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Don't Be Afraid

Pretty good comparison. I'd say their two LAC wins, and the LAL win (no Bynum but had Kobe/Gasol, sort of like Miami without Wade) are three better wins than any we've had. But agreed they've had a lot of meaningless wins.

Bulls still aren't that impressive to me (I thought Heat were clearly better going into the playoffs last year, and I still feel that way). Should be an interesting game, in many ways (including what happens to Turner after the towel incident).

They only beat the Clippers once.

Ah gotcha, misread that.

Victory is inevitable

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Dwight on Feb 1 at 0:32
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The Bulls are a good team and definitely the best team in the Eastern conference as of right now.

However, I really like how we match up with them (when Spence is healthy):

Jrue has always been solid against Rose. Rose scores but our rotation D has been good at making him force turnovers.

Iggy is dominant against perimeter offensive players like Deng.

Brand is only bad when the other power forward can shoot from the perimeter or has a big size advantage. Boozer is none of those.

And Noah's big weakness is shooters like Spence. He's not good at staying with his guy on D.

And most importantly, Collins came up with a gameplan that essentially allowed Miami to beat Rose in the ECF. He decided to double team Rose when he crosses half court. This strategy has worked well for the Sixers against Rose.

But here are the 2 things that scare me (besides Rose):

Rip Hamilton. He's the big difference from last year. Here's a smart savvy shooting guard who can really punish smaller guards like Meeks. The Sixers may not be able to double Rose like they did last time because of Hamilton.

Offensive rebounding by Boozer, Noah, Gibson, and Asik. These guys, especially Noah, rule the boards.

Rip missed the last game, and he really hasn't been good at all this season. Taking a lot of shots and not scoring efficiently at all. I worry more about Korver getting open threes than Rip getting open 22-footers.

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marcus on Feb 1 at 1:01
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IMO I think the heat are the best team in the Eastern not the bulls even if the records say otherwise. This is off topic but people are saying the Blake dunk is the best dunk they ever saw I think its due to hype I remember Vince Carter jumping literally over a 7 footer in the Olympics a few years back I think that was more impressive than what Blake did. I believe the sixers can pull it off against the bulls I wish hawes was playing though.

But, um, you yourself don't believe in this team! Top point differential in the league, but you admit you don't think we're a contender, or that we could even just make it to the Finals and get swept. In fact, you don't even expect us to make the conference Finals. But I'm pretty sure you do believe in Chicago, and believe that its record does reflect the kind of team it will be at the end of the regular season and in the playoffs. No way you don't think they're a top 2 team in the conference and top 4 team in the league. So what are you complaining about?

Besides, Chicago has really only played contenders three times this year - the Lakers and Clippers, dark horses to be sure but teams that certainly have a shot at upsetting OKC, after which anything could happen, and the Heat - and they've won two of those games. They also split two games with Atlanta, a non-contender, they lost a game to Indiana, a good team that gave them trouble last year before they were this good, split two games with Memphis, probably a playoff team in the West but definitely not a team that's going places (and they won the game where Memphis had its star). So I don't see anything to be concerned about if I'm Chicago. They basically played their biggest rival to a draw on the road, beat the next best two contenders they played, split games against 2 of the 3 playoff non-contenders they faced, and lost a game to a team they have problems with. Plus the wins against the Celtics and Magic, both playoff teams. Now the Sixers have played one real contender, one quasi-contender (I can't count out Denver with their offense and this fluky season), beaten three non-contender playoff teams at home (IND, ORL, ATL), and lost to every single non-contender playoff team they've faced on the road (POR, UTH, NYK), and I'm not even sure those last three are all playoff teams. You can throw in our home win against a sub-.500 playoff team Bucks if you like. So what can one take from that? We're winless against contenders, were destroyed by our best opponent, beat non-contending playoff teams at home and lose to them on the road, always. Well, it sounds like a recipe for success in the first round if we can remain a top four seed, but beyond that, if I looked at that record and knew nothing else, I'd predict a second round defeat. Which is what you expect too. If I look at Chicago's record, I think that's probably a team that's better than any team in its conference but Miami, and maybe just as good as them. I have a hard team picturing us, or Indiana, or even Miami, or even OKC for that matter, beating both the Lakers and Clippers on the road in the same week.

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Rich reply to Tray on Feb 1 at 1:30
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Chicago's great, that's for sure. I will say though, they really should have lost LAL without Bynum. Kobe giftwrapped that game with a horrible turnover. It was a win, and Rose came up huge down the stretch, but they were outplayed for pretty much all of that game.

