What was shaping up to be a fantastic Wednesday night showdown on ESPN between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers is now significantly less interesting for the average basketball fan who wanted to see two heavyweights go at it.
For months, the Sixers have been battling back and forth with the Nets for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. As both teams are tied for first place heading into Wednesday's game, it remains a critical matchup as the winner will take the tie-breaker if it's needed at the end of the year.
The good news for the Sixers is that they have much better odds of taking that tie-breaker away from Brooklyn on Wednesday night. While no amount of injuries to an opposing team guarantees a win ever, the Nets will be without several key players on Wednesday while the Sixers have everybody but one player healthy.
Kevin Durant, who's been in and out of Brooklyn's lineup this season with a couple of setbacks, won't play against Philly once again on Wednesday. As the superstar forward played in Tuesday's afternoon matchup against the Timberwolves, Durant will take the second night of a back-to-back off to avoid overworking himself.
In addition to Durant, the Nets will also be without their other star James Harden, the veteran forward Blake Griffin, one of their new additions LaMarcus Aldridge, and the veteran reserve Tyler Johnson.
Wednesday's game marks the third time this season the Sixers will face Brooklyn without Kevin Durant and the second time without James Harden. Considering it's the final meeting between these two teams in the regular season, the 76ers won't see the Nets at full strength at all this year unless they meet in the postseason.