I know how you're going to try to talk yourself into thinking the Sixers are going to win tonight. It's going to start with, "Well, we just beat them a couple weeks ago." Well, that argument simply doesn't hold water. The only reason we beat them on Nov. 18th is 42 unbelievable minutes from Elton Brand. Tonight, he won't even be a starter. It'll take serious foul trouble for someone to even get him 30 minutes. There really isn't much hope at all. Quick preview and game thread after the jump.
Unless something drastic happens (Like Eddie Jordan being [a] lobotomized or [b] fired), the Sixers will trot out the same starting lineup we've seen for the past two games: Jrue Holiday, Willie Green, Andre Iguodala, Thad Young, Elton Brand and Sam Dalembert. Now I want you to take a look at the lineup Charlotte started last night against the Nets:
- PG: Raymond Felton
- SG: Stephen Jackson
- SF: Gerald Wallace
- PF: Boris Diaw
- C: Tyson Chandler
If we had a coach who cared about defensive matchups, he'd realize we're going to get absolutely murdered on the glass. He'd also realize that either Jrue or Willie is going to have to guard a 6'8", highly-skilled shooting guard in Stephen Jackson. I actually think Jrue has a decent shot to at least put up a fight against Jackson, but that means Willie will be "guarding" the ball, and he has absolutely no shot whatsoever of keeping Felton out of the lane. I'm expecting another pitiful defensive performance against the #28 ranked offense (in offensive efficiency). The last time these teams met, with the big lineup and Elton Brand going bonkers with 6 blocks, Jordan's system still underperformed relative to Charlotte's season offensive rating. The small lineups will be abused tonight, you can write that down.
It's not all bad news heading into the game, though. In fact, I'm looking forward to this game much than I am Iverson's debut on Monday night. Why, you ask? Well, I fully expect tonight to be our last chance to see 25+ minutes of Jrue in the 2009-2010 season. I'm looking forward to that more than anything.
When Iverson comes back, Jrue immediately drops to the role Royal Ivey's been playing since the Lou Williams injury. When Lou comes back I fully expect the DNPCDs to start piling up again, no matter what lip service Ed Stefanski is giving to the contrary. The fact of the matter is, Eddie Jordan doesn't like the kid, maybe he doesn't despise him as he does Elton Brand, but he's pretty high on Jordan's list of "players who defend, so I don't like them." Soak it in tonight, Jrue fans.
Key to the Game: Null. They're going to lose unless Brand is just unbelievably pissed off at coming off the bench and goes off for like 40/20 in his 25 minutes of work.
If ____________________ the Sixers will win: Eddie Jordan has to leave the team for an emergency adjustment to his braces.
This is your game thread, I'll be here. What should we track in the comments tonight? Maybe something positive this time, tracking Willie abuse was a bit perverse last time.