The west coast trip is finally coming to a close, and it's ending the same way it began -- against a legitimate Western Conference team with a spotless home record. The Blazers home record on the season is a spectacular 28-6. The odds are stacked against the Sixers, but let's not forget what happened a mere six days ago.
The Sixers went into LA, where the Lakers held the best record in the NBA, and had only five home losses to their name. What did the Sixers, specifically Andre Iguodala think about that?
Bam! That's what, and there's no reason it can't happen again tonight.
Over at Blazer's Edge, the poster-child for NBA blogs, Dave has a preview of the game and it sounds like the Blazers often struggle against uber-athletic teams. We might be in luck. The last time these two teams met in Philly, the Sixers blew the Blazers out of the water in a 100-79 thrashing.
Now, Sixers/Blazers matchups always have a special place in my heart. I wrote all about it in my preview of last game, so to avoid repeating myself, I'll provide you with a link and CliffNotes version.
1) Blazer's Edge is what all basketball blogs strive for. It's always nice to head-to-head with them.
2) We have a 76ers ambassador assigned to our blog via Blazer's Edge.
3) My best friend Jason is a Blazers fan and there's nothing like having bragging rights over him for an entire year. He thinks Brandon Roy is black Jesus, so this is one of the rare times where I root for Andre Iguodala specifically against the opponent's "star" player.
As for the game itself, it's going to be a challenge. I'd love nothing more than to finish the road trip with a 3-2 record, including wins over the two best teams on the schedule. The Sixers are coming off a back-to-back, but barely expended any energy in last night's win over the Kings -- Iguodala only played 35 minutes, his lowest since February 18.
What's the first stat I look at when breaking down upcoming games? Opponent's three-pointers. The Blazers average more than seven per game on 38 percent shooting. That's seventh in the NBA, and doesn't bode well for the Sixers. As always, if the Sixers limit the Blazers to about 31-32 percent from downtown, there's a good chance they'll win the game.
Player to watch: Rudy Fernandez. He didn't play in the Blazers 21-point loss to the Sixers earlier this season, and some Blazers fans might even suggest that Rudy is more valuable than Roy!
- Come out with energy.
- Defend the three.
- Shoot 75 percent from the free throw line.
My bold prediction: Sixers leave it all on the floor, put forth an inspiring effort and end an emotionally exhausting road trip with a win. Not only do I predict a win, but I predict that Iguodala wins the game at the buzzer -- again! The west coast trip will come full circle and the Sixers will go back to Philly on a high note.