Joel Embiid (doubtful left knee pain) in the first game of the Sixers playoff series against the Nets

The playoff basketball will return to the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon (2:30 pm / BNSPC).

How are the Sixers going to compete with the Nets? Paul Hudrick, Danny Pommells and Noah Levick of NBC Sports in Philadelphia make their predictions for the series.

It was certainly not the easiest draw for the Sixers, but it's the playoffs. The Nets came out of the rubble of their disastrous trade with the Celtics and put together a pretty good team.

The biggest thing for the Sixers will be to contain the pair of guards composed of D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, especially in the pick-and-roll. Russell and Dinwiddie combined an average of 44.8 points in four bouts this season.

What cheers me the most is the way the Sixers treated them in their last game, a 123-110 win. Playing almost at full strength, they managed to keep Russell and Dinwiddie at 13 points each. Part of that can be attributed to the two players not having their best shooting nights, it was also the plan and the execution of the Sixers.

I like the idea of ​​Ben Simmons who defends Russell. Simmons is strong enough to fight against five-by-five pick-and-rolls, but also has enough speed to hang up on Russell and make him take long bouts to two. Same thing for Dinwiddie. When both guards are on the ground, Jimmy Butler must keep one. What you can not have is JJ Redick or T.J. McConnell on one of them.

I do not see the Sixers losing to home, where they finished 31-10 this season. When / if they lose a match in Brooklyn, I see them take it as a slap in the mouth and then close the show.

Six out of five

The Sixers went through the end of the regular season, but with a goal. And the time has come for their stored energy to burst into the playoffs, primarily on the Nets. But with the five starting players playing only 10 games played in one unit (8-2 in this sequence), what kind of playoffs should we expect against a team that the Sixers shared the season with -2? A tough a. Not to mention Joel Embiid's health is as sensitive as Philadelphia's soda tax.

The Sixers' defense is not strong enough to beat the Nets without Embiid's full service for the majority of the series. I think he will play and dominate, but there is no way to know how Embiid's knee will react from match to match. What's worrying me the most in Brooklyn? The Nets attempt and make the fifth highest point in the league. Their range of fire is prominent and accentuates a sore spot for the Sixers; large individual perimeter defenders but subpar perimeter defense. It's strange, I know. I think the Sixers will win in six games, but it's in their best interest to send Brooklyn in as few matches as possible to prepare for the rest of the challenge. Jobs and livelihoods are certainly at stake for the Sixers.

Sixers out of six

Landry Shamet, Furkan Korkmaz, Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala all played key roles in the Sixers' regular season series against the Nets. It is likely that none of these players will see significant minutes in this playoff series. Only one of them, Korkmaz, is still on the list.

Throughout the training, the Sixers' problems with anti-pick-and-roll defense remained constant. They are in better shape than they were on 4 November, while the Nets beat them by 25 points and Korkmaz, Shamet, JJ Redick and T.J. McConnell were often targeted, but that remains a concern.

For the first time, D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie are threatening threats. Caris LeVert has averaged 16.0 points and 4.3 assists in his last nine games, and Joe Harris has the best three-point penalty shootout percentage in the NBA. The defensive game is clearly a challenge for the Sixers.

I do not expect the Sixers to have much trouble scoring. Aside from this November 4 defeat, while he was attempting to score eight goals, the season's low, Joel Embiid collected 34.7 points per game and shot 61.4% against the Nets this week . Brooklyn can not handle a healthy face-to-face encounter with Embiid, and Embiid's number of doubles – despite his frequent absences – has been impressive recently.

The starting lineup of the Sixers, 8-2 at a time, has a talent advantage big enough that the bench does not do anything special against Brooklyn. I think the Sixers will take a competitive series of five games.

Six out of five

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