Team Records: Portland (19-4) at Philadelphia (7-17)
Game Info: 5 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -9.5
Refs: Scott Foster, David Jones, Marat Kogut
The Skinny: The Blazers will look to start off their four game in five nights road swing right with a win against the free-falling Sixers. After starting out 4-2, Philly has won just three of their last eighteen games. Philly will likely be without the early leader for rookie of the year this season, Michael Carter-Williams, as he missed several games in a row with a knee injury.
Last Season: The teams split the season series last year, with both winning at home. Portland has won three of the last four versus the Sixers overall.
Projected Sixers Lineup:
PF-Thaddeus Young (Georgia Tech-7th Season) 15.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.6 APG.
SF-Evan Turner (Ohio State-4th Season)-20.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.9 APG.
C-Spencer Hawes (Washington-7th Season)-15.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3 APG
SG-Hollis Thompson (Georgetown-Rookie)-5.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, .8 APG.
PG-Tony Wroten (Washington-2nd Season)-13.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.5 APG.
Player to Watch-Evan Turner (pictured below)-Its put up or shut up time for Turner. After a few years of struggling, this is the year Turner finally needs to turn the corner if he wants to establish himself as a solid NBA player. Turner’s numbers are up for the most part this season but fundamentally the flaws that were in his game remain. Turner is still a solid mid-range shooter but he doesn’t attack the rim often enough. He is a decent defender but his rebounding is down from what he did his first couple seasons. Basically, for every increase in production there has been a corresponding slight decrease in another area. All this begging the question, is Evan Turner, in the end, really just an average player?
Did You Know?: The Sixers are 1-8 when Michael Carter-Williams doesn’t play.
Song of the Day: “Fresh Prince of Bel Air Theme Song” Okay, so I saw an episode of this show last night, remembered how cool it was and realized it refers to Philly. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PG CJ McCollum (Foot)
Philadelphia: Out-C Nerlens Noel (Knee), PF Arnett Moultrie (Ankle), Doubtful-PG Michael Carter-Williams (Knee)
The Sixers weren’t expected to be good this year and they are indeed not. Philly is a poor offensive team, ranking 25th in offensive efficiency, although they play at the fastest pace in the league, so at least they are inefficient and fast rather than inefficient and slow. Philly isn’t particularly good shooting from anywhere on the court, shooting poorly from 2, from 3 and from the line. Their defense isn’t a whole lot better, ranking about the same as Portland’s, but with an offense that bad, it won’t cut it. Philly’s strength may be rebounding, most notably defensive rebounding. They can make it difficult at times to get second-chance points, which if an opponent is having an off-night shooting, gives the Sixers a shot. Bottom line, they aren’t the worst team Portland has faced this year, but they are certainly far from the best.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. This is a game Portland should win fairly easily if they play as they are capable. If Portland comes out ready to play, they should roll.
Philadelphia wins if: They score 100 points. Okay Philly may not win if they score 100 points but they will almost certainly lose if they don’t. The Sixers are 1-11 this year when failing to hit the century mark. They must do so to have a shot against the Blazers.