Hello Philly it has been awhile. This crazy journey that has been the Raptors season started with back to back wins for Philly in the pre-season. Back then Allen Iverson was about to find a home in Memphis under the direction of God. The Sixers looked really good in those 2 pre-season contests. However things in the pre-season are not always as they appear. Reggie Evans and Jason Kapono who were traded for each other played in those games. Kapono since has found little playing time with his new team and Reggie would of course be injured latter in the pre-season and has yet to suit up for a regular season game. So normally we would talk about the impact of the trade on the two teams as they hook up for this first meeting of the regular season. However the impact for both sides has been little to none on the floor. In terms of Kapono I honestly though with Eddie Jordan bringing his Princeton offense that Kapono could be a weapon in it. Jordan like Mitchell and Triano before him has not been able to find a way to use Kapono effectively. Jason can always win a 3 point contest but in real games his lack of ability to create his own shot is an issue.
While Reggie Evans continues his long road back from that injury vs the Celtics in the pre-season. A return date is still unknown but all signs are pointing in the right direction for Reggie to face his former team at some point this year but not tonight. Allen Iverson found his way back to Philly and the team has been slightly better with him than without out him since he arrived. Iverson is not the same guy that once torched the Raptors on a regular basis but he still is someone you have to account for. It is the other A.I that has taken up the charge of being the Raptor Killer. Andre Iguodala like Raptor fans has never got over the fact that Rob Babcock drafted Hoffa and not him. The Sixers head into this one at 10-24 with a loss over the Wizards that was more famous for the pre-game finger guns than the fact the Sixers blew a huge lead once the game got started.
Leo Rautins "favorite" Sixer Sam Dalembert had a 20 and 20 performance in that loss. The Sixers signed Sam to a rather hefty contract with the hope he was going to develop into a good player. However the nights he plays at a high level are few and far between. That being said the return of Iverson has been a bit of a spark for Sam and he has been a little bit better. A lot better in that game vs the Wizards. Sam has always had issues with fouls that sometimes can derail him early in games. His shot blocking ability is always something to be aware of regardless of how he is playing good or bad. Andrea Bargnani can have a big night if Sam ends up on him as he is not that willing to wander to far from the paint.
If there is one thing the Raptors have done well in this stretch of winning 7 of their last 8 games, it is beating the teams they are suppose to beat. The Sixers more than qualify in that regard. Even the New York Knicks are playing better than the Sixers. That being said the Sixers are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Allen Iverson said that in that last lost to the Wizards it was like giving them a late Christmas present. So safe to the Sixers will at least try to be motivated to rebound from that performance.
The Raptors really seem to be hitting their stride and are growing better and better on the defensive end of the floor. They will need to continue in that as the Sixers do have a few folks that in the past have given them headaches. But anything short of a win tonight would be a major disappointment even if it is on the road. Speaking of which if you thought the return of A.I would improve attendance in Philly it really only did for that first night back. The Sixers are one of many teams that have had some serious issues at the gate this season. The team's record does not help in that regard. It seems in these tough times economically winning is vital in almost ever market even ones that in the past have been traditionally good NBA cities.
Will see what happens tonight as the Raptors return home to face Boston on Sunday. I am suppose to be scheduled to that one for The Score. I will post the links for that on my Twitter Account @dinonationblog and try to get them up here as well. Also doing the Radio in Montreal tonight at 12:15am as Off The Bench Returns from the Christmas Break. So there will be lots to talk about on the show as we have been off for basically this entire Raptor win streak.
Game Note: Allen Iverson is a game time decision tonight for Philadelphia.