2013-2014 Game 61 Preview: Thunder prepare for win versus 76ers

On that Russia Haterade (While still being relevant to Philadelphia, woo hoo!) - William Bennett Berry

There's going to be an exhibition game tonight, as the 76ers have already surrendered.

2013-2014 NBA Season
76ers_medium
@
Thunder_medium
15-45
Lost 14

45-15
Won 2
March 4th, 2014
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
7:00 PM Central Standard Time
TV: Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Comcast Sports Network Philadelphia
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM/640 AM),  WPEN 97.5 The Fanatic
Injury Report: Kendrick Perkins (Out), Thabo Sefolosha (Out), Nerlens Noel (Out), Jason Richardson (Out)
Previous Matchups: Jan 25 (Thunder Lead Season Series 1-0)
Probable Starters
Michael Carter-Williams PG Russell Westbrook
James Anderson SG Andre Roberson
Hollis Thompson SF Kevin Durant
Thaddeus Young PF Serge Ibaka
Henry Sims C Steven Adams
2013/14 Advanced Stats
102.6 (1st) Pace 97.7 (T-10th)
96.0 (30th by 2 points) ORtg 107.6 (6th)
106.9 (Four way tie for 26th) DRtg 100.3 (4th)

Let me make this clear: The Thunder are the only NBA level team that will take the floor tonight.

Honestly, I'm not trying to be hateful. The 76ers are an honorable organization, and I'm sure the fans in Philadelphia appreciate their huge gamble at acquiring a big star over the off-season. But they have absolutely no intention of winning this game.

Of course, the players on the team are a different story, and the coach will be playing them the obligated amount of minutes. But only two of them have any sort of guaranteed future in Philadelphia. The rest of them aren't good enough to regularly play minutes on most NBA rosters, and will likely have trouble finding teams next season.

Let me put this in perspective. Before the February 20th trade deadline, the 76ers had lost 9 straight. After the trade deadline, they haven't lost by less than 11. Of the five teams they've lost to, only the Magic had any sort of trouble burying the team by the end of the first half. Thaddeus Young is taking roughly the same amount of shots as KD. Michael Carter-Williams is almost turning the ball over more than he assists it. If Philadelphia wins tonight's game, it would be an absolute miracle.

Of course, there's always the potential for a miracle, but it's extremely unlikely. This isn't a low-seeded small college that's used to beating up on bad competition all year. The 76ers are literally an amalgam of the NBA's rejected players, all of whom have been thoroughly disproven on this level. Some of them have gone eons since their last good performance, their former teams having thrown them by the wayside. Others are only in Philadelphia because the Sixers wanted a second round pick. Any upset would take overcoming that gigantic mental barrier, as well as unreal performances from Young and MCW.

Funnily enough, we should see some familiar faces tonight. Eric Maynor, our backup point guard from 2009-2011, will be playing for the Sixers. He did a fantastic job working with James Harden on the bench before an ACL injury early in the 2011-2012 season sidelined him. When returning in 2012, he could never achieve the offensive effectiveness that he once had, and became too much of a liability. Before long, he was dished to the Blazers for a second round pick, and his stats have progressively declined since. He didn't get many minutes for Washington earlier in the season, and was recently dished to Philly as a token part of the Andre Miller deal.

B.J. Mullens, another reminder of our past, will also be in the house. He was the result of our first round pick back in 2009, when the Thunder were looking for any sort of help at center that they could get. (Kind of like now, except a bit worse.) Strangely enough, the Mavs sniped Mullens right before the Thunder picked, and OKC had to dish Cuban some cash in order to acquire him. As it turns out, that wasn't a worthwhile move. Mullens never caught on with the Thunder, and has spent his career trying to develop himself into a poor man's Dirk. His jumper has never been reliable enough for him to fill that role though, and he's never been able to make himself a non-liability in a lesser role. Thus, the Clippers literally paid the Sixers to take him off their hands.

If those two weren't enough to get you excited, this could be your last chance to see former training camp invitee Hollis Thompson. A late injury in his Georgetown career kept him off the draft boards, but the Thunder gave him a shot before cutting him in the 2012 pre-season.

Anyway, if you're in the arena, give those three a big cheer when they take the floor. They might not be names you'll remember 10 years down the road, but they all played a part in bringing the Thunder to where they are today.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 156, Philadelphia 76ers 109.

What do you think of tonight's game? Let us know in the poll and comments!

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