Above all else, I for one am just glad that the Knicks are gone for now. It's not particularly encouraging when a division rival, projected by many to be either on the Sixers' level or somewhat below it, dominates a home-and-home the way New York did this weekend.
The good news, however, is that the Hornets will be without at least one, and maybe both, of their exciting young stars--Eric Gordon has been rehabbing his injured knee and will not play, and No. 1 pick Anthony Davis took an elbow to the noggin from teammate Austin Rivers during a game against Utah last week. Davis sat out Saturday's win over Chicago and will to miss tonight's game as well. In fact, the Hornets will be without Rivers as well, as the Duke product and middle son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers will miss the game with a sprained left index finger. Presumably he didn't suffer this injury bashing his teammates about the head, but you never know.
The bad news, of course, is that Gordon and Davis are hurt. From a partisan perspective, you'd rather face a weaker lineup, but from a pure entertainment perspective, it would have been cool to see Davis and Gordon on the court.
But fear not, New Orleans should still put up a fight, thanks in part to former Maryland star Greivis Vasquez, who is part man, part robot and wields a lightsaber in each of his four arms.
Interesting Matchup: Ryan Anderson vs. Thaddeus Young
You know those people who fill out their March Madness brackets by imagining which mascot would in in a fight? Well if that were the case, this one would be hilarious. I just spent 15 minutes giggling myself into near-apoplexy over the image of Edward Rutledge trying to fend off a swarm of stinging insects with his powdered wig. But apparently that's not what we're doing here.
Anderson, like Young, is kind of an inside-outside stretch 4. Starting in Davis' spot on Saturday, Anderson went for 12 points and 13 rebounds, and while he's a white guy with a beard who shoots threes and rebounds, he is not Kevin Love. His not being Kevin Love is good news for Sixers fans, because it means that Young will most likely not get abused the way he did all weekend by Carmelo Anthony. However, if Davis plays tonight, he could wind up wreaking havoc against a less athletic Sixer frontcourt in his traditional berzerker role.
- Hakim Warrick, perhaps best-known as Carmelo Anthony's sidekick at Syracuse, returns home. Warrick attended Friends' Central High School, and I'm sure much would be made of his origins if there were more than a remote chance he'd play--Warrick has been a healthy scratch in each of New Orleans' first three regular-season games.
- Former Sixer forward Jason Smith, however, has not been so quiet. He dropped 16 points in 16 minutes against Chicago on Saturday, though his four personal fouls and plus/minus of -4 suggest his contributions may be limited to one end. Still, it's nice to see old faces.
- Hornet guard Xavier Henry does not himself have any local tie-ins, but his older brother, C.J., was once a shortstop in the Phillies' minor-league system, having been acquired as a major part of the trade that sent Bobby Abreu to the Yankees. If you care about such things.
- If you're interested in the New Orleans perspective on this game, check out At The Hive, SB Nation's Hornets blog.
- We may miss out on the Unibrow, but if you're in the mood to drown your sorrows, allow me to suggest any of the excellent offerings from the Unibroue brewery of Quebec. For those of appropriate age and inclination, there may be no finer way to stay lubricated.
- Finally, should you feel inclined to attend this game in person, you can find Philadelphia 76ers tickets through TiqIQ.
Sixers 88, Hornets 80. A comfortable win, but not such a blowout that the clock runs out in time for me to catch the new episode of Nashville.