Nets-76ers Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers have had some time to digest a 36-point

defeat in Brooklyn, which came two days after they lost by 34 at

home to Portland.

The Nets appeared to be turning things around with that blowout

win, but another poor defensive performance doomed them in their

next game.

Brooklyn looks for a fifth win in six meetings against the

76ers, who are searching for answers as they try to avoid dropping

eight in a row for the first time in four years Friday night.

The Nets (9-16) rolled past Philadelphia (7-19) on Monday as Joe

Johnson made 10 3-pointers and scored a season-high 37 points in a

130-94 victory. The 76ers lost 139-105 to the Trail Blazers on

Saturday and are last in the NBA with 111.2 points and 10.5

3-pointers allowed per game.

“I mean everyone is just moving the ball against us good and we

kind of get broken down into a scramble, and when we scramble it is

not a good thing,” guard James Anderson said.

Brooklyn has also struggled defensively, allowing an average of

101.8 points to rank 23rd in the league. The Nets had given up 93.6

points per game in winning four of five before losing 113-107 at

home to Washington on Wednesday.

Paul Pierce had a season-high 27 points off the bench and Brook

Lopez added 22 after missing two games with a sprained left ankle

for the Nets, who gave up 12 3-pointers and were outrebounded

51-31. Brooklyn is 28th in the league with 8.7 3s allowed per game

and 23rd with a minus-1.9 rebounding differential.

“It’s easy to sit here and talk to you guys about what kind of

night I had, but bottom line, I really don’t care. We lost the

game. That’s pretty much all that matters,” Pierce said. “We come

out here and try to win as a team. It’s not about how good Paul

Pierce is scoring.

“Tonight we had the inability to rebound, we didn’t defend the 3

and it cost us the game. That’s all that I’m worried about right

now.”

Philadelphia hasn’t lost eight straight since a 12-game skid

Nov. 20-Dec. 11, 2009, and it’s hoping to get rookie point guard

Michael Carter-Williams back on the court.

Carter-Williams, averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.8

rebounds and an NBA-leading 3.1 steals, has missed each game of the

losing streak due to a skin infection and soreness in his right

knee. He returned to practice Wednesday and will be a game-time

decision.

“I hope I get the go-ahead to play,” Carter-Williams said. “I’m

not 100 percent sure yet.”

The 76ers are 1-10 without Carter-Williams.

“I don’t know if I was playing I would have been the huge

difference and we’d start winning all these games,” he said. “I’m

just trying to come back and contribute to the team and get us

going on the right track.”

Philadelphia has dropped 19 of 23 following a 3-0 start, and

first-year coach Brett Brown said those struggles won’t come to an

end unless his team figures things out defensively.

“We have to do what we’re doing better. We don’t do what we’re

doing well,” Brown said. “Really a lot of what has happened is we

don’t get back on defense, in transition defense.”