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Game Thread 1: Bucks/76ers

Fresh Prince: In West Philadelphia, neither born nor raised.




October 30, 2009 - 6:00 PM CT
Wachovia Center

TV: FSN Wisconsin HD Radio: 620 WTMJ

Probable starters:

Brandon Jennings
PG Louis Williams
Michael Redd
SG Andre Iguodala
Luc Mbah a Moute
SF Thaddeus Young
Kurt Thomas
PF Elton Brand
Andrew Bogut
C Samuel Dalembert


Three Points

  • The Point. When news arrived that Jennings would start (gracias, Scott Skiles -- I like Skiles pronounced in Spanish), my eternal point-guard-state-of-mind inevitably turned to a charming little opening night matchup: Louis Williams vs Brandon Jennings. Williams (6-1, 175) is one of the few starting points in the NBA who is both as slight as Jennings (6-1, 170) and as potentially electric.

    So while Jennings won't be physically overmatched, make no mistake: He will face a steep challenge defending the Sixer point guard. Sure, Williams made a nice 3.8 free throws per game last year; more illustrative is that he drew 174 fouls and attempted 1018 field goals, for a DrawFoul% (yes, DrawFoul%, it's almost 2010, party people) of 17.1. For perspective, Ramon Sessions led Milwaukee at 15.7 last year. Translation: It ain't easy staying in front of Williams. Then again, Williams shot a career-low 39.8 % from the field last year, so questionable outside shooting is another facet the starting point guards might share. However, Williams started Philly's opener in fine form, converting 6-9 from the field (and 2-3 from outside) for 18 points, 4 assists, and no turnovers in a 120-106 loss in Orlando on Wednesday.

  • Marreese's Pieces in Sam's Club. While the Sixers were the NBA's worst three-point shooting team last season, they are liable to inflict much harm in the paint. We know Williams is able to get into the lane at his leisure. And Philadelphia has a trio of very capable big men in Samuel Dalembert, Elton Brand, and Marreese Speights.

    The Haitian Sensation in particular has scored much historical success against Bogut -- especially in the last three head-to-head matchups, all Philly wins. In those three contests, Dalembert averaged 12.7 points, compared to Bogut's 4.7. That will not work. And don't overlook Speights, who made 10-11 from the field for 26 points off the bench in the team's opener. Meanwhile, defensive ace Mbah a Moute will shadow (among others) the fast-rising Thaddeus Young, whom the Sixers settled for on draft night a couple years ago, writes Bob Cooney at, oh dear...

  • Little did they know that then-general manager Billy King was working the phone lines feverishly. So busy was King looking for a deal that he did not come out to address the media about his draft night (which also included getting current backup Jason Smith) until just after midnight.

    "Our main thing that night was to move up to get Yi," King said recently. "We were trying to get up in the top where the proven players were, which was clearly in the top seven or eight. As it turns out in this case, maybe some of the best moves you make are the ones you don't make."

    And maybe fighting for a playoff spot and landing late in the lottery isn't always so precarious. Let's remember to cheer for wins, only settle for a high draft pick, and not the other way around. Speaking of which...
  • Game Prediction? Personally: Bucks 88 Sixers 86 (not Frank-co-signed). Surely the Sixers will look sharp -- they'll don an updated, classic uniform this year. But it's late-October and thus, Milwaukoptimism doesn't spoil for easily one, two weeks. What say you?
  • Philadelphia Coverage

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