The Starting 5


   Maurice Cheeks wouldn't say this is absolutely how the Sixers will line up on Opening Night, but for the first preseason game against the Boston Celtics at the University of Massachusetts, the starting line was Andre Miller at the point, Andre Iguodala at the two guard; Samuel Dalembert at center, Elton Brand at power forward and Thaddeus Young at small forward.

   ""It's the same starting line up you've been begging us to do,"" Cheeks said. ""I just want to go out there and get some cohesion among those guys and among everyone who comes out on the floor. It's not about wins or losses right now. It's about how we go out on the floor and get ourselves prepared for the regular season.""

   Cheeks has been noncomittal about penciling in Young as the guaranteed starter at small forward, but the second year pro is starting to take the decision out of the coaches hands.

    Last night in the Sixers 98-92 victory, Young was more than impressive scoring 21 points on 10-of-19 shooting. He also had five rebounds and five steals.

    Cheeks admitted that he might have to reassess the statement he made before training camp about probably not running a lot of plays for Young.

    Equally high on the chart was guard Lou Williams, who came off the bench to score a game-high 27 with four assists. Williams showed nice form on his jump shots and attacked the basket, earning himself a game-high 13 free throws. He made 12.

    A lot of young players talk about working on their game during the offseason, but Young and Williams clearly have. 

   ""I said it before the game that [Young and Williams] have looked very good,"" Cheeks said. ""I was not surprised by the way they played. They're playing with maturity.""

   Rookie forward Marreese Speights has a lot of work to do, especially on defense, but the kid clearly knows how put points on the board. Speights had eight points in 19 minutes in his first NBA game.

      The Sixers were actually the home team last night even those most fans showed up to see the NBA Champion Celtics. The Mullins Center  came under Global Spectrum - the facilities management arm of Comcast Spectacor - in 2000 and the game was scheduled two years ago, when the Celtics were bad not the NBA Champions.

  Comcast makes it a policy to take the Sixers and Flyers to some of the more than 70 buildings it manages for preseason games.

   Luuko being a alum of the University of Massachusetts didn't hurt either.