This post trade deadline edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent the San Antonio Spurs and Eva Longoria.
We’re going to keep this one brief as we are still disgruntled about the 76ers inability / refusal to pull off a blockbuster trade that cleared loads of cap space. Thus we have no idea about the direction for the future of this franchise, are very down on the Sixers organization right now and don’t have the energy to preview this game.
The Spurs have an advantage over the Sixers (20-33) in every facet of the game. They’re better on paper. They’re better on the court. They’re better statistically in almost every category. They’re playing better ball right now (winners of 2 straight). They certainly have a significantly better head coach. In short the Spurs should win this game tonight at the Wachovia Center without much of a problem.
However we give the Sixers a long-shot chance in this game for two reasons. The first reason is that in 2009-10 the Sixers have continually risen up and played their best ball against the NBA’s elite teams. Against teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Nuggets, Cavaliers, Trailblazers and Mavericks; the Sixers have frequently either hung tough and lost a close game or even pulled off the occasional upset. Since the Spurs still cling to elite team NBA status, we are expecting a Philly-max effort against the Spurs tonight from the Sixers, not the garbage we witnessed against the Heat earlier this week.
The Second reason we give the Sixers a long-shot chance at pulling off an upset tonight is that the Spurs are playing their sixth game of an eight game road trip. Even though this away game stretch was broken up by the All-Star weekend, the Spurs have not run at home since January 31st and played at Indiana on Wednesday night. So they should be road weary and thus there is always the possibility for an upset.
For a little more insight into the Spurs team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Graydon Gordian from 48minutesofhell.com to answer two questions on San Antonio from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Spurs squad from an insider’s perspective.
Philadunkia : The Spurs are 31-21 and sitting rather uncomfortably in the 6-spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Are the Spurs capable of making a run here in the last 25 games or so to move up in the standings or will they be clinging to their playoff lives come April?
Graydon Gordian @ 48minutesofhell.com : I don’t think they’ll be clinging to their playoff lives, but I don’t see them making a particularly impressive run either. Despite all the moves we made this summer, I think this season will end similar to last. Duncan, although he has been excellent this year, is likely to wear down as the season drags on and Parker’s plantar fasciitis will not heal until he takes a serious break from basketball. In other words, I think a tidy first round exit is in our future.
Philadunkia : What if any moves would you liked to have seen the Spurs make at the trading deadline?
Graydon Gordian @ 48minutesofhell.com : Something. Anything. It has nothing to do with contending this season. I don’t think there was a move the Spurs could have made that legitimately lifted them back into contention. But our inactivity leaves us in a precarious position headed into this off-season. The Spurs have only seven roster spots filled, but those alone will cost the Spurs slightly over $56 million. In other words, the Spurs head into this off-season with a lot of work to do and few ways to do. At the very least I would have liked to have seen the front office use our expiring contracts to solidify our 2010-11 roster, even if that meant taking on a couple of undesirable contracts.
1) The Spurs have not fared well in Philadelphia lately. San Antonio has lost seven of nine road matchups with the 76ers since the 1999-2000 season. In the teams’ last meeting in Philadelphia, Thaddeus Young scored 27 points and Andre Iguodala added 21 with eight assists and five rebounds in the 76ers’ 109-87 rout last season. The home team has won the last five meetings in the series.
2) Tim Duncan looks to bounce back from Wednesday’s 4-of-23 performance from the field. It was the worst shooting effort of Duncan’s career in games in which he had more than 18 attempts. Despite his ice cold shooting, Duncan still grabbed 26 rebounds – 10 in the fourth quarter – and added five assists as the Spurs won at Indiana, 90-87.