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Game 30 Preview: Sixers vs. Blazers

Hey folks, the next couple days we are going to see Mrs. Dave's family and thus will be away from the keyboard.  I am posting two previews and two Gameday Open Threads so you can keep the ball rolling.  As always, the Diary section is open 24/7 for submissions and responses.

Because I am a fan first and a blogger second, I'm not going to check on the game results until I get back home and have a chance to watch the games myself. (Knowing the final score kind of ruins it for me.)  Look for reflections over the weekend.

Scroll down the page for the Blazers/Hornets preview and Gameday Thread.

A Look at the Sixers

Welcome to the post-AI era.  Since draft picks don't play until next year, Andre Miller is the guy you're banking on to fill Iverson's shoes.  So far he's doing admirably in the assist area (7 and 11 assists in two games) but there's no way he can make up The Answer's points.  Trying mightily are star-in-waiting Andre Iguodala, who will finally get the chance to shine as more than a defensive specialist and has led the team in scoring five of the last six games, and surprising upstart Rodney Carney, who logged 25 points and 8 rebounds in Tuesday's loss to the Warriors.  Miller does a decent job getting guys the ball where they can score, and these two wingmen are benefiting.  Nevertheless, Philly remains weak in the frontcourt, with a gimpy Webber and a non-scoring Delambert now even further exposed by not having Iverson's offense as a pressure-relieving distraction.  Philly would probably love to run with some of these young athletes, but Webber throws a wrench into those plans.  My guess is they will try even harder to dump him.

Philly shoots well but doesn't rebound, doesn't defend well when they can't force turnovers, and gives up a horrendous 47.5% shooting percentage.  The only way they're going to beat you is to score a ton.  And the only way they're going to score more than you is if you get really lazy, start settling for bad shots, and don't get back in transition..

Things I'd like to see:

  1.  Zach needs to put pressure on that frontcourt all night long.  We should be feeding him big-time.  This is one game where if he scored 40 on 25 shots it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
  2.  If it's not Zach, it's a drive.  Delambert can block shots but he's also prone to fouls.  Take it right at him, draw your free throws, make him sit, and then waltz down the lane on your way to 100 points and a victory.  Part of Philly's defensive scheme is to dare you to take the outside jumper.  Don't take the dare (or the jumper).
  3.  The main guys you have to watch are Iguodala and Korver.  You don't let Iguodala put the ball on the floor and get past you, either in the halfcourt or on the run.  Korver is the opposite.  You make him put the ball on the floor and drive.  If you let him catch and shoot you're toast.  Taking out either one of these legs of their offense should be enough to cripple them.  I guess the other guy you wouldn't want to underestimate is Miller, but if you don't let them run he shouldn't hurt you that badly.
  4.  Again, Philly's defense just doesn't work if they can't get you to turn the ball over.  Play a steady, controlled, possession-oriented game and they'll wither.
  5.  If they outrebound you, you didn't try very hard.
  6.  This is another game that we shouldn't lose, especially at home.  That said, the Sixers have averaged more points in the last three games than they did in most of their games before, so you can't take them lightly.  If you let them come out with energy and get the bit in their teeth they're still capable of taking you for a ride.  If we don't win, though, I'll be disappointed.
--Dave (