New Year's Day: most of us were probably up all night last night, then slept until mid-afternoon, so our sleep schedules are perfectly out-of-whack for a 10:30 tip-off in Los Angeles tonight.
December was a pretty lousy month for the Sixers, so if you believe in all that fresh start/New Year's resolution/arbitrary endpoints malarkey, putting a 4-11 month in the rearview mirror will probably stand the Sixers in good stead. Or you can view it as another slog in a stretch in which the Sixers play 10 of 11 on the road after a relatively soft opening schedule, and in which slog they've already lost five of seven. To say nothing of this being the first of four road games in five days. If Doug Collins were as choleric a personality as Gregg Popovich, he'd have already mailed David Stern a box of hundred-year eggs and already rented a giant inflatable rat for a wildcat strike on Friday at Oklahoma City.
But what misfortunes await our band of lovable reprobates this evening?
Well, Kobe Bryant, for one, who's leading the NBA in scoring. Also Dwight Howard, who led the NBA last year in rebounding, field goal percentage and being a petulant, self-important prig. Also Metta World Peace, because screw you.
The Lakers, for all their pitiable impotence early this season, have started clicking since Steve Nash came back from his latest back injury, and considering the size Los Angeles can throw in waves at one of the NBA's worst frontcourts, this could get ugly quickly.
But on the other hand, the Sixers hung tough against a Lakers team that, for stretches, seemed like it couldn't miss a jump shot when they met two weeks ago in Philadelphia. Given the schedule and how the Sixers, of late, have been cooler than being cool, all signs point to a Laker win, but if Evan Turner shuts down Kobe, Jrue Holiday menaces the increasingly traffic cone-like Nash and a couple other things break Philly's way, anything could happen.
- Lakers star Kobe Bryant is the son of former Sixer Joe Bryant, was born in Philadelphia and went to Lower Merion High School. I'm sure you've never been made aware of those facts and they will not be mentioned on tonight's telecast.
- I miss Jodie Meeks. He's on the Lakers now.
- One of Laker coach Mike D'Antoni's top assistants is his older brother Dan. Wikipedia used to say that Dan D'Antoni's middle name was Tony, which would have made his full name Dan Tony D'Antoni, which would have been awesome. But as it turns out, his given name is Lewis Joseph, which is so disappointing as to beggar belief.
- To call this game a clash of opposites would be an understatement. D'Antoni famously runs an up-tempo offense that has the Lakers at 7th in the NBA this season in pace, while Collins plays a slower style, evidenced by the Sixers' No. 27 ranking in that category. Furthermore, the Lakers have had four players on their roster this season born in the 1970s and only one born in the 1990s. The oldest player to suit up for the Sixers this season is Damien Wilkins, born Jan. 11, 1980, while three players born in the 1990s have played for the Sixers. Steve Nash is 17 years older than Maalik Wayns.