The first-place, 5-7 Philadelphia 76ers will try defend their honor, their perch atop the Atlantic Division and their home floor tonight when the mighty Raptors bring their 4-7 mark to the WFC. The irony of ironies when looking at the Atlantic Division standings is the three tanking teams are at the top, while the Nets and Knicks (contenders if you ask their fans) are bringing up the rear.
At time of writing, it's unclear whether MCW will make his triumphant return. My guess is they don't push him and he's out for at least tonight's contest. Toronto is an interesting collection of players. Two of five starters are home grown (Valanciunas, DeRozan), Amir Johnson was a free agent signing (and a shrewd one, in my opinion), Kyle Lowry was bought high from the Rockets and Rudy Gay's max contract is the gift that keeps on giving.
Statistically, Toronto is leaps and bounds better than the Sixers. The sport the #10 defense in the league, and a middle-of-the-road offense. They've got a ton of length and athleticism at 4 of 5 positions (Kyle Lowry being the round peg of the group, in more ways than one). The plethora of athleticism on the wings (which extends to Terrence Ross coming off the bench) will probably cause trouble for Evan Turner on both ends of the floor, as will a pair of capable shot blockers roaming the lane. Lowry's bull in a china shop style has always given the Sixers fits, and Tyler Hansbrough is a complete spaz whose energy is never matched by the Sixers' sedentary bigs (Thad just seems intimidated by it).
I give the Sixers a coin flip of a shot if MCW is in the lineup. They'll probably lose if he's out. Keep an eye on the defensive glass, Toronto has several guys who dominate their offensive boards (Gay, Hansbrough, Amir and Jonas all average better than 2 o-boards/game).
The tip is at 7pm. I'll be around, join me since it's a bye week for the Birds so you may as well watch some sports.