Game-by-Game Predictions for Philadelphia 76ers' December
The Philadelphia 76ers are closing in on the month of December and they have a chance of making strides in the standings.
After opening the season with presentable 9-6 record, it can be said that they slowly but surely establishing themselves as a playoff team.
Thus far, Philadelphia ranks 7th in the league in points allowed per game (93.4). However, they have struggled to consistently produce offensively, ranking just 26th in the league in points per game (92.2).
Despite their stellar defense, they evidently need to put it together offensively. With guys like Jrue Holiday, averaging over 18 and 9 assists per game, and Evan Turner, averaging over 12 and seven boards, exceeding expectations, it can be said that there is certainly capability.
The month of December is a great time for them to tie things together and consistently produce. Along the way they have favorable matchups, but at the same time there will the inevitable losses.
Let's take a look at their December schedule in more depth...
Sat, Dec 1 @Chicago
Prediction: Win (1-0)
They are also a great defensive team (they rank one ahead of the Sixers), and more importantly they rank seventh in the league in rebounds per game oppose to the Sixers' ranking at 18th.
When the Sixers cannot get boards, they struggle. In three of their six losses this year, they out-rebounded significantly. Keep in mind they were against the Cavaliers, Pistons and Bucks. It only shows that teams of the same or lesser tier can take a win away from the Sixers solely from rebounding.
That said, the Rose reason holds strong and it has also caused the Bulls to be just as lackluster on offense as they rank just 24th in the league.
So count it as a win for the Sixers, but it should be a close game.
Fun fact: Evan Turner and Joakim Noah are two of four players in the league who average at least 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game. The other two are LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Tue, Dec 4 vs Minnesota
Prediction: Win (2-0)
I want to say it's all about stopping Kevin Love. It has to be, right? Well, yes and no. Obviously the guy is tank; he averages over 24 points and 14 rebounds per game after returning from injury. But Minnesota has yet to win a game with him, despite his consistent production. Call it an enigma, but it is what it is.
Anyway, Jrue Holiday and Ricky Rubio should be an interesting matchup.
The Timberwolves are a talented team with potential, but they still need to develop. Philadelphia picks up some major experience points right here.
Will they stop Love? Probably not. No one really does. However he is the only support for a case to be made for a Timberwolves win, but that sole reason alone has yet to be deemed as strong.
Fri, Dec 7 vs Boston
Prediction: Loss (2-1)
The Sixers have Boston's number this year after defeating them 106-100 earlier in the season. In fact, the offense was extremely efficient as they shot nearly 50 percent from the field and 53 percent from three point range. Holiday and Turner also recorded great games (Holiday with 21 points and 14 assists and Turner with 25 points and 11 rebounds).
However, despite their success it is hard to imagine an outing like this to happen again, and we additionally need to acknowledged that Rondo killed the Sixers yet again; this time recording 14 points and 20 assists.
His production has yet to be stopped, and it probably will not be in the near-future.
Plus, the game will be nationally televised. Call me crazy, but I'm not investing on the Sixers' luck here.
Sat, Dec 8 @Boston
Prediction: Loss (2-2)
I have to be consistent here. Assuming the Celtics defeat the Sixers in Philadelphia on national television, the odds are heavily in their favor at home.
Hopefully it does not turn out this way, but if the Celtics take game one, its hard to see the Sixers taking game two on the road.
Mon, Dec 10 vs Detroit
Prediction: Win (3-2)
OK this should be an easy win for them. Then again, it was also an expected win in their last matchup and that did not happen.
What went wrong last time? Well, they let Greg Monroe go off as he scored 19 points and grabbed 18 boards. Boards. The Sixers were out-rebounded 57-38.
Oh yeah, and the Sixers shot a horrific 29 percent from the floor.
It was a bad game overall by the Sixers. It simply was not their night and, yes, it would happen against the Pistons (Seriously, why do they always do this? Why couldn't their off night be against the Jazz or something?).
Fortunately though, it is hard to imagine this type of night to happen again, and the Sixers should be able to learn from their mistakes.
Wed, Dec 12 vs Chicago
Prediction: Loss (3-3)
Theses teams face each other twice in December and I do not see either going without a loss. The reasoning for this was already established: Chicago's superior rebounding working heavily for them and Rose's injury heavily working against them.
The Sixers generally matchup well against the Bulls, so you could argue to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, it is hard to predict a Sixers' win (two actually) prior based on what the Bulls are and are not doing rather than what the Sixers are likely to do.
The night the loss happens is a toss-up, but the Sixers will most likely incur a loss in one of the games.
Fri, Dec 14 @Indiana
Prediction: Win (4-3)
The key matchup to look for in this game is Evan Turner vs Paul George. George, drafted the same year as Turner, is averaging 15.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assist respectively and it can be argue that he has put together a better career than Turner thus far.
George, who is an incredibly athletic scorer, will provide a great challenge for Turner defensively.
