I've never been this pumped for a regular season game!

This post is lengthy, but a must-read before tonight's game.

Guys, this is the game I've had circled on my calendar since the season began. It will be the biggest regular season game of the year for me. That is, until we meet the Blazers again, in Portland, on March 23, which could possibly be the first NBA game I ever attend! I'm as pumped as ever for tonight. I hope my math and communications teachers are ready to put up with my intensity in class today, because the odds of me randomly screaming "Andre Iguodala! vs. Brandon....Roy!" are pretty high. They're just going to have to deal with it. Besides the game itself, there's a ton, and I mean a ton of angles to be aware of before tonight's battle between the Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers. Let me bring you guys up to speed.

First, we'll talk a little about the game, because that's the most important part. We all know the story of the Sixers. 17-20. Extremely disappointing. Coach fired. However; the season has turned itself around as of late. We're riding a season-high four game-winning steak. Coach DiLeo has the team playing awesome basketball and all our players are rounding into form. Despite rumors that Elton might return for tonight's game, that won't be the case, and I'm glad. I don't want the fast-break machine known as the Brand-less Sixers to be tinkered with in any way, shape or form for tonight's game. 

On the other side, the Blazers have a three-game winning streak of their own. They're 23-14 on the season and it's the consensus around the league that they have the most enviable roster in the NBA. Don't get me wrong, I love the Sixers roster. We have a ton of young talent, but nowhere near the Blazers. I'd kill for their roster. As far as I know, they'll be healthy for tonight's game, with the exception of a questionable Rudy Fernandez. I wouldn't want it any other way, because when we pull out a win tonight, I want to do it fair and square.

The biggest, and most discussed match up of the game will be Brandon Roy vs. Andre Iguodala. There's been talk on this blog and other Sixers' blogs over the past few days debating who fans would rather have, and it's been a lot closer than I thought it would be. Blazers fans probably think people are crazy for even considering Andre Iguodala. I haven't voiced my opinion on Iggy vs. B-Roy yet, so here it is...

(This is my personal opinion. I'm going to explain it and if you don't like it, fine. Just don't go saying "Oh my God, you're an idiot!" regardless of your beliefs. I'm not claiming my opinion is a fact, so don't claim yours is.) I love Iguodala, but I have to give the nod to Brandon in this match-up. I'm not going to get into the numbers, because that always seems to get me in trouble. I'm just going to call it like I see it. Although Roy gets my vote, it's close. There's no question that Roy is a better scorer, a better shooter, a much, much better clutch performer and I'm a huge fan of his demeanor and attitude, both on and off the court. Iggy beats him in all the other categories though. He's a better rebounder, defender and facilitator. I see Brandon as a lower-tier superstar and Iguodala as an upper-tier second banana. They're both good in their own way. I'd rather have Roy on the Sixers because our biggest weakness is the lack of a scorer/shooter and a clutch, go-to superstar. Roy fits that mold. You put Iguodala with a superstar, someone like Roy, or even someone as big as Kobe and he flourishes. The best case scenario for his career is to be the Scottie Pippen to someone's MJ. The Sixers just have to find that MJ. If they don't, Iggy will never reach his full potential. There you have it. B-Roy over Iguodala...slightly.

Here are the last couple things on tonight's game. The difference is going to be perimeter defense. The Blazers have quite a few good 3-point shooters on their roster. Our perimeter defense has been streaky all season. That's not a good combination. If we can shut down the three, we're going to win. If we can't, we're going to lose by 10+. Also, if you're a Blazers fan reading this, I'm not going to talk up Marreese Speights too much, because it always backfires, but just keep an eye on him. I'm just throwing that out there. Don't blame me if you find yourself saying "Greg Oden who?" after you get a glimpse of M16.

Everyone who read the first paragraph, where I mentioned this, 

"Besides the game itself, there's a ton, and I mean a ton of angles to be aware of for tonight's battle between the Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers. Let me bring you guys up to speed."

are probably not reading anymore, but for those of you who are here's why I'm so, so, so, so, so pumped for this regular, everyday, normal game.

1. The SBNation Blazers' blog, Blazer's Edge is hands down the best basketball blog on the planet. It's what we strive for. They have a lot of things going on and I strongly advise you to check out Dave's preview of tonight's game, or just the blog in general. Heck, you could even join and banter with Blazers fans. Just keep it clean. Things could get messy if we go over there with a comment like, "Greg Oden sucks balls! Marreese Speights for MVP!" If you post something like that over there, 30 seconds later you will have 100 replies. After all, they do have like 600 million commenters. Did you know they even have ambassadors assigned to their sister NBA blogs?

2. Speaking of ambassadors, Liberty Ballers has one their very own via Blazer's Edge. I haven't seen him over here in a while, because apparently he's too caught up in the Eagles? His name is einman77 and he was cool enough to give us some pub. over at Blazer's Edge. Check out his FanPost on the Sixers, tonight's game and Liberty Ballers. Apparently I have the reputation of busting out solid YouTube clips. He knows me too well. If you're bored at work or are just looking for a good laugh, check out my YouTube favorites at the bottom of the left sidebar. It's titled "YouTube Magic".

3. There's a matchup tonight that won't be talked about as much as the Iggy/Roy one, but it's just as intriguing. Kevin Pritchard is the Blazers GM. Again, consensus is that the Blazers have the most enviable roster in the league and this man put it together. Tonight he'll be measured against the "Greatest GM on Planet Earth", Ed Stefanski. Okay, well maybe not, but Ed still holds that title in my heart, and most would argue that he's at least top 5. And Pritchard should watch his back, because Ed is on the up-and-up while KP might be getting complacent? I'd lose a little of my mojo too if I was dating an ex-dancer, and Kevin Duckworth's ex-girlfriend?! Check this story out! It's interesting to say the least. I'm just trying to do my part for the Blazers fans, since they gave us an ambassador and all. And what's better than a juicy story regarding their beloved GM?

4. Last, but not least I'll be watching tonight's game with my best friend, who also happens to be a die-hard Blazers fan. Big shout out to my boy, Jason. He's the one who got me into basketball. And I've been talking up Marreese Speights, Lou-Will, Thad and all our boys to him all season. There would be no better feeling in the world than to have him **** in his pants (that sounded borderline gay, but I meant in a totally non-gay way) after witnessing Thad drop 50, a Lou-Will game-winner or a monster, MONSTER Marreese Speights dunk over Greg Oden. We will be meeting up after I finish school and  after he gets off of work and we'll watch the game on a delay, while chowing down on some wings? Sounds like a fantastic-freakin' evening! The only bad thing about that is I won't be able to be here for the game thread (tear). I was looking forward to building on the 323 comments we had last game, but I guess it'll have to wait another day. As always, the game thread will still be here, and I encourage you guys to comment even though I won't be there. 

I'll have my recap up sometime tonight.

As for Wednesday's GM, I'm going to try and work on that, but I'm almost positive I won't be able to roll one out tonight. So, Wednesday's GM will ironically come out on Thursday, but in the meantime, check out John's Dalembert-to-Dallas FanPost.

Until later tonight, peace love and happiness. And try to get as into tonight's game as I am! :)

Peace. Go Sixers!

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