Battle of the Sixes: Sixers and Blazers Face Off in 6th-Seed Showdown

Battle of the Sixes: Sixers and Blazers Face Off in 6th-Seed Showdown
March 19, 2011, 3:00 pm
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Well, it doesn't feel like we particularly earned it with our play on this road trip--which includes that blowout loss in Milwaukee and that ridiculous comeback-cum-choke-job in Utah--but with their blowout win in Sacramento and the Knicks' pitiful loss in Detroit last night, the Sixers have officially climbed up to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. What's more, with the Hawks getting drubbed by Miami and now with only a three-game cushion for their position, the Sixers might even be able to climb up to fifth before all is said and done. (Not like it really matters all that much, since a matchup with the fourth-seeded Magic and their MVP-caliber center Dwight Howard might be the least advantageous of all. But it's something nice to tell the family at Thanksgiving, y'know?)

Anyway, tonight, the Sixers continue their West-Coast swing in Portland, whose post-season positioning is looking a lot like Philly's right now. The Blazers currently sit at sixth in the West, tied with the Hornets and a game-and-a-half behind the Nuggets. Despite seeming like a mid-season write-off of a team with Greg Oden out for the season and Brandon Roy perpetually lame with knee injuries, the team has become resurgent behind career years from power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and swingman Wesley Matthews, and has been reinvigorated of late by a deal for do-everything forward Gerald Wallace. Chris Webber recently called on NBA TV that the Blazers would upset whoever they faced in the first round of the playoffs, and it's certainly looking like a possibility, with the team recently posting huge wins against contending teams like the Heat and Mavericks. 

10:00 tip from the Rose Garden. Andre Iguodala will not be suiting up for the Sixers tonight, looking to rest his gimpy right Achilles into the Sixers' four-game break after tonight's outing. Look for Evan Turner, who had his first solid game in a while (4-8 for 8, three boards, three dimes) against the Kings last night to (hopefully) get the start in his place, though the team will definitely miss 'Dre's lockdown D against Portland's seemingly-endless supply of dynamic wing players, including Wallace, Matthews, Roy and Nicholas Batum.

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