The Philadelphia 76ers come into Staples Center to face the Clippers as a team with a problem. A $20M problem. That's how much Chris Webber is making this year. It was reported earlier this week that Webber had asked to be traded, though now Webber says he merely spoke to Billy King about his frustration over his reduced role. Oh, and all this was before he played a season low 21 minutes on National TV in Phoenix Friday night. Anyone who has watched CWebb play since his 2003 microfracture surgery knows that he can barely run or jump. But amazingly he can still play (on offense, anyway), and he managed to put up superb overall numbers in Philly last year. So much is made about the 4 NBA players who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds last season (Brand, Duncan, Marion and Yao) - well, CWebb only put up 20.2 points and 9.9 rebounds.
And who is Mo Cheeks giving these extra minutes to? Some combination of Shavlick Randolph and rookie Rodney Carney. I must admit, I don't get it.
Of course, the Sixers aren't really going anywhere with or without CWebb. Even though AI appears to be as great as ever at age 31, they probably have less talent surrounding him than ever (which is no small statement). They let John Salmons go this summer, and brought in exactly nobody. They do have a couple of rookies in Carney and Bobby Jones, but neither appears ready to make a major contribution this season. Andre Iguodala hasn't really worked out, Kyle Korver can shoot but that's about it, and Sam Dalembert is the answer to the trivia question "Why shouldn't the Clippers have offered Chris Kaman a $52M extension?" Meanwhile Kevin Ollie has got to be the best example around of a guy who shouldn't be starting in the NBA, and yet is.
The Sixers inexplicably managed to start this season 3-0, but have reverted to expected form by losing 4 of 5 since then. They come into Staples at the end of a relatively short 3 game west coast road trip, on the second day of back-to-back games, while the Clippers have had 3 days off. Assuming the Clippers don't come out flat from the layoff, there's no reason they should not win this game.
I'm going to have to stop saying it some point, as it didn't seem to happen against the Hornets or the Jazz, but this game SHOULD provide a favorable matchup for Kaman. Dalembert is no slouch, but at least Chris can stay on the floor with him, and he should be able to get some touches early and hopefully get going in the first quarter. He could sure use it.
The key of course will be defending AI, and Ross and Livingston should be able to use their length to at least give him a little trouble. The ability of the Clippers to contain AI, and the effectiveness of their rotations on defense should be enough to secure a victory, even if the offense isn't clicking. If the LA offense gets going, it should be a blowout.
The Lakers beat Toronto to improve to 6-3, the same record as the Warriors, while the Kings are 5-3. I know it's way too early to be worried about first place in the Division, but I'd sure rather be in first place than tied for 3rd, which is where we could be if we lose this game.