Andrew Bynum and the Cleveland Cavaliers will match up against the Sixers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center. Whether or not Bynum plays will be one of the big stories. The two teams meet again tomorrow night in Cleveland and Bynum can’t play back-to-back games, yet. His choice may be to wait to go on Saturday in front of his home fans. Anyway, here’s a look at some of the keys for the Sixers tonight.
* Try to contain Kyrie Irving: Quickly becoming one of the top point guards in the league, Irving was phenomenal in a preseason game against the Sixers in Columbus, Ohio. That night he was able to get anywhere he wanted with the ball in his hands. While he is terrific at both delivering the ball and getting it to the basket, the Sixers need to try and curtail his drives to the basket where he can beat them in a variety of ways.
* Get out on three-point shooters: The Cavaliers aren’t very good at shooting from long range, as evidence by their 17-for-46 (26.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Still, the Sixers have gotten killed in their last two games, particularly by a couple of players (Andre Iguodala and John Wall) who aren’t known for their three-point abilities. While protecting the lane remains their priority, they have to find a way to prevent wide open jumpers.
* Make sure the Big Three are involved: When Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner are all involved at the offensive end, it makes things a whole lot easier for Michael Carter-Williams and everyone else on the floor. Young was pretty much invisible last game against Golden State, and that can’t happen.
* Cut down on the turnovers: For obvious reasons, this is a key. But look more closely at it. This team is expected to turn the ball over a bit because of its youth and unfamiliarity with each other. But careless turnovers can’t happen. Look away passes and one-handed alley-oop passes that land in the stands can’t cut it. Plus, turnovers have led to odd-man breaks for the opposition and created a lot of wide-open three-pointers, which opponents have been converting at an alarming rate.
* Keep Irving off the boards: That one sounds strange but he is averaging close to six a game. And what happens is he gets the ball and has a full head of steam heading down the other end and it’s almost impossible to stop him. If the Sixers can make him keep going back to get the ball from a rebounder, that will negate his getting a run out on his own.