I'm looking forward to seeing Iguodala match up with LeBron. I'm looking forward to significant minutes for Jrue. I'm looking forward to seeing Thad Young go to work on JJ Hickson. I'm always excited to see LeBron play, the guy is a special, special player. The one thing I just can't stand is all the douchery that goes along with watching the Cleveland Cavaliers play.
The Cavs are a very, very good basketball team. Personally, I don't think adding Shaq has made them better, but Parker and Moon have helped on the wings. They should make some noise in the playoffs this year, but at some point this season some opponent is going to pick up the torch from Joakim Noah and put an end to this dancing on the bench nonsense:
I would say I'd like to see the Sixers be the ones to do it, but they've got enough things to worry about in this matchup, leave the comeuppance for someone else.
Let's just do a quick strengths/weaknesses:
- Cleveland: 41.9% from three (2nd in league)
- Philadelphia: 41.7% allowed from three (last in league)
- Cleveland: 76.4% defensive rebounding rate (2nd in league)
- Philadelphia: 29.6% offensive rebounding rate (3rd in the league)
- Cleveland: 24.6% offensive rebounding rate (25th in the league)
- Philadelphia: 71.1% defensive rebounding rate (28th in the league)
The other splits are probably what's going to decide this game. Can Cleveland keep up their excellent defensive rebounding numbers with the Sixers crashing the offensive glass? Probably, but it depends on which lineup Philly uses. On the other end, Cleveland isn't very good on the offensive glass, but the Sixers are horrible at securing defensive rebounds.
Mo Williams and Anthony Parker will both be challenging matchups for Jrue (assuming he's starting in the back court with Iverson). Neither is much of a threat to penetrate, but they both love to spot up for jumpers. He needs to stick to his man when the ball is in LeBron's hands especially.
I hope we don't see one of Iguodala's "muscle up" games on the offensive end, where he seemingly tries to prove his worth next to LeBron. We need him on the defensive end more than anything, and honestly there are much more favorable matchups for the Sixers on the offensive end. Play D, get in the open floor and finish, when you get the ball, drive to the hole consistently. We don't need Iguodala settling for 20-footers tonight, not that we ever really do.
Cleveland is playing the second night of a back-to-back, but they basically cruised to their 10-point win over the Nets last night and only LeBron and Mo Williams played more than 27 minutes. Their legs should be fine and I don't see the back-to-back as enough of a factor to pull these teams close enough for the Sixers to steal a win. I fully expect to see some energy early, possibly a lead into the second half, but an eventual loss. Their pride will probably keep them in it, but at some point Cleveland will step on that. The final score will be dictated by when that shift happens.
It'll be interesting to track the minutes for the Sixers bigs. Especially if Marreese Speights does make his return. Here's my best guess:
Center: Dalembert 30, Brand 18
PF: Thad 35, Speights 10, Iguodala 3
Key to The Game: Three point line.
If _________ the Sixers will win: Iverson reverse-ages about 10 years and drops 40 pts on efficient shooting. (actually, even that probably wouldn't do it.)
This is your game thread, I'll be here throughout so join me to cringe whenever LeBron does something for dramatic effect.