Nets-76ers Preview

The Brooklyn Nets have won back-to-back games just twice this season. The most recent instance came two months ago against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Joe Johnson and the Nets look to build on their best performance of the season and beat the 76ers again in a matchup of two of the NBA's worst teams Saturday night.

The only thing preventing Brooklyn (13-38) from being at the bottom of the Atlantic Division is league-worst Philadelphia (7-43).

The Nets have looked worthy of that status while dropping 15 of 17 games, but they halted a five-game skid with Friday's 128-119 win over Sacramento. In a rare positive performance during an otherwise dismal season, they set season highs in points, shooting percentage (55.8) and 3-pointers (18).

“It feels great to get a win, to see everything clicking on all cylinders,” said Johnson, who had season bests of 27 points and 11 assists while sinking 11 of 16 from the field, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.

The small forward had 20 points and nine assists while making 7 of 12 from the floor and 4 of 5 from long range in a 114-100 loss to Indiana two days earlier.

Johnson and the Nets will now try to win two straight games for the first time since following a win over Houston with a 100-91 victory against Philadelphia on Dec. 10, but it will require ending a five-game road losing streak. Brooklyn, though, has won eight of the last 10 matchups with the 76ers, including three straight in Philadelphia.

Thaddeus Young had 21 points and nine rebounds in a 94-87 win in the most recent visit March 14. He was vital again two months ago, scoring 18 points with 11 boards.

The 76ers have surrendered an average of 112.0 points while losing four in a row. They allowed Washington to shoot 52.4 percent from the floor and never recovered from a 20-point first-quarter deficit in Friday's 106-94 road defeat.

“We have been down a lot for the past 2 1/2 years. That area isn't shocking to us,” coach Brett Brown said. “How we respond to it is the great challenge and I'm proud of our guys way more than I'm not.”

Ish Smith had 22 points, five assists, five rebounds and three steals against the Wizards, two nights after he had seven points and as many assists in a 124-86 home loss to Atlanta. The journeyman guard shot 3 of 10 and finished with nine points in a 94-87 loss to the Nets in the most recent matchup in Philadelphia.

Jahlil Okafor had 22 points and 10 rebounds at Brooklyn, but he only had nine and four Friday. The rookie is averaging 10.7 points over the last three games after missing two with an illness.

Isaiah Canaan has averaged 15.7 points off the bench over the last three games after scoring 18 at Washington. However, the guard had four points while missing all six of his 3-point attempts against the Nets two months ago.