The 2019 NBA playoffs officially tipped off on Saturday afternoon when the third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers fell to the No. 6 seed Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center in the first matchup of what looks like it will be a very competitive best-of-seven series between two Eastern Conference up-and-comers. Just two seasons ago the Sixers and Nets were among the worst teams in the conference, so it’s fair to say that both franchises have come a long way in a short period of time.
While it is the Sixers who entered this series as the higher seed, it was the Nets who stole Game 1 and homecourt advantage after coming away with a 111-102 victory at the Wells Fargo Center behind standout performances from D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie as Brooklyn’s backcourt combined for 67 points in the win.
Monday night, the Sixers will look to bounce back on their home floor and even this series before the setting shifts to Brooklyn and the Nets’ home at Barclays Center.
Here’s everything you need to know about this first-round matchup between the Sixers and the Nets.
No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets
How to watch Game 2
- Date: Monday, April 15
- Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- TV channel: TNT
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Online streaming: FuboTV
- Odds: 76ers -7.5
Playoff series schedule
All times Eastern
- Game 1 (at PHI): Brooklyn Nets 111, Philadelphia 76ers 102 (Box Score)
- Game 2 (at PHI): Monday, April 15, 8 p.m. — TV: TNT
- Game 3 (at BKN): Thursday, April 18, 8 p.m. — TV: TNT
- Game 4 (at BKN): Saturday, April 20, 3:00 p.m. — TV: TNT
- Game 5* (at PHI): Tuesday, April 23, TBD — TV: TBD
- Game 6* (at BKN): Thursday, April 25, TBD — TV: TBD
- Game 7* (at PHI): Saturday, April 27, TBD — TV: TNT
Odds and Analysis
Check Sportsline’s NBA pick sheet for all your daily odds.
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Nets: Not too many people had the Nets penciled in as a playoff pick prior to the season’s start, but they surpassed expectations this season and landed in the postseason for the first time in four years. The All-Star play of D’Angelo Russell had a lot to do with the Nets’ success this season, but they benefit from an all-around effort, as they also boast one of the most productive bench units in the entire league. Ultimately though, the question for the Nets will be if they have enough firepower to keep up with Philadelphia’s explosive first five.
76ers: The Sixers have turned things around quickly — very quickly. They just completed their second straight 50-win season, and are headed to the postseason for the second year in a row — not bad for a team that won just 10 games three seasons ago. General manager Elton Brand swung for the fences in acquiring Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in separate blockbuster deals, and has assembled arguably the most formidable starting unit in the entire East. The main questions facing the Sixers as they enter the postseason are chemistry (that starting five has still only played 10 total games together as a unit), and depth.
Matchups to watch
1. Joel Embiid vs. His own health: Embiid’s health is a central storyline, not only for the first round, but for the entire Eastern Conference playoff picture. Embiid missed much of the Sixer’s final portion of the season due to lingering knee soreness, and the big man is doubtful for the start of the playoffs. The Sixers have a lot of talent, but Embiid is the engine, and his availability is imperative for Sixers success.
2. Philadelphia’s talent vs. Brooklyn’s depth: On paper, most would agree that the Sixers are the more talented team. However, the Sixers also have one of the league’s least productive benches, while the Nets are on the opposite end of that spectrum and have the second-best bench in the entire NBA in terms of points per game. The series will come down to if the Sixers’ top-tier talent can outweigh a more-balanced Brooklyn attack.
3. Brett Brown vs. Kenny Atkinson: Brett Brown made his postseason debut as a head coach last year, and this year Kenny Atkinson will do the same. Playoff basketball becomes much more of a chess match, as teams play each other multiple times in a row, and it will be interesting to see how these two counteract each other.
Series prediction, pick
Sixers in six: The Nets are talented enough to keep this series interesting, as two of their strong points — depth and guard play — happen to be weaknesses for Philadelphia. However, at the end of the day, the Sixers have more elite talent than the Nets, and in the playoffs teams tend to rely much more on their key contributors, which works in their favor. The Nets — and specifically Russell — will make the Sixers uncomfortable at times, but ultimately Philadelphia will take care of business and move on to the second round.