Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Get ready for Wednesday's ESPN doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Nets (37-17) at Sixers (37-17)
7 p.m. ET, ESPN
• The Nets and Sixers enter their final meeting of the regular season at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with matching 37-17 records and a 1-1 split in the season series, so this game will determine the tiebreaker should it be needed at season’s end. Since Philly’s win on Feb. 6, the Nets have gone 23-6 (0.793) – the second-best record in the league behind Phoenix (26-6) and 3.5 games better than Philadelphia (20-10).
• The Nets are coming off a 127-97 win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon – in a game originally scheduled for Monday night – with Kevin Durant leading the way with 31 points on 11-15 shooting as Kyrie Irving (personal) and James Harden (hamstring) both missed the game. Durant has played on the second night of a back-to-back only once this season. The Nets are 6-4 in those situations, averaging 111.8 ppg, which is seven points fewer than their second-ranked season average (118.8).
• The Nets have gone 1-3 this season when none of the “Big 3” of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or James Harden play; that one win came against Philadelphia on Jan. 7 as the Nets got a 122-109 win behind Joe Harris’ game-high 28 points off the bench.
• Since returning from injury on April 3, Joel Embiid has averaged 27.2 points. 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over five games, with the Sixers going 4-1 in those games. Embiid is shooting 48.2% from the field, only 17.6% from 3-point range, and 81.5% at the free throw line on 13 attempts per game. For the season, Embiid leads the league in free throw attempts (11.6 per game) and shoots 85.2% at the free throw line.
• This game features the second-ranked offense in Brooklyn (117.2 points per 100 possessions) facing off against the second-ranked defense in Philadelphia (106.4 points allowed per 100 possessions). The Nets are the top shooting team in the league (57.4% effective field goal percentage), while the Sixers hold opponents to the fourth-lowest eFG% (51.9%).
Mavericks (29-24) at Grizzlies (27-25)
9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
• If the season ended today, the No. 7 Mavericks and the No. 8 Grizzlies would meet in the Seven-Eight Game of the Play-In Tournament, with the winner of that game earning the No. 7 spot in the playoffs and the loser having to beat the winner of the Nine-Ten Game in order to grab the No. 8 seed.
• This is the second of three matchups between these teams this season. Dallas took the first game, 102-92 on Feb. 22, behind Tim Hardaway’s 29 points off the bench. Hardaway ranks second in scoring as a reserve (15.6 ppg) among 220 eligible bench players.
• Jonas Valanciunas is averaging career highs in both scoring (17.0 ppg) and rebounding (12.7 rpg, 3rd in NBA) and has already matched his career high in double-doubles (39) with 20 games left to play. Since the All-Star break, Valanciunas has a league-high 19 double-doubles in 20 games and is averaging 18.9 points, a league-leading 14.6 rebounds and is shooting 62% from the field, which ranks second to Zion Williamson (63.3%) among the 65 players with at least 200 shot attempts in that time.
• Luka Doncic (21.8) and Ja Morant (19.2) rank second and fourth, respectively, in drives per game this season. Doncic is averaging 12.6 points on 58.2% shooting on his drives as well as 2.4 assists. Morant is averaging 10.1 points on 45.4% shooting and 2.3 assist on his drives.
• The Grizzlies lead the NBA in points in the paint with 56.5 ppg, which accounts for 50% of Memphis’ total offense. They will be facing a Mavericks team that allows the fifth-fewest points in the paint at 44.3 per game. The Mavericks allow the eighth-fewest field goal attempts inside the restricted area (24.9) and the ninth-fewest field goal attempts in the rest of the paint outside the restricted area (41.7).