Small Sixers take on big Celtics

Tonight the Sixers will face off against a huge Boston Celtics team, with Shaquille O'Neal at Center, Kevin Garnett at power forward and plenty of bigs coming off the bench - like Glen "Big Baby" Davis.

With center Spencer Hawes nursing a strained lower back, the Sixers will start a small frontcourt of Andre Iguodala, Thad Young and Elton Brand.

It's not how coach Doug Collins envisioned things, but he has to go with what's available. He sees forward/center Marreese Speights as a valuable commodity coming off the bench, so he doesn't want to start him for Hawes.

The interesting part of the game is this: Collins knows that this team is at its best when it is out and running on the fast break. He has a small and fast starting lineup that can do just that. But in order to do that against the Celtics, they won't be able to give up easy baskets inside. And the guards, Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, won't be able to go and dig down on the inside guys so easily as they'll be responsible for Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Just how well they'll be able to run will be a direct result of their defensiive effort.

The Celtics plastered a Sixers team last week, 93-65, that was minus Brand and Iguodala. Collins is still tinkering with lineups and schemes. It might not be pretty at times for the home fans. But Turner will be making his Philly debut, and Collins is happy with his team's progress thus far, though he admits they still have a lot of work to do.

We'll see what happens.