The 16-46 Oklahoma City Thunder will play host to the Sixers tonight without their budding superstar, Kevin Durant. Their second-leading scorer, Jeff Green, is also questionable. Green missed last night's game with back problems. Needless to say, this is a golden opportunity for the Sixers to finish off a sweep of this quick two-game road trip. After the jump we'll take a look at the stats, the strategy and have the in-game discussion.
The Sixers have statistical advantages pretty much across the board, and the absence of Durant and possibly Green as well makes this a clear mismatch. Simply put, this game must be a win, and if it's even close, I'll be disappointed.
The key to the game has to be how the Sixers will defend Russell Westbrook. Last night, Westbrook scored 24 against the Hornets. I assume they'll start Willie on him, then probably use Miller and Ivey throughout the game. If the game is close late, which it really shouldn't be, Iguodala should get the call. Westbrook is only a 40.5% shooter from the floor, and 28% from three, but he's a freakish athlete who can get into the paint at will. He can make a living from the line where he shoots 82%.
If you're worried about this being the second night of a back-to-back, here are the minutes logged by key Sixers last night:
Iguodala - 43
Miller - 34
Thad - 30
Sammy - 25
DiLeo pretty much had to ride Iguodala last night, when he sat the Grizzlies destroyed the Sixers, but he did manage to keep Miller's minutes down. Again, let's hope this one isn't close enough where heavy minutes from the important guys are needed.
Play a smart game, utilize the mismatches, and methodically take care of OKC. A win tonight would move the Sixers back into 6th place, and pull them within a game and a half of Miami for the number five seed.
The tip is at 7pm, I'll be here, live, so join me for the in-game discussion.
Also check out After The Lightning for the Thunder perspective.