Monthly Archive  March 2011

 
 

GM 67 RECAP: WASTED EFFORT

Posted by: Kevin Jones
03/15/11 9:42 am EST

Well, at least the 76ers didn’t completely bend over like Saturday’s degrading defeat in Milwaukee.  Monday night was wild in Utah, featuring a lethargic first half, a roaring fourth quarter comeback and (of course) more interesting late game strategies.  The Sixers (34-33) fell in overtime to the Jazz 112-107 and now own a wretched record of 2-6 in games that go to the extra period.

I was yawning in the first half, wishing the contest was a video game so I could simulate the rest of it.  And I bet most of the Sixers would’ve paid for my simulation suggestion.  The Jazz scored 60 points and led by 18.  The 7-6 behaved like they didn’t want to play basketball, allowing the Jazz to shoot 55 percent in the first half on masses of wide open midrange jumpers.  Elton Brand and Jrue Holiday combined to go 2-for-15 in the first two quarters, simply unacceptable for a team gunning for the fifth seed.  Holiday seemingly took the night off, scoring four points with four turnovers.

Coach Collins was as angrily vocal as I’ve seen him the entire season in the first half.  Dougie had several choice phrases beginning with the letter F.  He channeled that negatively energy skillfully in the locker room, because the Sixers looked like children on a caffeine rush.  Philly opened up the quarter on a 7-0 run and slimmed down Utah’s lead to 13 entering the fourth, a doable comeback by NBA standards.


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ROLLER COASTER WEEKEND

Posted by: Philadunkia
03/14/11 12:23 pm EST

I’ve never been a fan of roller coasters.  I’m afraid of heights, despise the BIG drop that initiates each ride, and hate how my stomach cringes through every flip.  You may call me a softie, I’m just not willing to risk a ‘freak’ accident. 

While no harmful ‘freak’ occurrences can happen while watching the Sixers, they certainly took me on a precarious and emotional ride this weekend that left me a little dizzy. 

It started with a monster upset over the class of the East in division rival Boston.  The Celtics appeared in the NBA Finals last season and nearly captured their second title in three seasons.  Talent-wise, the Gang Green are miles better than the Sixers.  However, the Sixers have held their own against the Championship contender. 


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DREAMING OF A PARADE

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
03/11/11 9:00 am EST

I’m falling, and falling, and falling, and then I stop.

I’m at the kitchen table in the house I grew up in and I’m eating a bagel and drinking orange juice from a coffee mug, but I’m all grown.  Or at least as old as I am now.  Maybe older.  A little.

The TV is in the same place it used to be and it’s sort of the same set, but it’s somehow newer.  Not futuristic or even modern, but shiny like it’s just out of the box and bigger than I remember it being.

The TV is on and there’s some kind of parade being broadcast.  I squint and see big men standing on passing floats and firetrucks and convertibles and waving with huge hands at people in t-shirts who cheer and roar and whistle as they go by.  One of the men on a firetruck looks kind of like Doug Collins.


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GM 64 RECAP: STAR POWER

Posted by: Kevin Jones
03/10/11 4:02 pm EST

Imagine being a child again, just for a minute. Remember the first time you played with a balloon. It was so shiny, and moved in different ways, up and down, side to side.  That’s how I felt, how you felt and how the Sixers most energetic crowd of the season felt with a 101-96 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder with 36 seconds remaining. It was exhilarating.  It had upset written all over it. It was a chance to make some real noise in the NBA circles.

Well the air in that balloon was completely punctured in the final 30 seconds of the fourth and the entire overtime period, producing a 110-105 defeat for the Sixers (33-31).  Like the Memphis collapse on January 28th, this one is going to take about a month to swallow.


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FO’ with the FOES: OKC THUNDER

Posted by: C. Smith
03/09/11 4:41 pm EST

This 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 young, talented and highlight reel making Oklahoma City Thunder. 

While we believe this is going to be a very interesting contest featuring two very young, athletic teams that play very similar styles of ball.  And we honestly think this is a huge game for the Sixers.  Basically it’s exam time for 7-6 tonight.  They’ve won 7 of the last 8, but all of those victories have come against teams with less then .500 records.  So while this recent run has been nice, it’s not all that impressive. 

Tonight should give us a very good idea of exactly where this much improved Sixers team (30-17 since the brutal start) stands among the NBA’s playoff teams.  The Thunder are 39-23 and sit in 4th place in the ultra competitive Western Conference playoff race.  A victory tonight by the Sixers would make a statement to the rest of the League that the Sixers are for real-for real.

OKC won the first meeting 109-103 on Nov. 10 thanks to 31 points from Kevin Durant.  If you recall, that game was played during Iguodala’s Achilles’ tendonitis hiatus.  For us Iguodala’s presence and the lockdown defense that’s comes with him is the key to tonight’s game.  Durant has averaged 30 points per night in his last three meetings against the 7-6.  However, the list of elite scoring wing players whom Iguodala has shutdown this year is long and distinguished.  Dre really has taken his efforts at that end of the floor to another level this season (just ask Kobe) and he is a legit Defensive POY candidate.  Simply put, if Iguodala can hold KD to 20-25 points, the Sixers win this game.

Additionally it wouldn’t hurt the Sixers cause if Jrue could keep Russell Westbrook under wraps and the Sixers bigs can control the improving Serge Ibaka. 

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


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GM 63 RECAP: WELL DONE

Posted by: C. Smith
03/09/11 11:11 am EST

Our hats are off to the 76ers as they avoided nearly all of the pitfalls we listed in our “Fo’ with the Foes” game preview on their way to a well played 110-110 road win over the Indiana Pacers.  Last night, the Sixers jumped all over the Pacers from the opening tip, played an up tempo-attack the rim style of ball and got the usual lockdown defense from Andre Iguodala.  The result in our minds was one of the more impressive wins of the season.

