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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Five things to watch in Game 2 of 76ers vs Nets; Warriors vs Clippers

#Nets/Warriros

The first set of Game 2s is set to go on Monday night. The Philadelphia 76ers will look to bounce back after suffering a tough home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. In the nightcap, the Golden State Warriors will look to go up 2-0 on the Los Angeles Clippers.

Here are five things to watch for in Monday's action.

MORE: NBA Playoff broadcast schedule for the 2019 postseason

Embiid's Knee

Joel Embiid started the 2019 Playoffs red-hot and looked like he was going to carry his team to a Game 1 win, but his knee limited him to just 24 minutes. His cardio was also an issue after missing the five of the last seven games.

It's a tricky situation for the 76ers to be in especially after losing Game 1 to the Brooklyn Nets. Their biggest advantage is having Joel Embiid, arguably the best big man in the league on the floor but having him on the floor and compromised led to their demise on Saturday afternoon.

"It's a slippery slope. We are the recipient of Jo trying to inch along slowly and buy time," 76ers head coach Brett Brown said on Sunday according to Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice. "You win a game, two more days, you win a game, three more days, you might drop one, four more days.

"How do you deliver him responsibly to a later date in ultimately what you hope will be a deep playoff run?"

That's the question that might be answered on Monday night in Game 2. It's the biggest game of the year for the 76ers and they may only once again get 20-25 minutes from their best player in hopes that he'll be healthier down the road.

A loss Monday and the 76ers will have a huge decision to make for Game 3 in Brooklyn - because if you can't win with Embiid how much worse could it be without him?

Ben Simmons

J.J. Reddick, Tobias Harris both had subpar games on Saturday, but the majority of the blame fell on the shoulders of Ben Simmons. When the 76ers are at their best, Simmons is usually orchestrating the offence as only he can. Embiid is Philadelphia's best player, Jimmy Butler is their closer but Simmons is the most important piece to the team's success. He sets the tone on both ends of the floor and Saturday he didn't show up.

The beauty of the post-season is you get an opportunity to redeem yourself after having a stinker, and Monday night will be the chance for Simmons.

Expect him to be aggressive from the get-go. He should get a lot more touches in the post and put pressure on the Nets especially if they're going to play small for long stretches.

Brooklyn's Bench

The Nets' bench was terrific on Saturday scoring 59 of the team's 111 points. They outplay, out-scored and out-worked the 76ers' bench in every facet of the game.

Brooklyn's bench has been key for them all season long and it's the only clear cut advantage they have against a fully healthy 76ers squad.

Both Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert came up big when the Nets needed them most dropping 18 and 23 points respectively.

The 76ers will have to make adjustments for Game 2 and shouldn't allow Dinwiddie and LeVert to dominate defenders one-on-one as they did in Game 1. If both Dinwiddie and LeVert can adapt to the adjustment that are made and still produce, this series may be 2-0 in favour of the Nets heading back to Brooklyn.

Turnovers

Both the Nets and 76ers struggled this season taking care of the rock. Brooklyn averaged 15.1 turnovers per game and Philadelphia wasn't far behind with 14.9. Both teams were in the bottom five in the league in turns this season.

On Saturday, they were both below their season averages of turnovers per game but 13 for Philly and 11 for Brooklyn is hardly something to be proud of.

At the end of Game 2 on Monday night, look no further than who won the turnover battle - they'll likely be the winners.

Dubs taking care of business

The Warriors did what they were supposed to do on Saturday night cruising to a Game 1 win behind Stephen Curry's explosive performance.

However, along the way, they got caught up in the game within the game when Kevin Durant took the bait from Patrick Beverly and was ejected.

Losing Durant wasn't a huge deal for the Warriors, they of course still have an abundance of talent but KD picked up two technical fouls in the very first game of the playoffs.

Durant is now just five techs away from being suspended for a game.

In 2017-18 Durant picked up 14 techs and was ejected five times. This year he led the league with 17 techs. That's a lot of technical fouls in a two-year span. There's no need for KD or any of the Warriors to mix it up with Beverly or any of the other Clippers.

Staying away from any extra jawing after the whistle is going to be key for the next few games for Golden State.

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