Monthly Archive  February 2012

 
 

FO’ with the FOES: OKC THUNDER

Posted by: C. Smith
02/29/12 3:07 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 key upcoming 76ers games — features tonight’s opponent, Kevin Durant and the red hot Oklahoma City Thunder, who may be the best team in the NBA not from Miami. 

We believe this is going to be a highly entertaining contest featuring two very young, athletic teams.  It’s also a huge game for the Sixers as it basically is exam time (again) for 7-6 tonight.  The Sixers went 5-2 during their “death row” stretch in February and one would have thought that would put the League and the “experts” on notice that this squad was for real.  However there were those who still refuse to recognize the Sixers as a quality team and the recent 5 game losing streak only served to give those doubters more ammunition.  A victory tonight by the Sixers could make a strong statement to the rest of the League and the haters that the Sixers are for real (again).

But a W will not come easily tonight.  If fact we’re not liking the Sixers chances vs. the Thunder.  Forget for a second that OKC currently owns a 5 game winning streak and that the Sixers are 1-5 in their last six.  Also try to ignore the stat that tells us the Thunder have won 5 in a row in this series.  What has us worried for tonight’s contest is Russell Westbrook and the match-up nightmare he will present for the 7-6.  The Sixers struggles vs. the League’s elite point men (D-Wil and Parker to name two.) in 2011-12 have been well documented on this site.  Westbrook is yet another of the best lead guards in the Association.  Given his history vs. the Sixers (29 ppg. last year) and the Sixers issues with top PGs, Russ should have a monster game tonight.  That would likely doom any hopes of a Sixers victory.  Then throw in All-World wingman KD as well as Serge Ibaka, James Harden and Thabo and the Thunder present a lot of offensive fire power for the Sixers to overcome — at both ends of the floor — in order to grab a W.

The hope for a Sixers win tonight lies in two things.  The first is the fact that OKC turns the ball over a ton (League’s highest turnover rates at 16.9 per.).  Obviously under Collins, the Sixers value the rock and live off their tough defense that takes it away from opponents.  If the Sixers can get a slew of TOs, get out on the break, score a lot of easy baskets and avoid half-court situations, it could help lead to an upset tonight.  But easy baskets won’t be enough.  The second item the Sixers will need tonight is superior bench play.  Outside of Harden, the Thunder bench is decent, but does not measure up to the “Night Shift”.  If the 76ers starters can play even or better against the first-five from OKC and then Thad, Louis, Nik & Co. have an outstanding game vs. the Thunder’s second unit our chances of a win certainly improve.  Lots of easy buckets + dominating bench play = Sixers W.  

One other interesting note: 6 of the Thunder’s 7 losses this season have come on the road. 

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 four questions on the Thunder from an insider’s perspective for us here at Philadunkia.


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GM 35: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: Jeff McMenamin
02/29/12 8:59 am EST
Philadelphia 76ers 97 FinalRecap | Box Score 68 Detroit Pistons
Elton Brand, PF 22 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +14

Brand did a little bit of everything in this game.  Although he wasn’t necessarily a force offensively, he made an impact defensively notching three steals and three blocks.  At this point Brand doesn’t need to do all that much for the team offensively for the team to succeed, but it would be nice if he can continue this defensive intensity moving forward.

Andre Iguodala, SF 30 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 12 PTS | +17

Andre Iguodala fresh off of a nice All-Star game performance showed a little bit of All-Star flare in this one.  Iguodala led the team with 4 steals, had a couple nice dishes and slams in transition, and surprisingly was able to shoot 2-3 from beyond the arc!  He hasn’t been that effective from the outside since February 1st when he went 2-3 from deep in a win against the Bulls.  This is the type of game we’d like to see from Dre every night.  If he can limit his shots to high percentage looks while also creating looks for teammates and being a lock-down defender then the Sixers are going to be very successful the rest of the season.

Lavoy Allen, PF 17 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +8

Lavoy got the start, but wasn’t really needed in this game. Four of his “Night Shift” teammates received more minutes than him as he spent much of the game on the bench.  I’m sure he would’ve much rather been sleeping on his couch; Andre Iguodala wouldn’t have minded either

Jodie Meeks, G 36 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +21

Solid overall performance from Meeks.  Doug Collins will do anything to keep Meeks on the floor to stave off reporters asking for his head.  So you know if Meeks logs over 30 minutes in a game, over better players like Evan Turner or Lou Williams, then Meeks had himself an above average game.  He shot efficiently going 4-7 from the field for 12 points, had a couple steals, and played great defense on the likes of Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon.  Meeks logged 36 minutes in this game. When Meeks plays 30 or more minutes this season, the Sixers are 8-4(with two of those losses coming in overtime). Unfortunately for him, his play is usually too streaky though to get him that kind of minutes. This is typically a good thing for the Sixers though.

