So the Sixers finally pull off a win and then they have this to come home to this. The Celtics may be the champs, they may have beaten the Sixers like a rented mule less than a week ago, but this Lakers team is the most talented in the league.
They have not one, but two options on the low blocks, a point who can distribute, defend and knock down the three, two defensive stoppers coming off the bench, two Euro shooters who can light it up from deep and, I almost forgot, Kobe Bryant. On top of all the talent they should be extremely unhappy after dropping a game to the Pacers last night.
If the Sixers are going to win this game, and I'm not going to lie to you, that's most likely not going to happen, they're going to need a huge game out of just about everyone.
A combination of Sam Dalembert, Theo Ratliff and Marreese Speights is going to have to be able to handle Bynum down low. In two games against the Sixers last year Bynum totalled 41 points on 16/19 from the floor to go along with 27 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 blocks. In the game at Staples Center I don't think he even broke a sweat. If the Lakers can just pour the ball into the post this game is going south quickly. That's priority number 1.
If you can somehow manage to keep Bynum under wraps I truly believe Gasol can be taken out of any game with physical play. We saw it in the finals last season and we saw it again in the Olympics this Summer when Kobe manhandled him and made him turtle up.
So far we have 1: Contain Bynum, 2: Push Gasol around. Now, once you have those two things under control you have to realize who you can leave and who you can't leave to double. This is pretty simple, you can't really leave anyone. Fisher is shooting 44% from three, Radmonovic is shooting 45%. Kobe is all the way down to 25.5% from downtown, but doubling off him is pretty much insane. If you need to double to contain Bynum and/or Gasol you're in serious trouble.
Now it goes 1: Contain Bynum, 2: Push Gasol around, 3: Accomplish 1&2 without doubling. If we get to that point, all that's left to worry about is who's going to stop Kobe. Last year, I would've said put Thad on him. This year he just doesn't look as quick to me. Kobe would eat him alive and Thad's long arms and height probably wouldn't help him too much. It's going to be Iguodala who gets the assignment. He needs to be up to the task.
Off the bench, Ariza and Odom have both been playing well. Farmar and Sasha have been having some shooting woes, but Vujacic remains solid from three.
If the Sixers can find a way to win this game I'll be suprised. It would be a huge boost to a team who desperately needs one.
Tip is at 7:00. Post game will be late tonight.