Though it could hardly be classified as surprising, exactly, last Tuesday's loss at home to the Mavericks was still a tough pill to swallow. Yeah, the Mavs are probably a better team, but the Sixers were right there the whole game, and only came a few fourth-quarter jumpers away from pulling off a win that would have, as one of our commenters succinctly put it, put the league on notice. Now the Sixers have to be re-evaluated as a "Well they're good, but are they really all that good?" Which is fair, probably, but still disappointing.
At the very least, one thing you've got to give the Sixers--they've been beating the teams they should. The Sixers haven't lost to a team with a losing record since January, when the 22-24 Grizzlies beat them at the beginning of a hot streak that would eventually land them in the West playoff hunt. The Sixers hope to keep that streak alive as they host the Minnesota Timberwolves--a dangerous team, but one that a Really Good team should be able to handle fairly readily.
The Wolves currently sit at 15-47, good for last place in the West standings. They've been bad everywhere, but they've been particularly bad on the road, where they're an absolutely miserable 5-25. Despite yet another trip to the lottery, though, they've at least been home to one of the great breakout stories of the '10-'11 season: Power forward and rebounding machine Kevin Love, whose streak of 48 consecutive double-doubles is closing in on the 51-long stretch of Moses Malone in '78-'79. Coming off a 20-20 in a win at Detroit, Love shows no sign of slowing, and might be able to feast on the boards against the oft-undersized Sixers.
7:00 tip from the Wells Fargo Center. ""It's imperative to win those games at home," said Elton Brand in advance of tonight's game. "Coach said about a month ago, ‘We don't lose two home games in a row...It's a big deal for us [to win Friday]." Word. Let's do it.