It's cold in Minnesota. And the 76ers are about to tip-off a game that, if they intend to be a playoff team, they should win.
Here's what we have: Sixers (5-5) vs. Timberwolves (1-8)
Sixers starters: Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Samuel Dalembert
T-Wolves starters: Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Jason Collins, Mike Miller, Randy Foye (former Villanova Wildcat)
From the Target Center: Before the game Sixers head coach Maurice Cheeks said that his team has been consistent for the last 2-1/2 games.
"That Toronto game, we played the game the way we wanted to play," Cheeks said. "We're still striving."
Okay, so at least Cheeks said that, for the most part, we have not seen the version of the Sixers he wants to see.
Before the game:
Elton Brand was on the court shooting jumpers. Willie Green and Royal Ivey took a number of 3-point shots. Willie is shooting over 50% from the 3-point line. That's a shocking number for a guy not known for his outside shot.
Thoughts for tonight:
1.) Look for Thaddeus Young to have a big game. I would think Young would be guarded by Ryan Gomes. Young should put him on the block and use his slew of pivot-foot, fake moves.
2.) Look for Samuel Dalembert to be effective. I think he will get the ball a few more times on the block tonight, where he should be able to take advantage.
Unfortunately, the game is about to start so this post can't be longer. The main point, though, is the Sixers should come away with a victory. The T-Wolves are playing bad basketball. And this is the first game of an important stretch that could put some distance between the Sixers and .500.
p.s. The T-Wolves include three former Sixers: Kevin Ollie, Calvin Booth, and Rodney Carney. This is what Ollie had to say about his time in Philly (which was six seasons), "That's my team... I'll go down saying I'm a 76er. I love everything about them."
Ollie's run with the Sixers ended when the team signed free-agent guard Royal Ivey in the off-season, while Booth and Carney were traded to clear cap space for the Elton Brand signing. None are playing significant minutes this season for Minnesota. Ollie is playing about 12 minutes a game, Carney about seven minutes, and Booth has yet to play in a game.