Not to get all sentimental or anything, but can you believe this is
really the last game against a Western Conference opponent that the
Philadelphia 76ers will play all season? As a result of the
lockout-shortened schedule, inter-conference games have been greatly
reduced this year, and so after the Sixers head to San Antonio tonight,
they'll be sticking in the East for the rest of the season. Crazy,
right? Feels like just yesterday we were touring the West for our
season-opening five-game swing, doesn't it?
Anyway, the Sixers' farewell to the Mountain and Pacific time zones
comes with one of the conference's toughest matchups—the San Antonio
Spurs, 19-4 at home for the season. As they were last year and just
about every year in memory before that, the Spurs are again one of the
NBA's best squads this season, weathering age and injury, quietly
retooling and winning the same way they always have—inexplicably, and
repeatedly. Sixers fans will no doubt remember that they've already met
with the Sixers once this season, beating the Ballers in Philly back in
February behind an incredible 37 points and eight assists from Tony
Parker, including a perfect 13-13 from the line.
So, do the Sixers stand a chance the second time around, this time in
the Lone Star State? Well, the Sixers do have the advantage of catching
the Spurs in the third game of a back-to-back-to-back, and coach Gregg
Popovich has never been shy about either yanking veteran starters early
or just not starting them at all in such games—and, indeed, it's been
reported that Hall-of-Fame power forward Tim Duncan might be sitting
this one out, along with injured reserves Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter.
That certainly improves our chances, though if Jrue Holiday and company
can't contain Tony Parker this time around, it won't matter all that
7:00 tip from the AT&T Center. You guys know that Mad Men is over two hours tonight? We might already be into the 1970s by the time this thing is done.