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Game 57 Preview: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets

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I've never done a 76ers preview, so I think that makes them the last team for me. I've completed the cycle. I'm actually really proud of that.

The Sixers played the Grizzlies last night and pulled a Rockets by scoring 10 points in the opening frame. Unlike the Rockets, the Sixers were unable to pull out the win after pulling within one point in the third quarter. They lost 102-91.

The 76ers are relatively strong on defense, giving up an average of 97 points per game. They average 22 assists per game, just one less than the Rockets, and commit only 13 turnovers a game (good for second in the league). So the Rockets will be hard-pressed to steal the rock and convert easy baskets, which is how they pulled away from Denver.

The Sixers are 26-29, good for seventh in the East. I hate being in the West...

Update: Courtney Lee out with pneumonia. Link here.

Matchups...

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Jrue Holiday:

Very brief talk about matchups today. Tired.

Holiday is averaging 14/6/4. That's much better than I thought he was averaging.

Advantage: Even

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Jodie Meeks:

More Calvin and Hobbes!

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via 1.bp.blogspot.com

Yeah, K-Mart is looking good. He was off against Denver, but as Tom said, it's important for the bench to be able to perform when K-Mart and Scola play poorly. In contrast, K-Mart has to play well to keep the bench up when they aren't performing at an all-world level like they did against Denver.

Meeks is another Wildcat who played with Patterson under Billy Gillespie. Meeks is averaging 12/5 in his last five games, much better than his season average.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Shane Battier vs. Andre Iguodala:

Iggy can hop. He averages 15/6/6 and shooting 46%. That's pretty good.

Shane is Shane.

Advantage: Sixers

PF: Luis Scola vs. Elton Brand:

Brand is averaging 15/9 on 52% shooting. I think I'm impressed, and I know he's been playing really well as of late, and is one of the reasons that the Sixers have become relevant again and are in the midst of the playoff mix, just like the Rockets.

Advantage: Rockets

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Spencer Hawes:

I like Chuck here. For real.

Advantage: Rockets

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Bench:

76ers: Lou Williams, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Darius Songalia, Andres Nocioni

Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Courtney Lee, Chase Buddinger, Brad Miller, Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill, Terrence Williams (HAHA!)

Advantage: Rockets, I hope

Injuries:

76ers: None

Rockets: Yao out, Lee out (pneumonia)

Prediction: 76ers win with late 4th quarter push

76ers vs Rockets coverage

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