Mar 4, 2011, 6:44 PM EDT
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.
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