Actually, I like the Bulls because they defend and I think they have a pretty good shot at making the finals, but I also think the Sixers would have a decent chance of beating them in a 7-game series. They can be defended, even when they're playing well, you can defend them and you can beat them. When Miami's playing well, you can't stop them. If they ever figure out how to play team ball with LeBron, Wade and Bosh on the floor at the same time, they're going to run right through the playoffs. Luckily, LeBron and Wade are more interested in keeping their numbers up and slapping each other on the ass for alley oops than figuring out why the team is better when one of them is out.

And beating the Lakers and Clips on the road in the same week might mean something right now. In the first week of the season when Bynum was out and they had a new coach and new system in LA and CP3 had played three games for the Clips. It doesn't mean a whole lot, especially not with the loss to the Warriors sandwiched in between.

Thad was a madman against the Bulls last year, and as good as their 4 man big rotation is, they had trouble with him on both ends of the floor last year. Really, Gibson is the only guy on the team who has a prayer of keeping him under control if he's attacking. If he's making his jumpers, then he's really tough.

Hawes really struggled with their active front line last year on the boards. I'm not sure this would be the game to send him back even if he were healthy.

The key to those two wins were probably Jrue's two-way effort against Rose. I remember Rose have big nights, but really having to work for his points. I really respect Rose, and some nights when he's maiking floaters and threes, well he's unguardable. To use a baseball analogy, I feel that with Jrue, the Sixers can sort of pitch to him. He's defendable, and you can make him work. The only guys that really I feel the Sixers can't defend are Durant (For some reason, he's Andre's jump-shooting kyptonite), LeBron (Really should be against every team, but sometimes he defends himself pretty well), and Howard. I've seen our backup bigs and EB step up in a huge way against Howard. Now it's Jrue's turn to become a stopper.

Really looking forward to this one, win or lose. It's a really good team that the Sixers are playing tonight. It's also a very winnable game.

Personally, I would add Dirk to that list (at least the Dirk of previous seasons).

Cousins had one of his better games of the year. 21 and 14, 15 shots + 7 FTA, 1 foul, 2 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers. It gets him to a .505 TS% on the season and .533 TS% for the month after the disastrous start - not so good, hardly Blatchesque either, esp. with the league's third highest rebounding percentage.

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Court_visioN reply to Tray on Feb 1 at 2:31
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hang on, real quick. why are you updating us on Cousins all the time? How many of us care about him to the extent where we need a game-by-game breakdown of him?

an actual question, not meant to be critical.

ok, maybe a little.

He doesn't give an update every game, only when Cousins has a good game. So really like one out of every dozen games or so.

great post Brian, except I think a 7 game series vs Chicago would result in another 4-1 exit, they would destroy us under the glasses I'm afraid, and Rose would average close to a triple double.
I am (was?) a Rip Hamilton fan but dude lost 2-3 steps, he was kinda embarassing in the Miami game honestly.
(Also a free throw shooting contest between Rose and Iguodala down the stretch would be "fun"...)

present FT %:

Rose .866 (best of career)
Iguodala .631 (worst of career)

Even Annie Oakley missed 2 in a row once.

Actually, I read somewhere that Rose was 29-for-29 in 4th-quarter free throws prior to those two misses. Whereas Iguodala is 9-for-22 this year in the 4th quarter. So yes, it would be an ugly contest.

thx for the stats but that was only a reference to the Heat game of course. Btw inteersting how Rose % numbers are constantly increasing over the years, while Ig is falling at an alarming rate. So much for the "work ethic" crap I often hear about Iguodala

So much for the "work ethic" crap I often hear about Iguodala

I don't have an explanation for the free throw problems (which are truly indefensible), but Iguodala has gotten better at many other aspects of his game over the years.

For example, many criticized him for his propensity for turnovers earlier in his career, but he cut that way down last year, to the point that he had a historically good year passing. Under some criteria, it was the best ever passing year for a forward in basketball-reference.com's database (going back to 85-86).

As another example, his opponent production number (defensive PER) on 82games.com was the best in the league (among starters) last year. One might argue about the relative meaning of that metric, but the fact that he was the best in the league at any metric is pretty impressive (to me, at least).

This year, though his scoring and free throw shooting are down, his defensive rebounds per minute, rebounds per minute, steals per minute, and 3-point percentage are all at career high levels.