Indiana definitely has the size advantage with 7-2 center Roy Hibbert. However with an absences of Danny Granger, it gives the Sixers an easier time on the defensive end and diminishes the offensive production from Indiana naturally.
It will be a close game and could go either way, but I give the edge to the Sixers.
Sun, Dec 16 vs Los Angeles Lakers
Prediction: Loss (4-4)
To think that we were all expecting this to be a great Andrew Bynum/Dwight Howard battle illustrates on its own how unlucky the fans of Philadelphia have been this year.
Anyway, the Lakers are clearly the better team of the two. Kobe and Dwight alone seal the case.
That said, the Sixers usually give a full effort against big-time teams like the Lakers. But nevertheless, Los Angeles should still prevail despite a possible strong push made by the Sixers.
Tue, Dec 18 @Dallas
Prediction: Loss (4-5)
Considering Dirk Nowitzki is in no rush with his injury, the Sixers should be able to take advantage here.
Although even with Dirk out of the picture, the Mavericks made last night's game very winnable for them as they lost by just two points, 100-98 (the Sixers really got away with one last night).
Plus, we witnessed from our old friend Elton Brand some serious production in the post as he recorded 17 points and eight boards. The Mavericks are still a competitive team, folks, and Old Chevy is doing his part.
The Sixers are in Dallas and playing on the road is always tough. Dallas just adds to the pressure.
Wed, Dec 19 @Houston
Prediction: Win (5-5)
I see Thad thriving here, and honestly it is a pure gut feeling. You heard it here first.
The Rockets have been very hesitant with who they play at the power forward slot, debating between Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris. Despite who they choose that night, Young will take take over (I'm telling you, it's the gut).
Houston resides at a mediocre 7-7 record, but they do draw a threat on the boards. In fact, they rank fourth in the league in rebounds per game. And they also have this guy named James Harden who is having a spectacular season (25 points and five assist per game).
It won't be easy, but my gut-feeling of Thad going off compels me to believe that this will be a game carried by an unsung hero, this time Thad Young.
By the way, who isn't excited to see a Holiday/Jeremy Lin matchup?
Fri, Dec 21 vs Atlanta
Prediction: Win (6-5)
In recent the history the Sixers have generally fared well against the Hawks specifically because the Hawks are also an undersized team. In fact, they also happen to be great defensively and mediocre offensively just like the Sixers.
Josh Smith and Al Horford is a talented front-court, but it is one very capable to defend. Smith tends to struggle with the outside shots, so if he is forced out the paint the Sixers should have no problem. As for Horford, he is just undersized in general, which makes it easy for the Sixers' big men.
Aside from these two guys, the Hawks lack significant talent compared to the Sixers. The Sixers additionally have the assortment of three point specialists, a point guard playing great, Turner, and more.
Overall, these are two fairly even teams, but the talent level on the Sixers is more convincing here.
Sun, Dec 23 @Brooklyn
Prediction: Loss (6-6)
The Brooklyn Nets are extremely talented and have put together a solid start so far. The Sixers split the series in the preseason, but Deron Williams and Brook Lopez were not stopped by Philadelphia either time.
Not being able to stop Lopez is expected because of their current holes in the front-court, and Holiday's defensive performance against top point guards has always been a concern.
Wed, Dec 26 @Memphis
Prediction: Loss (6-7)
The Memphis Grizzlies, currently holding the best record in the league, have been playing great basketball. In fact, they took down the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks in three consecutive games, soon to defeat the Lakers.
Memphis also has one of the best front-courts in the league with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Unfortunately the Sixers have an undersized front-court that is vulnerable to a duo like them.
The Grizzlies have been on fire lately and unless they somehow lose their groove (which does not seem even close to happening) it would just be foolish not to predict them as the winner of this game.
Fri, Dec 28 @Golden State
Prediction: Win (7-7)
Although the Golden State Warriors have started off 8-6 and rank third in the Western Conference, they only have one true quality win against the Nets. Other than that, they have lost to nearly every solid team they have faced (Thunder, Lakers, Nuggets, Grizzlies, etc.).
Now, I am not calling them a fluke because they are talented. They have guard play that can match the Sixers and a better frontcourt with stud David Lee.
That said, the vulnerable Warriors' defense is one that at least one player on the Sixers will take advantage of (most likely Holiday or Turner).
Sat, Dec 29 @Portland
Prediction: Loss (7-8)
This game is a toss-up, but LaMarcus Aldridge is where I give Portland the edge. Basically, the Sixers do not have anyone that can effectively stop him. He is averaging nearly 21 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and already has four double-doubles.
Playing at power forward at 6-11, Lavoy Allen will be the only force the Sixers can put up against him. With all due respect to Allen's solid defensive abilities, Aldridge is a stud.
On top of this, Nicolas Batum and red-hot rookie Damian Lillard are strong forces difficult to stop on the defensive end.
Sadly the Sixers have a tough matchup to close out the month.