Originally posted on Buzz On Broad  |  Last updated 1/4/13
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports    When the Philadelphia 76ers (15-18) take on the Oklahoma City Thunder  (24-7) tonight in Chesapeake Energy Arena, they’ll certainly have their hands full. Not only do the Thunder post an All-Star combo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but as a team, OKC also owns the best winning percentage in the entire league at .744. The Sixers come into this game currently the eighth best team in the Eastern Conference and three games under .500. Entering their 7th game of their 8-game road trip, the Sixers are 2-4 in their first 6 games are coming off a rough 95-89 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. “How can the Sixers overcome such staggering odds”, you may ask. Thaddeus Young is the answer.  While the red, white and blue have been largely reliant on the play of electric guards Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner to carry the team offensively this season, the Sixers would be better off relying on Young in tonight’s matchup. Back on November 24, when these two teams met in the Wachovia Center, they played very tight and ultimately battled into overtime. Eventually, the Thunder won 116-109, but these teams do usually play each other very close. With that in mind, its not unrealistic that tonight’s contest will be a close affair into the 4th Quarter. Considering the Thunder’s usual crunch-time lineup doesn’t include starting center Kendrick Perkins, head coach Doug Collins has some game-planning to do. The Thunder usually put out a late-game lineup that features Serge Ibaka at center, Durant at the power forward, Thabo Sefolosha and Kevin Martin on the wings along with Russell Westbrook at the point. This means that Durant will most likely be assigned to cover Thad defensively while Ibaka sticks either Spencer Hawes or Lavoy Allen, whoever Collins feels is the right fit for tonight. Durant stands at 6-9 and is very sinny and lanky. ESPN.com says that Durant weighs 235 pounds, but that’s most likely soaking wet. Young stands at 6-8, 235 pounds and plays much bigger into his body. With Young being more of a tough-nosed post player than Durant a stingy low-post defender, the Sixers should really look to utilize Young when they really need buckets in crunch-time instead of chucking up a barrage of 15-foot jumpers when the game is winding down. But, when Doug Collins is weighing matchups and is called upon to make in-game adjustments, nothing is ever guaranteed.     Jake Fischer is a Sixers contributor for Buzz On Broad. He also serves as the CAA Columnist for RantSports.com and writes for numerous sections of the Huffington Post. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @JakeLFischer.    
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