So to say that the notion that Iguodala works hard at his game is "crap" is only looking at things through the narrow prism of free throw shooting. There is more to basketball than free throw shooting.

Don't "R.I.P." for Rip yet:

"All signs point to Bulls resting Hamilton until he fully recovers from the deep right thigh bruise and lingering left groin issues he has battled.

Hamilton guarded Dwyane Wade effectively Sunday, giving a glimpse of his importance come playoff time. Hamilton also has averaged 20.6 points in 120 career postseason games. But he admitted to feeling like he was 'playing on one leg' after that game."

- K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune, 2/1/12

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Rich reply to Dollar Bill on Feb 1 at 11:38
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If they are expecting him to slow down Wade over a 7 game series, they better hope he's recovering from another injury.

Slow down, not stop, the task. Only one who can stop Dwyane is Lebron.

good news on Rip then, thx for the update. I honestly hope he fully recovers because I didn't like what I saw in that game. I also have him in my fantasy team so I need him healthy :-)

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Spencer for hire on Feb 1 at 7:29
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I picked Chicago to win the east and still believe they will. Brewer seems to be playing well this season and Boozer is the key. He will make Bosh defend at least.

Didn't Rose miss some games this year also, what if our best player,Iggy, missed the same amount? That being said, the way our team defends allows us to beat any N.B.A. team now and that can't be discounted.

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Spencer for hire on Feb 1 at 8:11
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Another interesting eastern conference injury last night; G.Hill probably lost for the year with an ankle injury.

Interesting comment by Elton on the M.Missanelli show yesterday; " the team has started calling L.Allen Bam Bam ." That, hopefully, is a nickname he earns throughout his career.

Hahaha. Isn't little bam bam the 5 year old kid who could do 100 pushups?

He carried a very big club too

Great article, Brian. I hadn't really paid attention to the teams Chicago was beating (and losing to) only watching the wins pile up. Thanks for the breakdown/reality check.

Well written, but no, I don't buy it, the Sixers are not as good as the Bulls...you can only play the teams in front of you (and the Bulls SOS is 451 the sixers is 407), the Bulls are better than the sixers, all I'm looking for is a close game

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Steve V reply to GoSixers on Feb 1 at 10:48
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I don't think Brian was saying the Sixers are as good as the Bulls, I think he was just saying the Sixers deserve more credit for beating, and dominating, the teams that are put in front of us, which is all they can do and deserve credit for doing so.

I'm not drinking the cool-aid, but over the past 87 games the Sixers are 53-34. That is a 61% win percentage and translates into exactly a 50 win team in a full season.

So you can either discount their hot start or say that they are trending upwards. But either way, I see the Bulls vs Sixers as essentially a 50 win team against a 60 win team. So a good team vs a contender.

In that type of match-up either team can win in a given night. but over a 7 game series the 60 win team should win out unless they happen to match-up poorly in some way.

Here's a question for you. If this Sixers team gets Indiana in the first round and Atlanta in the second round, can they make it to the ECF?

And how do you see that happening

Which team, chicago or miami do you see the hawks beating as a 7/8

Miami and Chicago will be the 1/2 seeds

Yeah, their would have to be a surpise 1st round upset for the Sixers to avoid either Miami or the Bulls in the 2nd round.

So the question is, can the Sixers get past the Bulls or Miami in the second round?

Not as far as I'm concerned

(Current playoff seedings, sixers are 4th because atlanta has a better record, play the pacers, then the bulls are currently the one seed)

The only way Brians idea really comes to pass is if somehow the sixers/hawks finish 2/3 in the conference, which I find unlikely.

I was asking because beating Indy and ATL in the playoffs last season is the reason the Bulls are considered true contenders.

Having the best record in basketball over the past 1.25 seasons has something to do with it.

I suppose it goes hand in hand. Best record, you get cake matchups in the first round of the playoffs. I do think the Sixers could've beaten both of those teams in the playoffs last year. Gotta get a top seed.

Oh come on - you're not tray - you're not that simplistic - and you know it

If they lose in five to Miami in the first round instead of the third, what's the story line on them heading into this season? Conversely, if the Sixers get the Pacers/Hawks last year instead of Miami in the first, and make it to the ECF, how many people are completely dismissing this dominant play over the first 30% of this season?

Oh - I don't know - maybe they still have one of the best young point guards in the game and the reigning MVP - a better roster top to the bottom than the sixers - and a great young coach whos still learning how to be a better coach.

