
Tuesday, the Nets will make their first ever trip to Wells Fargo Center since relocating from New Jersey to Brooklyn in the summer of 2012. The last time the Sixers hosted a newly founded or newly relocated team for the first time was on November 15, 2008, when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly the Seattle SuperSonics) 110-85 at Wells Fargo Center. That Thunder team was led by current Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Sixers 92 Nets 95 – December 23, 2012
It was all about both teams' starting units, as the Nets' starting five scored 79 of their 95 points, while the Sixers' lead men scored 74 of their 92 points. Jrue Holiday led all scorers, with 24 points (9-16 FG) to go along with nine assists and six boards. Nets guard Joe Johnson scored 22 (8-17 FG), including 10 in the third quarter alone. Not to be outdone, Thaddeus Young scored 12 in the third; he finished with 18. For the Sixers, none of it was enough to recover from an 18-0 Brooklyn run that turned an eight-point Philly advantage into a 10-point deficit in just three and a half minutes in the middle of the first quarter.