How the Nets Win Game 3
The Nets did what they needed to do. They split the first two games in Philadelphia to give themselves the opportunity to take a commanding series lead at home. After a rough Game 2, a game where the 76ers scored 51 points in the third quarter, the Nets need to make several adjustments in order to take Game 3.
With Embiid needing to rest his injured knee, Boban Marjanovic found himself playing 18 minutes gathering up 16 points. The Nets were daring him to shoot the mid range shot all game, and he wasn’t missing. Now that Boban has proved he can hit that shot, the team needs to tighten up on him, or, at least not leave him six feet to shoot every time.
Joel Embiid is still nursing a knee injury, but it’s assumed he will play for the rest of the series. With the return of Jared Dudley, the defense should be similar to what we saw in Game 1, where Embiid was held to 5/15 from the field. Dudley will never light up the stat line, but he provides veteran leadership on the floor that is felt on every play. The 12-year veteran won’t stop Embiid, but he will definitely help tighten up the zone.
Another player returning for Thursday night’s game is Ed Davis. Although he wasn’t officially out on Monday, he only played 5 minutes, and likely missed the rest of the game due to his hurt ankle. If Ed Davis is cleared to play, he will certainly help with the 15 offensive rebounds the Nets allowed to Philadelphia. In Game 1, Davis had 12 points and 16 rebounds, and was a huge part in limiting Embiid from the floor. Bringing Davis back on to the court will provide a monster inside on both sides of the court.
As for the Nets offense, Russell had 0 points in the second half on Monday. The key thing for Russell, as we’ve seen in the past, is to get going later in the game. He was subbed out after the Nets were down 17 in the 3rd, and didn’t see much action after that.
It’s important for Russell to have either Dinwiddie, LeVert or both on the court with him. Russell’s main game is the outside shot and his midrange floater. If Dinwiddie and LeVert are on the court, they’re driving to the rim and getting to the line. This forces the 76ers to focus on Dinwiddie and Levert’s ability to drive and leave space for Russell. Look for the Nets to run the three of them on the court at the same time on Thursday.
Something to keep an eye on is Embiid vs Allen, and Kurucs vs Simmons. Philadelphia is an emotional team, and the effects from the technical fouls could carry over to Game 3. Now that Brooklyn is home, the Nets can only hope to get some of the calls Philadelphia was getting in the first two games.