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Tee Ohh, Eh?

The Raptors bring a 7-1 record over their past eight into the Wach tonight for the Sixers first meeting with Chris Bosh-playing-out-of-his-mind-for-a-max-contract-and-a-one-way-ticket-out-of-Toronto and the rest of his defensively challenged teammates. Preview, game thread, endless angst after the jump.

Toronto is still dead-last in defensive efficiency rating, which is something I'm sure the Sixers honchos thank their lucky stars for, but the sad fact is they've played much, much better ball since Jose Calderon was injured and supplanted in the starting lineup by Jarrett Jack.

The Raptors are truly a matchup nightmare for the Sixers. Bosh can extend out to the three-point line at the four. Bargnani is a seven-foot small forward playing the five. Hedo can get his shot whenever he wants, and they have deadly three-point shooters coming off the bench.

This game will probably come down to one thing, and one thing only. Which team is hitting its shots. Neither team defends, neither team cleans the defensive glass all that well. They're both more interested in jacking up jumpers than locking people down on the defensive end. Essentially, if you were betting on these two groups of shooters in an empty gym, with no one contesting their shots, which one would you choose:

  • Lou Williams
  • Allen Iverson
  • Andre Iguodala
  • Thad Young
  • Elton Brand
  • Sam Dalembert
  • Marreese Speights
  • Willie Green

  • Jarret Jack
  • DeMar Derozan
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Chris Bosh
  • Andrea Bargnani
  • Jose Calderon
  • Marco Bellinelli
I'm pretty sure most people would choose the latter group, but you never know. Even mediocre shooting teams get hot once in a while, and even good shooting teams can have a cold night. The safe money is on Toronto, however. I'd love to say we'll see Brand and Speights putting pressure on the soft bigs of Toronto, but I doubt it'll happen with any consistency. Left on an island with Hedo, Iguodala can demoralize him, but his responsibilities to help when both Lou and Iverson get beat by their men will mean open shots for the Turk.

If there's one way the Sixers can overcome their shooting deficit, it's on the offensive glass. That's not going to happen with a small lineup, though, so we'll have to see how Eddie Jordan plays it with his rotations.

Key to The Game: Shooting percentage, both ways
If __________ the Sixers will win: I'm going with the Sixers grabbing 40% of the available offensive rebounds, that should be enough to make up for the offensive deficit.

Tip is at 7pm, this is your game thread, I'll be here throughout. Join me if you care.
by Brian on Jan 8 2010
Tags: Basketball | Chris Bosh | Previews | Sixers | Toronto Raptors |