The formula was pretty simple on Saturday night. Set the tone with the starters, build a lead with defense, then trade baskets with the subs. If you want to get more granular, when you can't run, play through Elton Brand in the post. Question is, can they do it again?
One is a fluke. Two is a coincidence. Three, now that's a streak. Is it possible the Sixers could rip off their first three-gamer of the season tonight against the Pacers? It just might be.
I was impressed with the Sixers determination to exploit Elton Brand's mismatch in Saturday night's game, and I'm really curious to see whether they'll go right back to it tonight, and if they do, how Jim O'Brien will react. My guess is that the doubles will come quickly, meaning the Sixers are going to have to maintain their spacing and move the ball to keep ahead of the help rotations. Pretty much exactly what opposing offenses have been doing with great success against Philly this season.
Again, the matchup to watch is Granger vs. Iguodala. Granger won the scoring battle last game, but was forced into 7 turnovers including three offensive fouls drawn by Iguodala himself. On the offensive end, Iguodala seemed content to take a back seat to Brand. He sat on the perimeter and drained a trio of threes. He did generate 7 transition points with his defensive work, however.
Another game with a good starting lineup, another game against a sub-par opponent. I'm calling it a win.
Key to the Game: The second unit. I think the starters have a significant advantage and should build up a lead. If the bench can continue to score the ball well enough to offset their defensive efficiencies, it'll be a win.
If ____________ the Sixers will win: This is kind of out of left field, but I'm going to say fewer than 18 shots for Iverson. After playing well in his first 14 games, Iverson has thrown up clunkers in his last four. On Saturday, he attempted 16 shots in only 27 minutes and turned the ball over 3 times (he actually has as many assists as turnovers over the stretch. 14). He needs to calm down a little bit and get back to the unselfish, efficient game he was playing when he first returned.
This is your game thread, I'll be here throughout. Join me if you're crossing your fingers that you'll be able to get home and relax without having to read about your favorite team giving away their best player for nothing (you're still welcome to join even if you want Iguodala to be traded).