The Adjustment | Preparing for Nets' Best Punch

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

Adjustments. They're what playoff series are all about. Throughout the postseason, we'll spend some time examining the areas in which the 76ers, their opponent, or both will try to gain the upper hand.

You can spell ‘playoffs’ without ‘physicality,’ but talking about them without referencing it is another matter entirely.

It was this exact time a year ago - during the 76ers’ opening-round match-up with the Miami Heat - when ‘physicality’ became the big buzzword of the series.

Here we are again, focusing on the same theme, and understandably so.

After the Brooklyn Nets prevailed in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Sixers used a jarring uppercut to wrestle away momentum in Monday’s Game 2.

Ahead of Game 3 Thursday at Barclays Center, the Sixers are preparing and eager for the Nets’ best punch.

“I’m all for the physicality,” Jimmy Butler said following Thursday’s shootaround in Lower Manhattan. “I think a lot of guys on our team are. We’re coming back, playing at their crib, first time in a long time. They want this one just as badly as we want it.”

Last the Sixers were on Barclays Center’s parquet floors, notable enough, it was Butler who emerged the hero, canning a triple just before the buzzer to deliver the Sixers a dramatic win.

This past Monday’s contest against Brooklyn was punctuated in a different way, as the Sixers’ reserve corps put the bow on what became a laugher.

“You pay attention to the rhetoric,” Brett Brown said Thursday morning. “We all try to predict the future. It doesn’t take much to predict that this will be a physical game, and so be it. It’s the NBA Playoffs.”

Very recent history has shown that the Sixers are more than up to the challenge of corralling a feisty opponent, while competing with that same type of spirit themselves.

When Miami turned up the intensity in the first round of the 2018 playoffs, the Sixers responded accordingly, ripping off three straight wins to clinch the series in five games.

The 2019 edition of the Sixers demonstrated Monday they know how to roll up their sleeves just fine.

Ben Simmons thinks that for Brooklyn to have a chance in the series, the Nets need to be physical. Therefore, he says he and his teammates will be ready, especially in a best-of-seven series swing game.

“I expect it to be a great game, a competitive game,” said Simmons. We really need these two wins. I think these two wins would be huge going back home.”


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