The Philadelphia 76ers are heading into the second matchup of a back to back on Thursday night to face a short-handed Brooklyn Nets squad.
Days ago, the Sixers already knew they would compete against a Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn team as the veteran superstar is ruled out for several games due to COVID-19-related safety protocol issues.
Now, Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving is also set to miss Thursday's game as well. According to the Nets' team injury report, Irving has been ruled out hours before tip-off due to "personal reasons."
Without Irving and Durant sharing the floor for the Nets, the matchup becomes much easier for the Sixers, who are on quite the hot-streak through the first set of games this season. Since tipping off the 2020-2021 NBA season two weeks ago, the 76ers have won seven of their last eight games.
Granted, the Sixers have had one of the easier schedules in the NBA so far this year. That's precisely the reason why Thursday's game against Brooklyn was highly anticipated, as many wanted to see the Sixers take on a tougher Eastern Conference opponent. Unfortunately, the 76ers won't have the opportunity to face the Nets at full-strength this time around.
In addition to Brooklyn's absences, the Sixers will also be without three players in Mike Scott, Furkan Korkmaz, and Terrance Ferguson. Meanwhile, starting guard Seth Curry is also questionable for the matchup as he deals with ankle soreness.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_