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Against All Odds?

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The San Antonio Spurs are in the middle of what has to be the easiest rodeo tour in the history of rodeo tours. The trip started with games at Portland and at LAL, it ends with a game at Chicago on the 17th. In between, the Spurs play at SAC, DET, TOR, PHI (tonight), WAS (tomorrow) and NJN. Six straight games against sub-.500 opponents. The schedulers really do like to make the rich richer. Hopefully, the Sixers can throw a wrinkle in what should be an extremely successful trip for a juggernaut of a team.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it, this Spurs team doesn't have a whole lot of weaknesses. They're 3rd in OFR, 7th in DFR. They rebound pretty well, they don't turn the ball over, they don't foul very much, they're extremely efficient from the floor. They have zero injury issues (they've used the exact same starting lineup in all 52 of their games). They balance the floor, they spread the scoring load around, they rest their best players.

Lately, San Antonio has been sleeping early then exploding late to put these bad teams away, on the road. If the Sixers are going to have any chance (and really, they don't), they're going to have to exploit a couple of mismatches relentlessly. Unless SA uses Duncan on Brand, EB is going to have room to work. DeJaun Blair is on the short side, so that's matchup number one. The second mismatch is Tony Parker guarding Jrue. Jrue has a huge size and strength advantage over Parker and it's something the Sixers are going to have to attack. Jrue should get touches in the post, he should get high screens (preferably from Hawes to involve Duncan, he should even get isos. If they're going to win this game tonight, Jrue needs to go off and win his matchup by more than a little.

I hate the George Hill/Lou Williams matchup off the bench. I like Thad vs. McDyess. Bonner scares me on the offensive end (he's shooting 49.6% from three).

One adjustment needs to be made right from the opening tip. Iguodala has to guard Manu and Meeks has to guard Richard Jefferson. Meeks has one responsibility and only one responsibility on the defensive end, do not leave Richard Jefferson open in the corner. Period. Do not help off him. Treat Andre Iguodala like a lock-down corner and leave him on an island with Manu (I like our chances in that matchup), if Jrue gets beat on penetration, let the bigs be responsible for help. Do not leave Jefferson, period. The Spurs feast on corner threes off Parker and Ginobili penetration, take it away from them, foul those guys hard if they get to the rim and make San Antonio prove they're willing to take the punishment for continuing to drive to the hoop.

Prediction: PHI 95, SAS 105, they're just too good.

The tip is at 7pm, game thread will land 90 minutes prior.
by Brian on Feb 11 2011
Tags: Basketball | Previews | San Antonio Spurs | Sixers |