Team Records: Portland (31-34) at Philadelphia (25-40)
Game Info: 4 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Philly -1
Refs: James Capers, Derrick Collins, Olandis Poole
The Skinny: The Blazers begin their last long road trip of the season with their easiest remaining road game of the year, in Philadelphia. The Sixers have lost seven of their last ten, although they have some solid wins at home in recent times, including a narrow loss to the Heat last week. Philadelphia hasn’t beaten the Blazers since the two teams last met in Philly, in late November 2010.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers controlled the game and then held on for dear life as Philly made a late charge that came up just short in Portland.
Projected Sixers Lineup:
PF-Thaddeus Young (Georgia Tech-6th Season) 15.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.7 APG.
SF-Evan Turner (Ohio State-3rd Season)-13.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.4 APG.
C-Spencer Hawes (Washington-6th Season)-10.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2 APG
SG-Damien Wilkins (Georgia-9th Season)-4.2 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1 APG.
PG-Jrue Holiday (UCLA-4th Season)-18.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 8.7 APG.
Player to Watch-Jrue Holiday (pictured below)-Reggie Miller said that night that there was no way some kid from Weber State could beat a UCLA-product in the finals of the Skills Challenge at the 2013 All-Star weekend. That kid, of course, was Lillard and he did beat Jrue Holiday. That is, however, about all Holiday hasn’t been successful at this year. The knock on Holiday had been that he wasn’t a pure point guard, well he’s fixed that this season, upping his assists dramatically while only marginally raising his turnover rate. All this while keeping his solid deep shooting statistics fairly stable. He’ll be one to watch if Portland wants to win Monday.
Did You Know?: Each of Philly’s last three wins has come against a team with a winning record. They haven’t beaten a sub. 500 team since a win over Charlotte on February 9.
Song of the Day: “The Next Movement” by The Roots. One of the best known songs from one of Philly’s best known groups. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliott Williams (Achilles), SF Sasha Pavlovic (Quad), SF Victor Claver (Ankle).
Philadelphia: Out-C Andrew Bynum (Knee), SG Jason Richardson (Knee).
Re-Evaluating the Sixers: A Losing Bet
When the Sixers traded for Andrew Bynum in the offseason, they were taking a calculated risk that his well known knee problems were behind him and he would become their new franchise star. That bet hasn’t panned out as Bynum hasn’t played a single minute for Philly this year and has been more notable for his hairstyles, and for worsening his injury in a bowling incident, than anything on the court. Thankfully for the Sixers, Bynum is a free agent this offseason and his contract is 80% insured, so the Sixers can quickly move on from the bet they made that hasn’t worked out.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They score 100 points. If Portland plays their pace and has a decent night on offense, they should be able to get this one in Philly.
Philadelphia wins if: They outrebound Portland. Philly is not a very good rebounding team but when they do outrebound you they tend to win. If they can do so, they should be able to beat Portland.