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Clippers at Sixers - Game Preview and Open Thread

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LA Clippers logo
vs.
Sixers logo
16-31 20-30
Wachovia Center
Feb. 9, 2008 - 4:30 PM
Probable starters:
Sam Cassell PG Andre Miller
Quinton Ross SG Willie Green
Corey Maggette SF Andre Iguodala
Al Thornton PF Thaddeus Young
Chris Kaman C Samuel Dalembert
The Big Picture:

After their win in Toronto, the Clippers are now 2 and 3 on their season long 7 game road trip.  As improbable as it seems, with their final two opponents each at least 10 games below .500, they could actually end up with a winning record on this trip.  I guess we're getting a little ahead of ourselves there, given that the Clippers have not won consecutive games since opening the season 4-0.  But still, with Sam Cassell returning to the lineup after a suspension and most of the Generic team healthy, I like their chances in Philly.  For the most part, the fully healthy Generic Clippers have beaten the weak teams they've played this season.  Tim Thomas will probably miss the game with back spasms, but if Al Thornton and Josh Powell continue to play well the team can overcome his absence.

The Antagonist:

I have to say, I don't know much about this team.  Ricky from Sixers4Guidos answered some of my questions, so you can go read what he had to say.  On paper, the Sixers look a lot like 3 NBA starters and a bunch of, well, stiffs.  Sam Dalembert, averaging 11 points, 10 boards and 2.4 blocks is a pretty solid defense-first NBA center; Andre Iguodala is averaging almost 20 points per game; and former Clipper Andre Miller remains a solid, if uninspiring, point guard.  But I never bought Willie Green as a starter, and don't get me started on Reggie Evans.  I found it strange that they felt compelled to trade Korver for more expiring contracts.  I mean, didn't they pretty much just sign the guy?  And hasn't he at least met if not exceeded expectations?  I even think I heard the term 'untouchable' used regarding him during the Iverson trade talks last season.  As for the youngsters, for the last 5 games rookie Thaddeus Young has been starting at the power forward, despite his slight 220 pound, 19 year old frame.  The Sixers won 3 of those games, albeit against some rather unimpressive competition.  What is impressive is that Young has made 29 of 48 field goals as a starter (60%) and averaged 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds.  The Sixers were considering drafting Al Thornton, and the Clippers worked out Young - so the two rookies could easily have reversed positions.  But with Philly in full-blown rebuilding mode, the 19 year old made more since, and he may be further along than most people thought.  With Thomas likely out of this game, Thornton and Young figure to square off against each other frequently tonight - just like last season in the ACC.  The Sixers other rookie, Jason Smith, is having a respectable first campaign.

The Subplots

  • Sign up for League Pass.  This is one of 6 Clipper games this season not available on TV.  It is available on League Pass, so if you've got that you can watch it, although you will have to listen to Philadelphia's announcers.  If you go to a sports bar you may be able to convince them to find the game, but then you'll have to admit to being a Clippers fan.  Unless you walk in holding a cheese steak.  Failing all that, you can listen to Ralph and Mike on AM 710.
  • I miss Kaman.  First he missed a game with a bruised shin.  Then he missed four more with the flu.  He's played in the last three, but he hasn't really been right yet.  I'm looking forward to a really big breakout game from K2 soon.  It's also interesting to note that Dalembert's contract was sort of the measuring stick when Chris signed his extension last season.  No one would argue that Dalembert is worth as much as K2 at this point - but maybe Chris would just like to underscore that point tonight.  (Let's hope he doesn't have to box out Reggie Evans.)
  • Thornton versus Young.  If as I suspect Tim Thomas is unable to play, then we'll likely see two late lottery rookies from the ACC starting opposite each other as undersized power forwards.  Al Thornton and Thaddeus Young faced each other twice last season when the 'Noles played the Jackets.  After lighting up Vince Carter three weeks ago and Chris Bosh last night, Thornton's sure to have a ton of confidence going up against a 19 year old.  It should be fun to watch.  Oh that's right, I can't watch it.
  • Maggette on fire.  Corey Maggette is averaging 24.5 points per game in 2008.  He's gone over 30 in three of his last four games.  He's making everything he shoots, including all five of his threes in Toronto.  Iguodala is a very similar player, and a very good defender.  Their matchup at small forward should be very interesting as well.
  • Philly Clippers.  Cat Mobley is from Philly and played high school ball there.  Tim Thomas played his single season of college ball in the city at Villanova and started his NBA career with the Sixers.  Cat and Tim will have lots of family and friends at the game.