The Sixers will head into Staples Center later tonight looking for their third-straight road win against the Clippers with wind in their sales, a spring in their step and a healthy dose of confidence. Waiting for them will be a poorly coached team with an unbelievable size advantage which will undoubtedly be exacerbated by Eddie Jordan's asinine rotations. Preview, game thread and a contest for free tickets after the jump.
About 16 hours after our GM was quoted in the Daily News as saying defense is the number one priority, the Sixers will trot out a starting lineup that matches up like this:
- Allen Iverson (6'0", 165 pounds) vs. Baron Davis (6'3", 209 pounds)
- Lou Williams (6'2", 175 pounds) vs. Eric Gordon (6'3", 222 pounds)
- Andre Iguodala (6'6", 207 pounds) vs. Al Thornton (6'8", 220 pounds)
- Thaddeus Young (6'8", 220 pounds) vs. Marcus Camby (6'11", 220 pounds)
- Sam Dalembert (6'11", 250 pounds) vs. Chris Kaman (7'0", 268 pounds)
Then we get into the subs. Brand (6'8", 275 pounds) will most likely come in for Dalembert, meaning he'll have a 4-inch height deficit to keep off the glass and get his shot up over. Speights may come in for Thad early on, meaning a guy who can't spell box out will be tasked with keeping a guy averaging 12.8 boards/36 minutes off the glass.
The only chance we have at even competing on the boards is to play Brand and Dalembert shoulder to shoulder. Jordan has avoided that lineup up front like the plague, however. Camby and Kaman combined for 33 rebounds when the teams met less than two weeks ago in Philly.
The size disadvantage continues into LA's bench as well. Mardy Collins (6'6", 220 pounds) will sub into the back court and run the point. Rasual Butler (6'7", 205 pounds) will spend time at the two. In short, the Clippers will enjoy size mismatches all night long. The only thing, in my mind, that's going to determine the outcome of this game is whether Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy chooses to exploit these gross size mismatches. We saw it a little bit in Portland, we saw more of it last night in Sacramento, it's going to become a trend quickly as word gets out and coaches don't spend the first quarter figuring out that Allen Iverson is covering a small forward because Andre Iguodala has to switch onto the opposing team's PG because neither Philly guard has a prayer.
Here we stand, off back-to-back wins fueled by excellent shooting. It doesn't really matter how you get to the corner, all that matters is that you get there and turn it. Maybe the players will decide they like the feeling of winning and they'll take the games out of Eddie Jordan's hands. Maybe they'll put the focus on defense themselves, no matter which ridiculous lineup Jordan trots out there. It's possible. The Clippers are an extremely beatable team. Maybe tonight they put it all together and then a depleted Denver team doesn't quite look as intimidating on Saturday night.
I don't think this is how it's going to play out, but three-in-a-row is not out of the question. One thing is for sure, I'll be here, watching, suffering, fuming and maybe even celebrating.
Key to The Game: Size mismatches, how do they compensate, does Dunleavy punish them.
If ____________ The Sixers will win: More than 200 Sixers fans nationwide actually tune in
This is your game thread. The tip is apparently at 9:30pm, meaning the game will end right around the stroke of midnight. Believe it or not, I'll be here throughout. (When you have two infants, you celebrate New Year's in the afternoon.)
I've got a deal for you guys, if you're home and watching, I'll reward you for participation in the thread. The first two people to post at least one comment in every quarter of the game get a free ticket to a game later in the season.
If you can't make it, check back tomorrow for a full recap. Otherwise, enjoy and be safe, guys. A new year starts tomorrow, hopefully the Sixers will close 2009 with a 37-46 record.