The Sixers’ season opener is here and the rebuilding team will get an early look at the NBA’s elite when it hosts the defending champion Miami Heat (1-0) on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) and here are five things you need to know for the matchup:
1. Let’s start the show
The Sixers didn’t get any favors from the schedule makers, as they will open up the regular season against the Heat for the second time in the past four years.
The Heat are coming to town off a 107-95 win over the Chicago Bulls on opening night. They led by as many as 25 points before holding on late in the fourth quarter. The Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh accounted for 46 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists in the victory.
The Sixers will be trying to reverse some lopsided recent history against the Heat. They have lost nine straight to Miami and 19 of the last 20 matchups, including the postseason.
2. Hey, rookies
After spending over a decade in the Spurs' organization, Brett Brown gets his first taste of NBA life as a head coach when things get underway on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Michael Carter-Williams will find out how things really work in the league against the Heat when the 11th overall pick in June’s draft plays in his first regular-season game.
MCW showed poise running Brown’s offense during the preseason, racking up 31 assists to 10 turnovers in seven games. However, his suspect shooting was very clear. Carter-Williams shot just 32.8 percent from the field and 29.6 from three-point range.
3. Trying to fill it up
Speaking of points, who exactly can the Sixers rely on to score this season?
For a team that finished tied for last in the league in points per game a season ago (93.2), things don’t figure to get any easier with a roster full of young and inexperienced players.
Evan Turner averaged 17.3 points per game during the preseason to lead the Sixers. If ever there were a time for him to have a breakout season scoring-wise, this would be it (see story).
4. How many wins?
With the season opener officially here, the Sixers are truly staring one big question right in the face: How many wins will they record this season?
Clearly, president/general manager Sam Hinkie has made moves with the future in mind, such as trading away Jrue Holiday and the likely decision to sit rookie acquisition Nerlens Noel for the entire season. The roster is filled with complementary pieces and developmental players that could figure into the team's future with a few big-name lottery picks or what the Sixers hope turn out to be viable trade options.
Still, don’t expect them to openly embrace the thought of “tanking” or to challenge the 1972-73 Sixers’ NBA-worst mark of nine wins.
“No matter how you put it, losers sit there and say ... we’re going to lose,” Turner said. “I’m not a loser.”
The Vegas over/under for Sixers wins this season is 16½.
5. This and that
• The Sixers have a 4-6 mark in their last 10 season openers.
• The Sixers had a 23-18 record last season at the Wells Fargo Center.
• While it may be easy to think that James has dominated the Sixers recently -- and he has -- Wade was just as good a season ago. In three games against the Sixers last season, Wade averaged 25.3 points and shot a ridiculous 62.5 percent from the field.
• The Heat had seven players score in double figures during their season-opening win over the Bulls.