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Are the Stars Aligned?

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When a team crosses the country dragging a 13-game road losing streak along with them, they'll take whatever luck the schedule-makers can throw their way. Tonight, the Sixers will face a Clippers squad who played (and lost) in Sacramento last night, and saw their most important pieces play heavy minutes.

Last night's Clippers' debacle may be a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Chris Paul played 44 minutes and Blake Griffin logged 38. On the other, the Clips blew a lead heading into the fourth quarter and had their doors absolutely blown off in the final 12 minutes to the tune of 38-18. They should be angry. While the Sixers did have yesterday off, they did have to travel across the country. That's a shorter turnaround than you'd prefer.

In the grand scheme of things, winning and losing doesn't matter much. We shouldn't expect a win. If you can ignore the situation and fool yourself into thinking the Sixers are jostling for playoff seeding, rather than jostling for the right to draft a journeyman in the lottery, the six-game stretch they find themselves in the midst of is really brutal. Six straight vs. playoff teams including the back-to-back that starts tonight in LA and concludes tomorrow night in Denver (against another team with an active double-digit win streak). If they were in the playoff hunt, I probably would've said 3-3 over the stretch would be a great outcome. 4-2 might actually be a possibility at this point.

Hidden in the middle of probably the worst stretch of Sixers basketball in the past decade was an absolute throttling at the hands of this Clippers team almost six weeks ago. The Clips came into the WFC and encountered zero resistance from the Sixers defense. It was a dunking exhibition, it was a 24-minute walk in the park for Chris Paul who put up a double-double in half a game. The first Orlando loss was Doug Collins' watershed moment, but that game wasn't half as embarrassing as what the Clips did to the Sixers. You'd hope that memory lingers and serves as extra motivation tonight (at least you'd hope that if you wanted the Sixers to win).

In terms of on-court performance. Push the pace, if you can. At the very least, push the ball up the floor at every opportunity. It would be nice if Turner could outplay Wilkins, but I'm not holding my breath. Jrue needs to take extra care of the ball. Chris Paul is not a good defender, but he's got the quickest hands you'll ever see. Leave the ball in a bad place for a second and he's going to steal it. Use your size, and your brain, and you can take advantage of his tired legs. Griffin can't spell defense. If Jrue can match CP3's points and Thad can match Griffin's, the Sixers have a chance.

The tip is at 10:30pm. This is your game thread. I'll be here throughout, join me if you just can't let the dream die! (Or if you want to see if DeAndre Jordan will block one of Turner's shots with his knee).
by Brian on Mar 20 2013
Tags: Basketball | Los Angeles Clippers | Sixers |