Friday, February 26, 2010
Friday's number: 38 (plus odds and ends)
By Brian Kamenetzky
That would be the number of technical fouls "earned" by the Philadelphia 76ers, the NBA's 10th lowest total. (The Lakers, by comparison, have 61, third highest in the league.)
Yes, the Sixers, who visit Staples Center tonight (7:30 pm PT, FSN) may be suffering through a brutal 22-win season, but they're doing it with clear, cool heads and a keel so even it makes two, four, six, and eight look like odd numbers. So if the Lakers think they can capitalize on pent up frustration and goad Philly into silly T's as a strategy for victory, think again.
Fortunately, hope isn't lost. There are a few more numbers the Sixers bring to Friday night's proceedings that are a little more relevant:
97.7: Points per game (22nd in the NBA)
45.3: Field goal percentage (20)
30.25: Defensive rebounding average (22)
46.6: Opponents FG% (21)
39.7: Opponents 3-point FG (30)
-150: Season point differential (21)
There are others, and they all point to one thing: Philadelphia isn't a good team. This you knew already. As it is on most nights when the Lakers play an inferior opponent, tonight's game will be more about how the Lakers operate. Will they clean up the turnover issues plaguing them over the last two games? Will they find some rhythm offensively?
I don't worry about them dropping a potential "trap" game ahead of Sunday's critical matchup with the Nuggets, but it wouldn't hurt the Lakers to use the opportunity to get sharp, like a BCS team does against some cream puff in late September.