Whether you view things as half-full or half-empty, after tonight the season will be decidedly half-over. San Antonio is a regular-season powerhouse these days, and they aren't in the habit of playing down to their opponents. The Sixers need to pick up where they left off against Toronto if they're going to have any chance at finishing the first half on a win streak.
If I had any idea how to stop the Spurs I'd share it, but short of convincing Popovich to play Stephen Jackson about 40 minutes and encouraging him to take 35 shots, I'm at a loss. For the Sixers part, they need to hope Jrue and Thad can repeat their performance from the other night, and hope the rest of the team can somehow avoid ruining everything. Actually, they'll have to do more than just staying out of the way, they're going to have to produce, at least a couple of them.
Two keys to stopping the Spurs offensively, shut down the pick-and-roll and don't allow open threes. Step one is keeping Tony Parker out of the lane. That means Jrue applying pressure early, right when he crosses half court. See if you can get the ball out of his hands early on. Make someone else the initiator. When he does get into the pick-and-roll, you can't really leave Jrue on an island against the big and Parker. You have to come with a hard hedge and impede Parker's progress, then quickly retreat and cut off the passing lane to the roller. This is something they've been terrible at this season. The communication needs to be better, and the execution needs to be flawless, at least most of the time. Splitter has killed them on these plays in the past, I'd love it if he wasn't a factor in this game.
On offense, another 30+/10+ from Jrue would help, but wouldn't be enough by itself.
The tip is at 7pm. This is your game thread. I'll be here throughout. I can't say there are many reasons to be hopeful, but I'll be watching wire-to-wire just the same. Join me.