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Sixers-Spurs Preview: Now vs. Later

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Basketball's present meets basketball's fairly distant future.

A battle of two of the league's top young potential superstars.
A battle of two of the league's top young potential superstars.
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody wants to be the San Antonio Spurs. Who wouldn't want to be them? They've won five titles in the last 15 years. They play beautiful basketball. They turn no-names and washouts into key contributors to their dynasty. It's those damn Spurs, they're so hot right now.

They constantly thumb their nose at basketball norms. They rest their players when it suits them, and only them, without a care in the world for fans or for television partners. Every basketball decision they make, no matter how questionable, can be explained away with "Oh, it's the Spurs, they know what they're doing."

The Sixers want to be the Spurs in every aspect. They want the titles, obviously. They want to play that style of beautiful basketball. They want to turn no-names and washouts into key contributors. They want to be Hansel.

They also thumb their nose at basketball norms. Obviously, their strategy of brazen rebuilding has ruffled a few feathers in the league, the media, and amongst basketball fans. Television has pretty washed their hands of their Sixers. And the Sixers would pretty clearly prefer that all of their basketball decisions, no matter how questionable, can be explained with "They know what they're doing."

Unfortunately, nobody can say that for sure, and the reason for that is because the only thing that says they know what they're doing is winning. Winning heals all wounds, and buys you that respect.

The Spurs and Sixers will meet tonight in San Antonio, and by all accounts, the Spurs should absolutely destroy this Sixers squad. They're heavily favored at every sports book in the Northern Hemisphere, and if the two teams played ten times, the Spurs would likely win about 9.9 of them. This is the defending champions of the world against a team that is 0-9 and just released one of its opening day starters two weeks into the season.

That said, the Sixers have to win sometime, right? Just from a pure hilarity perspective, it'd be pretty great if the first win came against San Antonio less than a week after the beatdown they took in Dallas. Also, there's this, from ESPN's Marc Stein:

That's what we're working with here. We're trying to prevent history from being made, although something tells me that little bon mot won't make it into Brett Brown's pregame speech.

This game should also mark the beginning of what shall forever be known as the Robert Covington Era. The reigning D-League Rookie of the Year is in San Antonio with the team (look, here's him hitting a three in practice!) and should be in uniform to make his Sixers debut.

Tip time is 8:30 p.m. eastern time, presented locally on Comcast SportsNet. Let's get nuts.