PHILADELPHIA — After playing three games before Christmas, the Nets and 76ers concluded their season series Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center. It was a potential playoff preview because they were the sixth and third seeds, respectively, going into the game and might finish that way.
76ers coach Brett Brown, whose team has had trouble defending Nets guards D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, called it a “scary” prospect.
“Dangerous, completely dangerous,” Brown said. “They’ve got a bunch of players that can play out of a live ball or a pick-and-roll. When I assess where do we need the most help, it’s pick-and-roll defense.”
Brown said frontcourt defenders Joel Embiid, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott are fine. He added, “The people on the ball have the hard job with the guards, and they’ve got capable scorers all over the place. The abundance and frequency and efficiency of the three-point shots they are able to generate and get buckets quick is scary. So the matchup scares you. We would have our hands full.”
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said the 76ers’ size would pose a problem and suggested the two teams could petition commissioner Adam Silver for relief from a tough matchup.
“Obviously, the matchup for us is the inside game and the rebounding factor,” Atkinson said. “Their strength is a little bit our weakness. It would be a real tough matchup for us.”
Atkinson added that he’s not thinking that far ahead.
LeVert seems back
Although Caris LeVert went from starting to coming off the bench the previous two games, his performance Monday night in Portland offered a hopeful sign for his recovery from the dislocated ankle that cost him 42 games. He had 16 points and shot 5-for-8, his best field-goal percentage and second-best scoring total since returning on Feb. 8.
“It was the best he’s looked . . . physically and confidence-wise,” Atkinson said. “I was very pleased with that. I think that bodes well for the future and finding his rhythm.”