Everyone's favorite "young" team with gobs of upside and an ultra-cool superstar wing as recently as a year ago, suddenly finds itself kept (barely) afloat by an aging point guard with a ton of old-man moves and moxie. This one is wrought with fun matchups, let's take a look at a few.
Jrue vs. Miller - This is the reason to watch, as far as I'm concerned. Miller is the definition of a wily veteran. Jrue is learning the ropes, some nights more quickly than others. Jrue should be able to blow by Miller off the dribble, but he absolutely must stay out of foul trouble. I expect Miller to try to take him down to the blocks, where Jrue is an excellent defender, but the myriad ball-fakes Miller will utilize could put a couple early ones on the kid.
Evan Turner vs. the player people compared him to, back when Brandon Roy had knees - Roy is a shell of his former self, and signed for big money. Turner has the word bust already on the tip of his detractors' tongues. Interesting matchup, to say the least. I expect Roy to take too many shots and Turner not enough.
Iguodala vs. Iguodala Light - Batum has gotten a ton of niche publicity this season, very interested to see how he handles Iguodala, and vice versa.
Brand vs. Aldridge - If you haven't been following this blog for long, let me quickly sum up my feelings on LaMarcus Aldridge: the guy sucks. Extremely inefficient scoring big man who loves to play like a small. This season, he's cut down on his long twos a bit, but he can't finish on the inside so it all adds up to a 50.2% TS anyway. I say if he's happy taking 20-footers all night, let him. Just don't accidentally motivate him to go down in the post with Brand guarding him.
Hawes vs. everything Hawes is not - Let's just say it's a good thing Camby isn't a couple years younger, or this would be a disgusting mismatch. As it stands, it's only gross.
Lou vs. Wes Matthews - Portland gave a second-year player $32M as a restricted free agent. He's been good for them coming off the bench, but he's taking way too many threes, and only hitting 31% of them. Lou is Lou. We need Good Lou to show up and lead the charge, having him outscore Matthews would be a good start.
Prediction: Sixers 100, Blazers 85. A two-game win streak, you heard it here first.
The tip is at 7pm, game thread will be up at 5:30.