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Clippers - Sixers Preview

Since Allen Iverson played his last game as a Sixer, Philadelphia's record is 12-21.  That's actually a better winning percentage than Philly had with Iverson and Webber, so it tells you a little about chemistry, opportunity and hard work.   After ending a 12 game losing streak that surrounded l'affaire d'Iverson, they've actually gone 12-14 in their last 26 games, and 7-4 in their last 11.  If the plan was to go really deep in the tank to maximize their chances of getting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, they're screwing that up too.  Boston has lost 16 games in a row.  Now that's how you tank!

Andre Iguodala has emerged as a big time option, averaging over 20 points a game since the Iverson trade and 24 in his last 8.  And former Clipper Andre Miller has always thrived on bad teams - you may recall his league-leading assist totals and frequent triple doubles for the Cavs in his first few seasons in the league that dried up like a mirage when he was added to a talented Clipper squad.  Center Sam Dalembert has terrific rebounding and shot blocking skills, but remains perhaps the best example of why the Clippers should NOT give Chris Kaman a big money extension (what's that?  They already did?  D'oh!)  Shooter Kyle Korver is their second leading scorer coming off the bench.  

And that concludes the NBA talent portion of the Sixers.  The rest of the roster is made up of marginal journeymen (Kevin Ollie, Joe Smith, Allen Henderson, Steven Hunter, Willie Green) and kids who really should be in the NBDL (Rodney Carney, Louis Williams, Bobby Jones).  How they've won 7 of their last 11 with this team remains a mystery - you have to give them credit.

If the Clippers play as poorly in Philadelphia as they did in Cleveland or in the second half in New York, the Sixers will make it 8 of 12.  There's no reason the Clippers should lose to the Sixers, but then again, there was no reason the Clippers should blow a 10 beat lead against the Knicks or lose to a Cleveland team when LeBron James had a horrible game, but they managed to do those things.  

Look for all the usual suspects - the Clippers need to keep their turnovers down, get back in transition, pound the ball inside to Brand against Steven Hunter and Joe Smith, and dominate the boards.  I haven't seen this Sixers squad play, but with Andre Miller surrounded in the starting lineup by Iguodala, Carney, Hunter and Dalembert you can expect a lot of lob passes.  The good news for the Clippers is that aside from Korver, the Sixers don't have anyone who is a significant threat from the outside.  

The teams met way back in November in Staples Center in a game the Clippers won in overtime.  Although they pulled out the W and moved to 6-2 on the young season, it was then that I realized that something was seriously amiss with this edition of the Clippers.  They lost their next five in a row.  Unfortunately, whatever was wrong then is still wrong now, almost three months later.  If they lose this game, they will most likely take a six game losing streak back to LA.

Stupid KTLA is showing this game delayed an hour and a half.  I hate that.  As it happens, it won't affect me, as I'll be camping with ClipperZoe and her Brownie troop.  But I feel for all of you who have to decide whether to wait and watch it on TV, or to rush to the interwebs to find out what's happening.