Sixers (2-2) vs. Miami (1-2), game tips at 7:30 p.m.
Sixers Starters: Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Samuel Dalembert.
Miami Starters: Shawn Marion (12.0 ppg), Michael Beasley (17.0 ppg), Udonis Haslem (17.7 ppg), Mario Chalmers (8.7 ppg), Dwyane Wade (21.7 ppg).
Sixers Inactive: Theo Ratliff.
The two key players for Miami are Wade and Beasley. We'll see, most likely, Iguodala and Dalembert on those two, respectively. This is a game the Sixers should win, if they are to be the team they -- and Philadelphia -- thinks they should be. It's absurd to say it's a "must-win" game, because only must-win games (those at the end of the season) are actually must-win games. The point: They should win. If the Sixers are going to lose to the good team, they better defeat the bad ones. Now, it's too early to call Miami a bad team. Any team with Wade is going to have a chance to win every night. But the Heat did lose to the Knicks 120-115.
A few things for which to look out:
1.) Samuel Dalembert: He hasn't shot the ball particularly well. And he hasn't finished well around the rim. It's been said (during the Live Chats, in emails) that Samuel (I asked him tonight if he prefers Sam or Samuel, he said Samuel. Good choice, I think) should leave the outside shooting to Young, Iguodala, Rush, etc. Right now we need a game were he goes 8 for 9 and just dunks the heck out of the ball.
2.) Iguodala's breakout game? He needs one. He is about 6-8 points under what his average should be. Right now, he looks a touch lost out there. Head coach Maurice Cheeks said that it's the first time in his NBA career where Iguodala has had a big-time post guy (Elton Brand). Cheeks said he's still figuring out how to work with Brand, how to space the court, look for open shots, etc. Time to adjust, yes, that's a factor. But Iguodala needs a breakout game.
3.) The Defense creating offense. This team needs easy baskets (see previous bullet point because Iguodala could use a few more easy buckets, too). The defense isn't creating turnovers (only like 10 a game). Miller is one of the best in the game in the open court, but those opportunities haven't been created. Young can run with the best of them. Is it Elton Brand that's slowing this team down? Absolutely not. It's a lack of havoc on defense. Sixers need to be aggressive and make it work.
Okay, game time.
p.s. Before the game, rookie center Marreese Speights was watching clips with assistant coach Jeff Ruland. I can't be sure, but I do believe we'll see a little bit of Speights tonight.