Nets don’t view meetings with 76ers as rivalry

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Nets Joe Harris
Brooklyn Nets forward RaiQuan Gray, center, attempts a layup during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson

BROOKLYN — The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles may be rivals, but no inside of HSS Training Center is labeling the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers that way. 

Brooklyn travels down to the New Jersey Turnpike to square off against former friend James Harden and the Sixers on Wednesday night, but the close proximity of the two teams isn’t adding any extra juice to the matchup. Neither is the chance to see Harden, who forced his way out of Kings County last season at the trade deadline. 

If anything, according to Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn, the fact that the two teams are only separated by a game and a half adds an extra emphasis on Wednesday’s contest. 

“I think more than anything Philly is a game or game and a half above us in the standings, and I think that makes it important. You’re playing an Eastern Conference team and you don’t know what the results are gonna be at the end of the year. I think at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing,” Vaughn said. 

The crowd inside Wells Fargo Center will be a passionate group, as they often are. The Nets head coach joked before Brooklyn’s first trip there this season that it would be an “earmuffs” kind of night, referencing the popular movie Old School. 

Vaughn said that he was always encouraged by the Philadelphia crowd and that they “bring it.” 

Injured Nets superstar Kevin Durant will not make the trip down the Turnpike with the rest of the team but did have thoughts on the idea of a rivalry between the two teams. To surmise, he wasn’t buying it. 

“No there’s juice for every game,” Durant said. “I have been saying rivalries in the NBA are not really a thing in my opinion. It’s gonna be a battle amongst each fan base on social media, but far as the players, I think it’s another game on the schedule. Each team trying to get better and improve.”

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