The Sixers will continue their hunt for win number one tonight in their home opener. In their sights, the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, I can't come up with a third hunting reference to fit....wait....Brandon Jennings will be making his first career start at the point, hopefully he'll look like a deer in the headlights! There it is. Preview and game thread after the jump.
Tonight is the final opener of the season, the home opener. If you're interested, you can snag floor seats on StubHub for $230. There are plenty of seats available through the box office. It's a shame, but the excitement level is definitely down, there's no getting around it. Only one thing is going to swing that pendulum the other way: Playing good basketball and winning games. Hopefully, the Sixers will take advantage of a weak Bucks team to get the ball moving in the right direction.
Milwaukee had a ton of turnover in the offseason, and they also got their two highest-paid players back from injury. Here's a look at the matchups:
- C: Bogut vs. Dalembert
- PF: Brand vs. Kurt Thomas
- SF: Mbah a Moute vs. Thad Young
- SG: Redd vs. Iguodala
- PG: Jennings vs. WIlliams
Matchups like this make me smile and be thankful that the Sixers at least chose the correct starting lineup. Michael Redd is capable of dropping 30, and I would've fully expected him to do so in his return from myriad injuries, had Willie Green drawn his name as a defensive assignment. But with Iguodala on him, I expect Redd to be a non-factor. Bogut has had decent games against the Sixers in the past, and he's got the bulk to move Sammy around a little bit on the blocks, but I believe the key on defense tonight is going to be Lou Williams on Brandon Jennings.
Jennings is making his first start as a rookie and Lou Williams is coming off a helpless effort against Jameer Nelson and Jason Williams in Orlando. If Lou can't impede Jennings' path to the hole, which I'm pretty confident he won't be able to do, Jennings is going to use his lightning quickness to breakdown the defense. Luckily, Redd is the only shooter the Bucks have on their roster and we have Iguodala on him, still, expect open looks if the point-of-attack is exposed again.
Kurt Thomas is a mid-range jumper kind of guy at this point of his career, so we need Brand to extend out to him on defense. Luckily, his range doesn't extend to three. Hakim Warrick torched the Sixers last season in Memphis, and he's playing for a contract, in his hometown, so expect energy from him.
Overall, the Sixers outclass Milwaukee on talent. They should be a much, much, much better defensive team. This game needs to be a win. Let's just hope Elton Brand doesn't fall for a Luc Mbah A Moute ball fake this time.
Key to the game: Perimeter defense.
If ________ happens, the Sixers will win: Brandon Jennings turns the ball over 5 times.
Thoughts in the comments, this is your game thread.