The Sixers will make their first trip to LA to face the Clippers since poaching Elton Brand from them tonight. Unfortunately, Brand won't be there. Calling the Utah game one they should have won may have been a tad optimistic, but this one absolutely has to go the Sixers' way.
Even Accuscore thinks the Sixers are prohibitive favorites to end 2008 with a win
. ESPN's super computer is saying Philly has a 67% chance at pulling it off. When I look at the numbers, I see the same thing. After the jump we'll take a quick look at the vital stats and pick out a key or two for the game.
Here's the statistical comparison of the two teams.
As you can see, the Sixers hold the edge in just about every category. The Clippers will be without Zach Randolph, so someone else is going to have to hog the ball on offense. My best bet is Al Thornton, who has seen his numbers steadily decline throughout the season. Chris Kaman and Ricky Davis will also miss the game for the Clippers.
Expect the Clippers to be perimeter-oriented. Baron Davis is always capable of getting hot and lighting you up. Rookie Eric Gordon has shown explosive scoring ability, and he's shooting 38% from three as well, so keep an eye on him.
Only one team in the league shoots the three worse than the Clippers, the Sixers. Gordon is the only Clipper playing in the game tonight who shoots better than 30% from deep. If there was ever a game to bounce back on your three-point defense, this is it. Let's end the year on a good note, huh?
I have two sick kids at home, so I'll be here watching the game, but probably on a delay. If you're snowed in, or just in the mood for hoops on New Year's Eve, leave your thoughts in the comments. Otherwise, enjoy your night. Happy New Year.