Game 34 Preview: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets

I never thought Doug Collins would be this good as a coach. I mean, this is the guy who couldn't win with Michael Jordan. So how could he make a team with Andre Iguodala as its best player any better?

By good coaching, good defense, and ball control, that's how.

According to Hoopdata.com, the Sixers are first in defensive efficiency and turnover rate. They don't get shoot exceptionally well, but they hold opponents to a eFG% of 45% (good for second in the league). They don't get to the free throw line often, but they do keep opponents off the line.

Basically, they are a team with very solid defense across the board (think JVG), but that play a more exciting brand of basketball on offense and have a ton of young exciting players. So, nothing like a JVG team.

The Sixers are 20-13 and on a four game losing streak. They are a respectable 7-7 on the road but 5-8 against Western Conference foes.

For most of my childhood, I thought Philly was a city with a bunch of thugs in West Philadelphia due to this theme song:

The Fresh Prince Extended Intro (via turkeyandbacon)

Game tips at 7pm CST. Matchups after the jump.

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Jrue Holiday:

I like Jrue Holiday a lot. But if Kyle Lowry wants to beat the team from his city badly enough there's nothing he can do. So sorry Jrue. You're just getting Lowry at a bad time, it seems.

Allen Iverson used to be the point guard for the Sixers, so this seems relevant.

(via gordievsky)

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Jodie Meeks/Evan Turner:

As VBG said, it really comes down to which Kevin Martin we get. We could get the Martin that comes out hot, or we could get the passive Martin that misses a few shots then doesn't do much until late when he decides he has to "take over" the game. If he does that, it's bad news for the Bears Rockets.

He's still better than Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner at this point, who both get ~24 minutes per game.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Chandler Parsons vs. Andre Iguodala:

I'm impressed with Parsons defense just like everyone else. But Iguodala presents a different challenge than Kevin Durant or Rudy Gay. Whereas those guys are generally looking to score and are the focal points of the offense, Iggy can pass just as well as he can shoot. He's a triple double threat against us and can find his own offense outside the offensive scheme.

It's important for Parsons to make him work a little on defense, but Iggy is a great wing defender as well.

Advantage: 76ers

PF: Luis Scola vs. Elton Brand/Andres Nocioni/Thaddeus Young:

Three players here for the Sixers because: 1. Elton Brand is day-to-day and missed last night's game against the Grizzlies. 2. Nocioni would start in his place but won't get serious minutes most likely. 3. Young will get the majority of the minutes and will kill the Rockets no matter who starts.

So I'm giving the advantage to the Sixers because of Thaddeus Young. I love the way Scola has played the last two games, but I'm terrified of Young. Terrified!

Advantage: 76ers

C: Samuel Dalembert vs. Lavoy Allen:

Dalembert faces off against his old team, that is sans Spencer Hawes, who is out.

That gives Dalembert the advantage, as I expect him to want to play well tonight.

Advantage: Rockets

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Bench/Role Players:

76ers: Tony Battie, Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Nikola Vucevic

Rockets: Goran Dragic, Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, Courtney Lee, Xiane

Advantage: Sixers; Yes, Thaddeus Young just swung two matchups

Injuries/Inactives:

76ers: Hawes out, Elton Brand day-to-day

Rockets: Jordan Hill out

Prediction: Sixers 99-93

And because I'll get in trouble if I don't put it in here (and because it's hilarious):

Make sure you get in on TCWHRO (we have to figure out another way to say that)'s fantasy basketball game. Details here. Just make your predictions in the comments, and maybe explain how you came to that conclusion so we have something to talk about.

76ers vs Rockets coverage

Liberty Ballers

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