After last night’s pitiful performance in Washington, the Raptors arrive in “The City of Fratricide” tonight to determine which team will take over sole possession of last place in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers and Raptors share the same 2-9 record and Philly is on a four-game losing streak. For the second night in a row, the Raptors’ opponents will sit their best player — Andre Iguodala in this case — because apparently the Sixers have determined that’s how a bad team can ensure they dominate the Raptors.
The Sixers may not actually be as bad as their record indicates since their “Expected W-L” record based on points scored and allowed is 4-7. (Coincidentally, the Raptors have the same “expected record”.) Since Iguodala is out of the lineup with Achilles tendinitis, the somewhat rejuvenated Elton Brand could be the Sixer to watch out for tonight. He’s not the daily 20/10 threat he used to be, but he’s a solid 16/8 player who plays smart and scores efficiently. With his body type, Reggie Evans will likely be the primary Brand defender tonight.
Toronto: Leandro Barbosa and Ed Davis are out, but you already knew that.
Philadelphia: No Iguodala, as previously mentioned.
1. Will Jay Triano shake up the starting lineup tonight in an attempt to jolt the team out of complacency?
2. Is Sonny Weems a candidate for Most Improved Player if he keeps up his recent level of play?
3. Should the Sixers have drafted Evan Turner second overall in the 2010 draft when he’s a shooting guard whose only apparent above-average skill is rebounding?
4. Will you be able to hear Andrea Bargnani sipping his espresso on the bench in the half-empty Wells Fargo Center?
5. Will the Raptors play like men tonight or will they play like a Bosh?
Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Reggie Evans, Andrea Bargnani
Philadelphia: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Andres Nocioni, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes
Tonight’s pregame song is “The Battle of Who Could Care Less” by Ben Folds Five, for obvious reasons.