The Sixers will bring their left coast trip to end tonight at 8pm in Denver. The Nuggets will represent the third team facing serious injury problems on the trip, with both Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony listed as questionable. A quick preview and a (hopefully) long game thread after the jump.
Good news and bad news regarding Billups' absence. The bad, Lawson won't have much of a problem getting into the lane. If the Sixers were a smart defensive team and/or spent any time scouting, they'd realize Lawson isn't much of a threat to finish in the lane. He shoots only 52.7% at the rim and he has an amazing 13.4% of his field goal attempts from anywhere blocked. There's no reason to collapse the entire defense and help with four defenders to stop a guy who can't really finish, but we all know they will. JR Smith, expect J.R. Smith and Aaron Afflalo to be the main beneficiaries of the Sixers pitiful rotations and scheme.
The good news about having Lawson in the starting lineup is that he's going to be guarding either Iverson, Lou Williams or Jrue Holiday. All mismatches. Will the Sixers take advantage? Doubtful. They tend to avoid taking advantage of mismatches instead content to take long jumpers, but you never know.
Nene presents a tough matchup for Sammy, given his strength and tenacity on the offensive glass. Of course, it doesn't make much sense to analyze Sammy's matchup considering it'll be a miracle if he plays more than 20 minutes.
If you can't tell already, my faith in this organization is waning by the day, plus I'm writing this at the half of the Eagles game, so I'm lower than usual. I'll bounce back by game time and hope to see you guys in the game thread.
Key to the game: Stopping penetration, covering Smith and Afflalo beyond the arc.
If __________ the Sixers will win: I'm going to go with a strong game from Thad. He's been MIA for most of this trip.
This is your game thread, I'll be here throughout. Join me if you dare.