LeBron James, he of the iron muscles, the sweeping court vision, and the improved jump shot, is scheduled to ply his craft tonight upon the Wachovia Center floor.
He of the 2008 Olympic gold medal, the clever Nike campaign urging all to be witnesses, and the thunderous drives to the hoop that often conclude with his softly dropping the ball through the rim as if trying not to wake a sleeping baby.
He and his Cleveland Cavaliers, owners of the second-best record in the Eastern Conference - 18-3 - arrive from Toronto, where they easily defeated the Raptors last night. They meet the Sixers at 8 o'clock.
Tonight's game is the first of back-to-back contests against the Cavaliers. The second comes Friday night in Cleveland.
The attention, like sun on gleaming water, shines constantly on Cleveland's dazzling forward.
"Who?" Sixers swingman Andre Iguodala joked when asked about the impending matchup.
"He's just strong," Iguodala explained. "He overpowers guys to the basket. He's also good at setting up his teammates. His jump shot is better and better every year."
Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said he might use three guys on him.
"No, I mean three at one time," Cheeks said, only half-kidding.
"When he's catching the ball, he's not only catching it to score, he's catching it to pass, too," Cheeks said, adding that he planned to use Iguodala and small forward Thaddeus Young to defend against James.
Iguodala said that James, who had 31 points in 301/2 minutes last night, was going to "get his regardless."
Iguodala said the Sixers could try to bounce James through screens like a pinball through a machine. Iguodala called this "making the game tougher for him" so that maybe, by the fourth quarter, he would be more tired.
"Make him come off screens, make him part of pick-and-rolls, put him in a lot of the plays," Iguodala said.
These games against the Cavaliers, one of the NBA's premier teams, are a difficult draw as the Sixers, 9-12, search for their own identity.
"It's a tough back-to-back," Cheeks said.
Young, in his second season, remembers last season when, for the first time, he crouched low, knees bent, ready to guard James.
"He cleared everyone out, and he was laughing," Young said, his smile as wide as James' wingspan. "I thought to myself, 'I must be a rookie for real.' "
Free throws. Center Samuel Dalembert (left-knee fluid), power forward Elton Brand (strained right hamstring), and guard Lou Williams (abdominal strain) all practiced yesterday and were expected to be available tonight.
Donyell Marshall played with Dallas Cowboys fan LeBron James in Cleveland. "I was going to text him on Sunday night about the Steelers beating the Cowboys, but I didn't because I knew if I texted him that, he would take it out on the Sixers."
Chat with Inquirer staff writer Kate Fagan at 3:30 p.m. at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/deep-sixer/EndText