Monthly Archive  February 2011

 
 

ISSUES FROM 1st HALF of SEASON

Posted by: Philadunkia
02/28/11 3:39 pm EST

Surpassing our win total from last season and being playoff contenders on the last day of February was far from expected.  At 30-29 the Sixers have gone through many trials and tribulations this season but playing this successfully under new head coach Doug Collins should be applauded. 

Without a single All-Star, a quality center and a disappointing — thus far — No. 2 overall draft pick in Evan Turner, the Sixers will be looking to pull off a first-round shocker this postseason.  Philly fans have grown accustomed to competitive winning teams in the Eagles, Phillies and Flyers, while the Sixers have been out-casted in recent years.

Not anymore though.  This team is starting to make noise and gain recognition with a core roster that features six of it’s top eight scorers under the age of 25.  The two older players (keep in mind Iguodala is only 27) that round out the remaining top eight scorers are Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand. 

Yes his enormous contract sucks, but Brand has played exceptionally after disappearing under the supervision of former coach Eddie Jordan.  Brand leads the team in scoring and rebounding. 

Andre Iguodala is the only player in the NBA besides LeBron James to average at least 14 points, five rebounds and six assists.  He’s not throwing up as many field goal attempts but there is no disputing the result:  More victories for the 7-6. 

With all that being said, I must bring attention to some flaws from the current NBA year.  Don’t mean to be a ‘Negative Nancy’ but this has been far from a perfect year.  Let me bring attention to you five major issues we made a mistake on (in no particular order).


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GM 59 RECAP: ONE UP

Posted by: Philadunkia
02/28/11 10:39 am EST

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been the laughing stock of the NBA this season.  The old Sixers, you know the ones from November, lost to this scrub team twice (in November).  The new and improved Sixers, who are accounted for the last 43 games of this season, have now defeated the Cavs twice. 

Cleveland’s sad season features the worst losing streak in all of sports when they accumulated 26 consecutive losses from late November to early February.  Much can be blamed on the devastating franchise loss of LeBron James to South Beach, but losing that amount of games in any fashion is unacceptable for a professional ball club. 

Heading into the bout verse the 76ers they were 3-2 in the last five with a win over the rejuvenated New York Knicks on Friday.  Despite a late game surge to get within three points, which was saved by a Thaddeus Young steal with a few ticks below 15 seconds remaining, the Cavaliers fell short 95-91 to the Philadelphia 76ers. 

For the Sixers this marks their very first four game winning streak and the only time this team has surpassed .500 record-wise.  You can credit this team’s success to the easy challengers it faced in Houston, Washington, Detroit and the League’s worst team, Cleveland. 

A real test for the Sixers will come on Tuesday night against Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks who are sitting pretty at 43-16 and are cruising with a six game win streak. 


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GM 58 RECAP: .500 BALL

Posted by: Philadunkia
02/26/11 10:34 am EST

With a 110-94 victory over the embattled Detroit Pistons, the 76ers reach a .500 record for the first time this season at 29-29.  Something that didn’t seem plausible after the 3-13 start to the season. 

However, thanks to a winning month in February, the Sixers have now recorded winning records in three consecutive months.  An accomplishment that hasn’t been met since the 2000-01 season. 

The 7-6 controlled the tempo from the opening tipoff fending off the Pistons for all 48 minutes.  The Sixers got out in transition and ran all over the depleted Pistons collecting 31 fast break points.  The Sixers also attacked the basket with a vengence scoring an astonishing 68 points in the paint.

It’s the ninth time we’ve amassed at least 100 points in the last twelve games including scoring at least 110 points in four of those games.  When the Sixers are in triple digits their record is 19-9.  When this team is pushing the tempo for easy buckets and relentlessly attacking the paint they’re a tough out. 

For a team that started off 1-4 at home, they can now hold their heads high with a respectable 19-9 home standing.  If you a look at last season, you’ll notice the huge strides that have been made at the Wells-Fargo Center since the Sixers were a low 12-29 at home.  Prior to the 2009-2010 season, the Sixers recorded 11 straight winning seasons in their arena. 


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FO’ with the FOES: DETROIT PISTONS

Posted by: C. Smith
02/25/11 6:27 pm EST

This Friday evening edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent, the Detroit Pistons who are the only thing standing between the 76ers and a .500 record.

That’s right Philadunkia nation, a win at home tonight would pull the Sixers even at 29-29.  That’s a pretty unbelievable feat considering the 3-13 start this team put up.  When the Sixers win tonight (and we believe they will secure a W down at the WFC), it will mark the first time they have been able to boast being a .500 team since November 11th 2009.  To say that it’s been a long time coming is an understatement.

Despite an abundance of confidence in the 7-6 tonight, we do have two areas of concern for the Sixers in this game.  The first is rookie big Greg Monroe.  He’s really come into his own recently (12 ppg. & 8.8 rpg. this month) and hit for a season-high 27 points and 12 rebounds the other night. We all know that the Sixers have trouble defending strong and talented bigs.  Also look out for Sixer killer Rodney Stuckey.  Detroit’s leading scorer (15.1 ppg) has averaged 24.7 during his last three visits to Philadelphia.  If Monroe and Stuckey get going early and give the Pistons some confidence, it may be enough to pump some life into this team and spark a rally for an upset.  Don’t forget the Pistons beat the Sixers into Detroit back in January (112-109). 

Those two concerns aside, we strongly believe the Sixers’ defense is too good and we are just too talented for the chaos that masquerades as the Pistons to have any real chance tonight.  The Pistons are tied for last in the NBA with 90.9 points scored per game on the road.  We all know that the Sixers can play the lockdown (96.8), so don’t expect a big scoring night from Detroit.  We also don’t think the Pistons can stay with the Sixers offensive weapons.  We especially like the chances of AI9 regaining his scoring touch tonight as ‘Dre is averaging 21.0 points per night in his last nine runs vs. the Pistons. 

