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Amare Headed To Philly!

Relax, he isn't coming here via trade, he's coming here with the rest of the Suns to play the Sixers tonight. After the jump we'll take a look at the stats and a series of numbers that absolutely must be taken advantage of.

Remember the SATs? Good, now think math section, when you get a series of numbers and you have to detect a pattern and guess the next number to come. This is sort of like that. First, the numbers:

  • 36, 37
  • 34, 34
  • 33,33
Now, here's the key:

  • Grant Hill's age, the number of minutes he played last night against Detroit.
  • Steve Nash's age, the number of minutes he played last night against Detroit.
  • Shaquille O'Neal's age, the number of minutes he played last night against Detroit.
When I talked to Michael from Valley of the Suns last night he said he believes Shaq will in fact play tonight, which is a surprise to me. I thought they were avoiding using the big man for back-to-backs, and he played heavy minutes last night, but he would know better than I, so let's assume he's playing.

The numbers above have an obvious relevance to tonight's game. The Suns are both old and they should be tired at three key positions. The Sixers need to come out with their foot on the gas and run for 48 straight minutes. There's no way those three guys will be able to keep up. No matter what, I'll be surprised if Shaq can go more than 30 minutes. Running is obviously the number one key to the game.

Here's a quick look at the stats:

Two things immediately jump out in the Sixers' favor, the Suns turn the ball over at an alarming rate and they tend to foul on the defensive end. These are both areas of strength for the Sixers.

When you look beyond the stats, though, one thing stands out to me. Actually, it's one person, Amare. Thad cannot body up on Amare, if the Suns choose to exploit that match-up, it's going to be a long night. The Suns are really the only team the Sixers have faced this season with two legitimate low-post threats. Dalembert is going to have his hands full with Shaq, which means Thad on an island with Amare. I don't like the sound of that at all.

If the Sixers are going to win this game, they're going to need contributions from Ratliff and Speights, especially on the defensive end against Shaq (those contributions may be 6 fouls each, but that's still a contribution). They're going to need to punish the aging Suns on the defensive end as well. Andre Miller can muscle Nash all night long and I don't think Grant Hill could've hung with Iguodala when he was 26, ten years later, the chasm is immense.

Take advantage of the mismatches you have, figure out a way to avoid doubling Shaq and Amare, don't leave Richardson open for three, force turnovers and get out and run on every available play. Seems like a tall order, to be honest, but the Suns should be tired, so who knows.

The tip is at 7pm, I'll be here, live, so join me in the comments for in-game discussion.

Tough break for Al Jefferson and the T-Wolves, not sure if it really impacts the Sixers at all. If they were in the playoff race, maybe they'd have interest in Sammy, but it's highly doubtful at this point.

by Brian on Feb 9 2009
Tags: Basketball | Pregame | Sixers | Suns |