The Sixers OT victory over the Toronto Raptors Friday night was both terrifying and awesome. It was terrifying because we saw how terrible the Sixers can look. It's not a pretty sight. The game thread was filled with people bleeding and losing appendages. A more optimistic person will say that the game was awesome, though, because the Sixers overcame a large deficit and showed great resiliency. That's certainly a fair way to view the game, but the Sixers can't afford to fall behind like that against good teams and expect to win.
Speaking of good teams, in comes the San Antonio Spurs to take on the Sixers tonight in a NATIONALLY TELEVISED HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT. Joking aside, the Spurs are a pretty good team. They're 32-11 and rank 5th in offensive rating and 4th in defensive rating. They're sitting on a 4 game winning streak and are looking to take advantage of a Sixers squad that has played poorly as of late (3-7 in their last 10). The last time these two teams met was on January 5th when the Spurs shellacked the Sixers in SA, 109-86. Spencer Hawes (22 points) was arguably the best performer (!) in this game.
On offense, the Spurs defense will aim to force the Sixers to settle for a lot of long 2 point shots. The Sixers, lovers of the long 2, may kindly welcome the Spurs generosity in this regard. If that's the case, the Sixers will struggle to score. The good news for the Sixers is the Spurs rank 5th in turnovers per game. Forcing turnovers and getting easy transition buckets would mitigate the Spurs stifling defense. Jrue Holiday will need to have another big night if the Sixers hope to have a chance. Thaddeus Young needs to build off his great performance against the Raptors too.
Jrue and the Sixers bigs (band name?) will have their hands full with Tony Parker and the Spurs great pick and roll game. No doubt they'll create some great looks for Tim Duncan and company at the rim or kick it outside for a wide open shot from deep.
It's going to be a tough night for the Sixers. If the comeback win against Toronto is going to serve as a turning point for the season as some might suggest, the Sixers have to go out and prove it tonight. The next 4 games look tough: Spurs, @ Bucks, Knicks, Grizzlies. The Bucks game looks the most winnable of those 4, but that's also the second night of a back-to-back and the Sixers are terrible in those type of games (2-9 this season). I could easily see the Sixers lose these and drop to 17-27.
If the Sixers hope is to get around .500 before Andrew Bynum gets back, winning tonight would certainly help that effort.
- Why is this game on national TV?
- The Spurs home record: (18-2) and away record: (14-9).
- Probably going to be a "Basment of the Alamo" joke coming sometime tonight. Be ready. And apologies in advance.
- Tim Duncan is my most favorite basketball player of all time. Now you know.
- Here's a picture of a kid with Matt Bonner shaved into his head. It's creepy.
Philadelphia 76ers Tickets
- Full Spurs vs 76ers coverage here
- SA perspective - Pounding The Rock - Just don't follow them on Twitter. They said nice things about Spencer Hawes (the player) during the last game, and I just can't stand for that on this blog.
It's close up until the 3Q when the Spurs pull away for good. 97-84 Spurs.
Tip is at 7 PM EST. GameThread will be up at 6:30 - don't forget to join us! You can catch the game on TNT. You can listen live on the radio on 97.5 The Fanatic.