The usual solid defense, Brand and Holiday scoring the ball, solid contributions off the bench from Thad and Louis, capped off by a big night from ‘Dre will be more then enough to produce a W for the Sixers tonight.

For a little more insight into the Pistons team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Dan Feldman from pistonpowered.com to answer two questions on the Pistons from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Detroit squad from an insider’s perspective.


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TRADE DEFECIT

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
02/24/11 12:40 pm EST

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

- Mary Schmich

Within 36 hours earlier this week, the Sixers’ horizon — one that had started to look fairly bright of late — got a little cloudier.  Two storm fronts blew in. 

One was forecasted.

The other blindsided us.

They both warrant a review through our red-and-blue glasses.


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GM 57 RECAP: FAST START TO 2ND HALF

Posted by: Kevin Jones
02/24/11 11:42 am EST

Raise the roof.

That’s how Thaddeus Young (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (20 points on 8/12 shooting) were celebrating up and down the court after Young slammed home an alley-oop from Elton Brand, putting the 76ers up 78-60 late in the third quarter.  The Sixers (28-29) would go on and hand the Wizards their 27th road loss this season, 117-94 at Wells Fargo.

The evening was filled with excitement and animation from the Sixers bench, both on and off the court.  Players were literally jumping out of their seats, high-fiving and almost gloating in front of the Wizards, a team who earlier this season handed the Sixers two crushing overtime defeats.  At one point early in the third quarter the entire team went bananas after a Spencer Hawes tip-in dunk.  


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NOTES, LINKS & TWEETS

Posted by: Philadunkia
02/23/11 11:21 am EST

According to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD, the 76ers have interest in 7-0, 250 pound Suns castoff Earl Barron.  A four year NBA vet, Barron (3 ppg. & 3.3 rpg. in 2010-11) played in 12 games for the Suns this season, but has not seen action in a NBA game since December 20th.  The Knicks are also said to be interested.

Sam Donnelon of Philly.com / The Daily News is suggesting a trade of Andre Iguodala before this year’s deadline.

Over at Bodog.com they have posted their prop bets for the second half of the NBA season.  The Sixers are listed at 175/1 odds to win the NBA title and 75/1 to win the Eastern Conference. 

Zac Jackson at Foxsports.com has moved the Sixers all the way up tp #17 in his weekly “NBA Power Rankings”.  Jackson comments, “the Sixers are inching towards relevance whether or not they make a move at Thursday’s deadline.”


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MID-TERM GRADES

Posted by: Kevin Jones
02/22/11 12:23 pm EST

The “first-half” of the 2010-11 NBA season has been an interesting and wild ride for the 76ers.  From heartbreaking losses to glorious upset wins and everything in between, we have truly been watching the transformation of a franchise this season. 

Here’s the good we’ve discovered about the 2010-11 Sixers…Teams around the League don’t like playing the 76ers (27-29).  They know they’re going to have to fill their gas tanks and work for buckets.  They know the Sixers get some of the best bench contributions in the entire League.  They know that the 7-6 hardly ever turns the ball over and thus rarely beat themselves.  

On the flip side, everyone knows that the Sixers are still learning how to play “the Doug Collins way”and some glaring weaknesses have been exposed in the process.  They have trouble closing out tight games as the squad is still developing a killer instinct.  Philadunkia’s home team also struggles to get buckets at clutch time.  At the other end of the floor, defending opposing bigs is still a huge issue.

Today I’ll break down the good and the bad of this first half of 2010-11 by handing out my mid-season grades to the eight player rotation that Sixer fans have seen on a consistent basis during the first half of the season.

Grades after the jump…


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A LOOK AT THE 2nd HALF

Posted by: Kevin Jones
02/21/11 10:53 am EST

There are 26 games left on the docket and the numbers 15 and 11 are numerals which tell the story on the surface.  15 games remain at home and 11 on the road.  There are 15 games remaining against teams under .500 and 11 games left against above .500 opponents.  Finally, the Sixers need to go 15-11 to finish above .500

Underneath the surface is a team who shouldn’t even be in this discussion.  The key components are virtually the same as last year’s lottery team.  An overpaid, undersized power forward in Elton Brand. A lockdown combo small forward who doesn’t score much.  A 20-year-old point guard, among a throng of others who are barely the legal age to drink.  And a rotation of centers that’s sketchy at best.

But that’s what’s fun about this team.  They are doing what they weren’t supposed to do.  A New York Knicks turnaround with Amare, now that was expected.  I could have told you Chicago would start blooming with Derrick Rose’s growth and the addition of Carlos Boozer.


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IF YOU BUILD IT…

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
02/18/11 10:17 am EST

The Sixers, it was said with regularity and certainty in the run-up to this season, had lost their city.

Philly is a baseball town now, said some.  Philly is a football town, always has been, countered others.  Philly is a college basketball town, argued a few. 

Why would I even watch the 76ers when the Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers consistently compete for championships and they compete for lottery picks, explained others, justifying their indifference.

The strongest argument, and the most common, though was silence: as in the only time people talked about the Sixers was to discuss why no one was taking about them.

The chorus became louder (quieter?) still when on opening night of this season the WFC greeted the Miami LeBron’s, the offseason’s conquering heroes and the hottest ticket in basketball since the ’96-97 Bulls, with a collective “meh” in the season-opener.

The chorus was off-key though.  The Sixers hadn’t lost their town, they’d just misplaced it.


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