You're simplifying it to fit your argument that the sixers are 'contenders' - and they aren't -

The sixers wouldn't have beat the pacers and hawks in last years playoffs - sorry - they just wouldn't have.

I suppose you think the thunder are only contenders cause of their playoff performance last year?

Come on - that's just really beneath you.

The bulls are better than the sixers, not JUST because of playoff performance last year - and you know it too

I'm not talking about which team is better, I'm talking about perception. The Sixers are a good team, a very good team, based on their play this season. The perception is that they are not a good team because they lost in the first round of the playoffs and people keep saying they haven't beaten anyone, then they find a reason to discount the win whenever they do beat a good team.

The Bulls have performed pretty much on the same level as the Sixers this season, and have had similar difficulty with good teams, yet the perception is that they're one of the best teams in the league based on their record, which is equally inflated by less demonstrative wins over bad teams. The Bulls record is valid, where the Sixers record is not. I'm wondering if that perception would hold if the playoff success last season was reversed (and it's hardly out of the realm of possibility that the Sixers could've beaten Indy and ATL. Neither of those teams was clearly on a higher level than the Sixers last year).

That's great - that's the perception - i don't really give a crap about perception - here's what i know - with my own brain

Can the sixers beat the bulls in a 7 game series - no
Can the sixers beat the heat in a 7 game series - no

Can the bulls beat the heat in a 7 games series - maybe - if everyone is healthy

WHo cares what the perception is - perception is what the masses think - or are told to think by the gits at ESPN

If you ignore the perception - the bulls are better than the sixers - period

Actually, that's just your perception. You don't know anything.

Absolutely it's my perception - and really - that's what matters to me - who gives a shit what other people think (about anything) as long as you believe in your perception

Better at point guard
If Deng is healthy he can defend as well as Iguodala and has a better shot
Better 4 and 5 depth
Comparable though different benches

To me the bulls are clearly better than the sixers - what you - or anyone else thinks - doesn't really affect that - and really - who gives a damn what other people think - all that matters is what you think

If you think the sixers can beat the bulls or heat in a 7 game series - more power to you - i think you're deluded - but more power to you

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FreeMattCord reply to GoSixers on Feb 1 at 18:56
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I dont think you understand the word "can"

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Rich reply to Brian on Feb 1 at 12:32
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I'm with you on this one. The Bulls are a very good team and have shown some regular season chops , but their playoffs last year weren't that impressive. I think it goes hand in hand with people overrating the Pacers' 1st Round performance, though they are better this year .

A footnote from Simmons' latest article on grantland

Regarding potential trade partners for Orlando's Howard:

Here's my vote: Howard, Hedo Turkoglu's contract atrocity ($34.8 million through 2014) and the Duhon/Richardson cap-cloggers for Elton Brand (expires next year), Evan Turner, Andres Nocioni's Expiring Contract, Spencer Hawes and no. 1 picks in 2012 and 2014. Howard, Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday, Nikola Vucevic, Jodie Meeks … now that's a potential rebounding/defense/transition menace!

The dream lives on!

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raro reply to raro on Feb 1 at 10:59
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Except I've read that Hawes is basically untradeable because of his restricted status?

He has to approve any trade involving him because if he's traded he gives up his 'bird rights' status as an unrestricted free agent...which shouldn't really matter because the sixers aren't stupid enough to sign him long term when it's clear that even with his 'hot start' - he's not exactly integral, he's been replaced by an old guy, a first round pick no one expected much from and a second round flyer some people were surprised to see make the roster

I like how Bill Simmons proposes trades that won't happen and not for the reason everyone thinks.

Spencer Hawes would veto that trade.

The Sixers are in position to make a trade that would interest Orlando. The problem really is that they would not consider making a move that takes back so much crap without having Howard sign an extension.

Given the Sixers would be cp-locked and without picks, would they win any rings with:

Jrue
Iguodala
Turk
Thad
Howard

bench: Lou, Meeks, Duhon, Q, Voose

I'm not sure that line-up gets it done. Also, do you start meeks and put Turk on the bench?

Have you seen Turk play this year? It's not pretty

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bebopdeluxe on Feb 1 at 11:00
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I'll be there tonight behind the basket. Can't wait.

Joining the Revolutionaries, are you? Will yiou be the guy in the green suit?

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bebopdeluxe reply to tk76 on Feb 1 at 12:59
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Ha.

