Some of the 76ers are just starting to trickle onto the court here at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. At 8 p.m., the Pacers (1-1) and the Sixers (0-2) will tip off. Sixers have lost two games at home: to the Miami Heat and to the Atlanta Hawks.
First guy on the court tonight was forward Jason Kapono, I could tell because he was wearing his red away jersey over his long-sleeve practice shirt. (See picture above.) He was playing HORSE with the Pacers' rebounders/ball boys until a few other guys came onto the court for pre-game workouts. Look for a switch in Doug Collins' starting lineup tonight; most likely Kapono will move to the bench and forward Andres Nocioni will start at small forward. Nocioni's minutes still need to be (somewhat) limited -- think in the 25-30 range -- so that he can remain effective all season.
That move would make the Sixers' lineup Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Nocioni, Elton Brand, and Spencer Hawes vs. the Pacers' lineup of Darren Collison, Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts, and Roy Hibbert.
Sixers have played with a much different attitude to start this season, but that's only going to be an adequate excuse for certain games. Tonight, they've got to switch from just playing hard to coming away with a victory.
Two key matchups (in addition to Granger/Iguodala) will be the point guard spot and the center spot. Holiday vs. Collison at the point and Hawes vs. Hibbert at center. If the Sixers can come away even at the point guard position and decent at the center position, they should win this game. That matchup inside is worrisome. Hibbert scored 28 points against San Antonio in Indiana's season opener and 13 against the Bobcats last night. Collison and Holiday, who shared UCLA's backcourt for one season, are more evenly matched, although through two games, Collison has been the more effective player. Sixers fans are ready to see the Holiday we've been talking about all pre-season.
More tonight after the game. And if you want instant updates, follow on Twitter: Deep Sixer.
Each week, Kate will check in from the road and answer fan questions about the Sixers. Click here to ask Kate a question or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.