If you squint really hard, and turn your head just right, it almost looks like a win streak.
The Sixers(6-4) finish their fifth of five straight homes games tonight against the Toronto Raptors(3-7). Tonight’s game is an important one because a win would signify a winning home stand. The Sixers beat the Raptors in Toronto on November 10 by a score of 93-83; with a loss so recent in the Raptors mind, expect them to be looking for blood tonight.
Some things have change since the last meeting. The Raptors will not be missing Kyle Lowry, who will come off the bench. The last game was in Toronto. This game is in Philadelphia, where the Raptors have won nine out of the past 13.
Most things have stayed the same, though. Andrew Bynum will not suit up. On offense, the Raptors will rely on Jose Calderon to create, DeMar DeRozan to attack, and Andrea Bargnani to stretch the floor. And the Sixers will need to push the tempo and take advantage of the fact that the Raptors’s only 7-footer has no interest in doing anything other than shooting threes.
Here are my three pointers for tonight’s game:
Get the ball out of Calderon’s hands early. Jose Calderon has been diming like crazy over the past week, so the Sixers need to force a different Raptor to initiate offense. As usual, Jrue Holliday’s length should give Calderon fits.
Pound the inside. Andrea Bargnani is one of the worst defensive bigs in the league and Jonas Valanciunas is not far behind him. Every Sixer big will have scoring opportunities in this game, whether it’s via speed, strength, or guile. If the Sixers can dominate points in the paint they can dominate this game.
Deny the three-pointer. The one thing the Raptors do above average is make threes. If they get hot from range, the Sixers will find it hard to create any kind of momentum. The good news is that because the Raptors lack inside scoring threats, as long as the Sixers don’t over-help on defense, there shouldn’t be too many shooters left open.
Tipoff is at 7pm.
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