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Game 30 Preview: Sixers at Blazers

A Look at the Sixers

Philadelphia is one of those teams that is better than you thought they'd be.  They sit at 13-16, having gone 10-10 since the last time they played us.  The pedigree of the teams they've beaten is less than that of the teams that have beaten them but they are not an easy mark.

The Sixers are winning despite a general lack of offensive firepower.  Their two Andres, Iguodala and Miller, average 18.5 and 16.1 respectively.  After that it's like the playroom at McDonalds:  13 and under only.  They score only 93.6 points per game.  They're keeping their heads above water because they also defend surprisingly well, forcing opponents to match them almost exactly in scoring and field goal percentage.  This is also true from distance.  The Sixers shoot a relatively poor 33% from three point range.  Their opponents average 33.3%.  

Philadelphia trades on athleticism and effort.  They can be a devastating rebounding team, notably on the offensive end.  Samuel Delambert is a good shot-blocker but beyond him they hope to bump and intimidate you out of the lane rather than stopping you once you're in there.

The Sixers do not shoot fouls well as a team, mostly due to their active but raw second unit.

Philadelphia has yet to win a game when allowing the opponent to score 100 which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about our strategy tonight.

What I'd Like To See

  1.  We need to run our offense, meaning working for open shots, hitting jumpers when they're available off the pass, but also not settling for distance shooting exclusively.  The Sixers want an ugly game with plenty of misses.  Pure, uncontested jumpers, driving layups, and tons of free throws will thwart them.
  2.  As is always true, don't give a team that has trouble scoring easy buckets.  Limit turnovers, get back in transition, and especially against this team rebound...the...ball.  Limited breakaways and no rebound putbacks equals very few points for Philly.
  3.  Our second unit needs to out-think theirs.  They are fairly young and really athletic.  Teams like that tend to over-pursue.  Reversing the floor and/or driving and dishing often yields great results.
And that's about it.  This will be a different game than we've been seeing lately but it should still be winnable.  The story is far too good for it not to be won.  It's an opportunity to exorcise the only real ghost of our season so far.  This will make a nice bow on not only the homestand but the winning streak.

In terms of the season, this is our final day in Rivendell before embarking upon the much longer, more dangerous, and basically unknown treks between here and our goal.  No, we haven't been through Moria or seen Lothlorien, let alone seen Mordor itself, but we've done well considering where we started and what we've faced.  As long as we don't spoil our sendoff by tripping on our way out the door it will be a round of applause and Godspeed into the next stage of the journey.

--Dave (