We say that not because of the opponent they beat, but because of the circumstances — not playing well in their last 3 contests; a “trap game” as the Thunder are on the schedule tonight; and the first night of a road then home back-to-back set — which they overcame in getting this victory.

Last year they would have lost this game by 20 points.  Earlier in 2010-11 this game probably would have tripped up Doug Collins’ troops as well.  But the Sixers showed just how far they have come with this win last night and as a result, the franchise is now 33-30 and three games over .500 for the first time since 2002-03.

With the OKC Thunder on the slate tonight, we’ll keep this recap brief.


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FO’ with the FOES: INDIANA PACERS

Posted by: C. Smith
03/08/11 4:32 pm EST

This 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 76ersopponents — features tonight’s opponent, the struggling Indiana Pacers.

We’re really torn as to which way this game will go tonight.  In our hearts we believe the rising Sixers should win in Indiana tonight against a Pacers team that has dropped 7 of their last 10 (including three straight) and is clinging to the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.  However our collective basketball minds tell us this could be a tough game for the Sixers to win for a number of reasons.

The first is that this is a classic NBA “trap game”.  The Sixers are coming off an ugly OT win over the GSW on Sunday night and up ahead on the schedule is a “big” Wednesday evening game at home vs. the OKC Thunder that has the whole city buzzing followed by another “big” game vs. Boston.  So a road contest against the lowly Pacers that is the first in a set of back-to-back games may not have the 7-6’s full attention tonight. 


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GM 62 RECAP: HELTER SKELTER W

Posted by: C. Smith
03/07/11 10:35 am EST

We all know that when you play the Golden State Warriors, there is always the possibility that your team will fall into the trap of playing their loose, free-wheeling style of ball. 

For most of the first half, the 76ers did a great job of avoiding that trap by playing smart, up-tempo basketball.  The result was an 18 -point lead during a portion of the second quarter, a season high 64 total points in the first half and a  8 point advantage at halftime.

However coming out of the locker room after the half, the Sixers stopped playing smart, up tempo basketball and the results were not pretty to watch.  The offensively gifted GSW jumped all over the Sixers in the 3rd quarter and turned what should have been a blowout victory by the home team into an unnecessarily stressful 125-117 overtime win by the Sixers.

A large portion of this victory should be credited to the Sixers (32-30) bench which contributed 67 points on the night.  The rest of the credit goes to Collins for his great strategic move he made in the 2nd half and Andre Iguodala who had another big night.


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GM 61 RECAP: TCB

Posted by: Philadunkia
03/05/11 11:01 am EST

It wasn’t the prettiest effort, but the 76ers squeaked out a 111-100 victory over the atrocious Minnesota Timberwolves.  The win avoids back-to-back losses after suffering a narrow defeat against the Dallas Mavericks this past Tuesday.  The loss is the first time we’ve swept Minnesota since the 2005-06 season. 

Philadelphia has not suffered back-to-back losses since Mid-January when they collapsed late against the Bobcats and Magic on the road.  The solid play carries over from the month of February when the 7-6 went 9-3.  That standing was the highest winning percentage (.750) in a month since February of 2003 for the Sixers.  Their opposition on the evening, is fighting at the bottom of the totem pole for a lottery pick. 

The Timberwolves got off to a hot start, thanks to our drowsy effort early in the 1st quarter, racing off to a 31-22 lead.  We were being passive, lacked intensity and failed to attack the basket, with the exception of Elton Brand.  Fueled by six points from Thaddeus Young, the Sixers went on a 14-3 run to seize control of the ball game in the second quarter.  Thad has been great off the bench of late, scoring in double figures his last eight games.  However, the stars of the night were Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala. 


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FO’ with the FOES: MINNY TWOLVES

Posted by: C. Smith
03/04/11 4:05 pm EST

This brief 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, Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Even though we feel that the Sixers will shake off their disappointing loss to Dallas from the other night — especially that horrid 4thquarter — and handle the Minnesota T-wolves tonight down at the WFC, we still believe this will be an interesting contest.  We certainly don’t think it will be another 20 point blow out win by the Sixers as was the case in the two teams previous matchup.

Obviously the Wolves have double-double machine Kevin Love manning the interior and that will present some problems for the 7-6.  As we all know the Sixers struggle mightily against talented and strong bigs.  Love has been tearing the League apart and will probably abuse the Sixers very weak defensive interior for 30 & 20 tonight.  So it will be yet another game where the Sixers have to overcome an all-star performance by an opposing post player to get the win. 

Tonight we’re looking for Doug Collins to try and get Louis Williams going.  Collins loves him some Louis, but Williams has struggled mightily in 3 of the last 4 games.  He hit rock bottom against the Mavs the other night when he went 1-8 and tallied 5 pts.  He also got abused by Jason Terry on the other end of the floor.

As well all know, Louis and his scoring punch off the bench have been a huge part of the Sixers success this season and if we want to stay above .500, then he’s going to have to get rolling again.  Collins does a great job of recognizing when a player needs a confidence boost and then calling that guy’s number until he’s back on track.  So look for the Wolves to get a heavy dose of LouWillville tonight and for the Sixers to win another one at home.

For a little more insight into the Timberwolves team the Sixers face today, we turn to our man Benjamin Polk from awolfamongwolves.com to answer two questions on the Wolves from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on the Minny squad from an insider’s perspective.


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