Now might be a good time to flip it. The Sixers look to halt their free fall in Newark tonight, against the 21-37 New Jersey Nets. The Bucks lost last night, pushing the Sixers 1.5 games ahead of the lottery.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say Deron Williams is the key to this game. More accurately, stopping Deron Williams. Kris Humprhies will probably push the Sixers bigs around and grab a ton of offensive rebounds, but Humphries alone won't beat you. The Nets win or lose based on whether Deron Williams plays out of his mind, or he's just very good.
With Williams as the key for the Nets, the key indicator for the Sixers is probably going to be Jrue Holiday's play...on the offensive end of the floor. Stick with me for a second. The Sixers need Jrue's defense on the floor. He's the only one who had any kind of success against Williams the last time these teams met. But his defense won't be on the floor if he continues his string of terrible offensive play. It hasn't been his defense that's bought him extended time on the bench, and the team's offense has been so dreadful they simple can't survive his timid, ineffective play on that end. So if the Sixers want to slow Deron down, Jrue probably needs to hit a couple of shots early to build his confidence so he can stay on the floor to check Williams. The last thing we want to see is Lou Williams guarding Deron. The second to last thing we want to see if the Nets running that same small/small pick-and-roll to get Jodie switched onto him.
It feels kind of good to focus on something related to basketball on the court, so I'm going to end this preview right there.
The tip is at 7:30pm. Game thread should land at 5:30.