I will be dressed as the 51-year-old father of two boys who will be embarassing they by yelling at Carlos Boozer ("Hey, Carlos...Gordon Gund says 'fuck you' from the grave...")...

I was actually pretty psyched to get seats for this game behind the basket - 6th row...taking my two teenage boys (perhaps that why I was able to get these seats...sometimes you can find some funky 3's when you ask for tickets).

Hoping to get those blue bangy-thingies...and hoping for a win.

Have a great time. Did you get them from through the Sixers or on StubHub?

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bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Feb 1 at 13:13
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Got 'em on Sixers.com the morning single-game tickets went on sale...got virtually the same tickets (a seat or two over...same row) for the Thunder game as well.

Should be fun to walk through the boards onto the wood.

It may actually be a blessing that the team got sloppy at the end of the game on Monday...Collins got to get up their azz afterwards...I would think they will be VERY focused tonight.

Let's hope that Turner sacks up against his hometown team...my guess is Collins will give him that chance (just a hunch).

Oh - not a big surprise you're one of those fans

One of those fans? A guy who takes his kids to the game and wants to enjoy himself? You need to take a pill or something, or just stop commenting until you calm down a little.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Feb 1 at 13:16
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Thanks for having my back, bro, but jem and I go a l-o-o-n-g way back...it's no biggie.

Actually, I don't think he meant anything nasty by it...just giving me some friendly shit.

(right, jem?)

Whatever you say - of course I might ahve been referring to the fuck you comment - you never know - i might have no respect for people who think buying tickets to a sporting event allows them to behave in a way they wouldn't behave in in other places, especially in front of their children.

You think he'd say the same thing to boozer if he saw him in a public arena - i think not

Guess one of the reasons that certain players don't want to play in philadelphia

Because of fans who think cursing a guy out is ok at a game just because he can't do anything about it.

It's being a troll

But if it's ok with you - that's good - i hope your kids get to see you curse a player out at a game some time

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bebopdeluxe reply to GoSixers on Feb 1 at 13:20
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John:

Along with tk and Derek, you know me about as well as anybody on this board. Based on what you know of me, do you actually think I would yell that? Huh?

I was making a JOKE.

I can't believe I actually wrote that reply to Brian...what an idiot I am.

Actually, no I wouldn't put it past you based on the amount of insults you've flung towards me (and others) in the past.

And honestly, I think it's one of the most pathetic things a human being can do (and I'm shocked brian thought i was talkinga bout the tickets - i won't get into it because it's not appropriate - but my background and history if you knew it actually would tell you that taking your kids to the game, any game, is one of the coolest things I think a dad can do)

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bebopdeluxe reply to GoSixers on Feb 1 at 13:28
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The insults that I have flung at you in the past (and they have primarily been in the past...for the most part our interactions on this forum have been downright chummy) were because you can be a SELF-CENTERED ASSHOLE on forums like this (and I have a feeling that there is a poster or two here that might agree with me). I insulted you in the past because you DESERVED it.

During my time here, I've gotten along with you pretty well. I have actually thought that you had mellowed relative to your thread hijacking ways on Real GM...but it's nice to know that you still have warm-and-fuzzy feelings for me...

Well see - that's just your perception

I think tons of people here are self centered assholes - I do my best not to insult them (though I fail more than I'd like) - not to mention the ignoramus idiots - morons - and putzes that I'm not allowed to call out (cause that got me banned at realgm)

I have a LOW level for stupidity - that's all

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bebopdeluxe reply to GoSixers on Feb 1 at 13:35
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And nice try with the "and others" comment...I think for the most part, I am a respectful poster that does not abuse others for fun (sound familiar?).

You were banned from Real GM for a reason.

(Brian...sorry about this...I am done)

Whatever you say - i forgot how well you know me from the internet

The league schedule was so expediently arranged/warped that comparitive records are to be taken, not lightly, but much lighter than normal.

"Strength of schedule" now includes factors of 'days off before game (if any)', 'preceding travel (if any) and accordant arrangements' and, due to the tax of schedule compression, listings on the 'Red Cross roll call'.

The W-L records of the 30 teams are unreliable. It would take much sifting to acquire balanced comparitive measurement in the league-office dictated relativity of the competitions. Hence, only one conclusion can be safely drawn to date: Blake Griffin is a commercial sensation.

Thank you Timothy Leary

You're welcome Elena Kagan.

Does anyone know what the sixers record is over the past 82 games perchance?

50-32


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