The 2010-2011 Philadelphia 76ers produced a gratifying first season under Doug Collins. The team finished first in protecting the basketball, was 6th in assists with a 20-year-old starting point guard, effectively defended the perimeter and covered up its glaring weaknesses (lack of a big man, lack of a closer, young roster etc.) as well as any squad in the NBA.
A 26-15 home record and a 16-14 record against the superior Western Conference were pleasant surprises. How about even having double digit leads in four out of the five postseason games against the Heat. The bench play behind Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams ignited a majority of the Sixers41 wins. But the change in defensiveintensity is what pushed Philadelphia from lottery front runners to one of the most underrated teams in basketball. The Sixers were 36-15 when they allowed under 100 points.
However, heartwarming it was to obtain the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers lost a bunch of close games. And by a bunch I mean 15 LOSSES by five points or less, compared to just seven wins. And this team was 2-8 in overtime. That record doesn’t entirely reflect the roster. Doug Collins has to do some soul searching this offseason and figure out a way the 76ers can close out games against superstars.
There’s five games I’ve selected that should’ve gone the other way, that should’ve pushed the Sixers above the Atlanta Hawks for the 5thseed. Remember, there was a point when the surging Sixers were just 2 games behind the Hawks and grabbing the 5th seed looked like a realistic goal.
Let’s go back and time and lokk at a few of the blemishes on the Sixers outstanding 2010-11 season.