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April 14, 2023

Staff predictions for Sixers-Nets playoff series

The PhillyVoice sports staff make their predictions for the Sixers-Nets playoff series.

The Sixers will attempt to break through and reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 2023 this spring. Their path begins Saturday afternoon, as the No. 3 seed in the East hosts the Brooklyn Nets in this opening round playoff matchup.

Heavy favorites this series, as FanDuel Sportsbook has the Sixers -1000 to beat the Nets and advance, the PhillyVoice sports staff is unanimous in their predictions for this round. Four writers all have the Sixers taking down Brooklyn in five games and moving on.

Our Sixers beat writer Kyle Neubeck gave his prediction in his playoff preview Friday morning, writing:

If I haven't gone as in-depth on this series as perhaps I have other matchups in the past, it's because I don't really see the reasonable path to winning for Brooklyn. Picking Brooklyn to make this a series or win outright rests predominantly on the checkered playoff past for the franchise, Philadelphia's on/off switch, or Harden's health is worse than we've been led to believe. Those are not good reasons to give the Nets a shot.

The Sixers have by far the best player in the series and three of the top four guys. They have an elite offense, a very good defense when they're engaged, and an advantage in continuity over the Nets. Do not overthink this, even if the Nets manage to steal a game at some point in the next week.

Prediction: SIXERS IN 5

Staff writer Nick Tricome is right there with him:

The Nets are going to try and play them as tough as they can, but Joel Embiid and James Harden talent-wise are just going to be too much. The attention they're both going to command will also just open up one of Tyrese Maxey or Tobias Harris to go off.

Credit to Mikal Bridges and Brooklyn for getting here after the fallout from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons, but I think they're going to be way overwhelmed here. What I'm really worried about right now is how Doc Rivers utilizes the bench and what might come after this round.

Prediction: SIXERS IN 5

Managing Editor Evan Macy echoes those sentiments:

I am not entirely sure if I’m ready to declare the streak of second-round exits is over, but I do believe the Sixers will come out of the gates with energy and pound the Nets into submission. I think they cruise to a series win and will be well-rested when they face the Celtics in Round 2 in Boston.

Prediction: SIXERS IN 5

Finally, here's my take and, unsurprisingly given this pattern, I have the Sixers winning in five games as well:

I'm also weary of the Sixers finally getting over that second-round hump and making their way to the Eastern Conference Finals, but they should make quick work of Brooklyn. Joel Embiid is too dominant and the Nets don't have the requisite big man talent to slow him down in the slightest. I would've made the case for a sweep if not for the lingering feeling that Mikal Bridges and Seth Curry are going to team up one game to combine for about 10 threes for a sweet revenge performance.

Prediction: SIXERS IN 5

The Sixers-Nets playoff series begins on Saturday, April 15 at 1:00 p.m. on ESPN

More: Sixers release latest playoff hype video

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