Jrue Holiday, PG 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +13

Jrue, like Brand and Iguodala, also shined on the defensive end notching three steals by games end.  He also added 10 points and dished out five assists.  Not incredible numbers by Holiday, but he did enough to keep the Sixers ahead.  He applied great pressure on rookie Brandon Knight who shot only 2-8 from the field.  Followers of this team are hoping he can find his rhythm both offensively and defensively in the second half of the season. He has a tough task against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder next game.

Lou Williams, PG 25 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 13 PTS | +21

Remember when the Sixers let Andre Miller walk in hopes that Lou Williams could handle point guard duties for the team? That turned out to be a complete disaster, but in this game he showed that all the training he had to do did not go to waste(maybe Eddie Jordan did do something right?). Lou notched a game-high seven assists while adding 13 points.  He’s now hit 10 or more points in 31 games this season.  The seven assists tied a season-high (which he had in the disaster of a game against the Magic).  Sometimes it’s better to make the extra pass than taking the extra shot, but people have to realize that Lou was mentored by Allen Iverson who averaged 21 career shot attempts per game.  Lou in comparison has only four games where he’s shot 17 or more this season. Hopefully this is the result of his other mentor, Andre Miller.

Thaddeus Young, F 29 MIN | 9-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 20 PTS | +23

Young set the tone for the Sixers in this game and exemplified the kind of heart and hustle the Sixers had been playing with before their five game skid by All-Star weekend. Young had 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half.  He also added eight boards, two steals, and two blocks.  It was only Young’s fourth 20 point game this season after reaching the 20 point mark 15 times last season.  He’s the x-factor for this Sixers team, and his performance in this game is the reason why he was given a 5-year $43 million contract in the off-season.  Just please don’t embarrass yourself on a freebie again.

Evan Turner, SG 25 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +18

Evan Turner had an MVP type performance in the NBA’s Rising Stars Competition over All-Star weekend scoring 16, rebounding 11, and dishing out seven in a win for Team Chuck over Team Shaq.  It should’ve been enough, if Team Chuck didn’t also have Kyrie Irving who went 8-8 from beyond the arc for 34 points, while dishing nine(As Stewart Scott would say, “the dude is sick nasty”).  On Tuesday night, Turner didn’t do quite as well but still contributed in the Sixers win.  He played great defense while on the floor as well as hit for eight points, grabbed seven boards, and dished out three assists.  Turner now has 12 games this season where he’s grabbed at least seven boards, he had 15 all of last season.  His highlight of the night was a sweet full-court dish to Thaddeus Young, which can be seen here.

Nikola Vucevic, C 24 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +16

See Lavoy Allen. Just like his rookie counterpart, Vuc didn’t need to do much in this game and the two had nearly identical stat sheets. I’m excited for Spencer Hawes’ return for two reasons. One, because he’s an absolute factor in the success of the team this season. Two, because the battle for minutes between Lavoy and Vuc is going to be exciting to watch. These two rookies give it their all when they’re on the court and contrast each other perfectly. Imagine Big Nik trying to fit in at Temple University or Lavoy Allen sitting around a Montenegrin hookah bar. It would be high comedy at its finest.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Last Night


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THE NEXT 10

Posted by: Philadunkia
02/28/12 8:53 am EST

The 76ers come out of the All-Star Break in the midst of a 5 game skid in which they have averaged just over 83 ppg. and shown an inability to do much offensively, while also showing some rare defensive lapses.  The recent swoon begs the question: Which team is this?  The one that got off to an 18-7 start following a big comeback win against the Lakers, or the one that has dropped the last five?

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. 

Injuries to the front-line have hindered the team as of late, as well as Doug Collins’ sometimes confounding lineups.  Among all of this concern and the Knicks becoming the darling of the Atlantic Division,  the 76ers do after all enter the second half of the 2011-12 season at 20-14 with a 3 ½ game lead in the Atlantic while leading the League in Defensive Efficiency and posting the third best point differential in the entire NBA. 

They have lost a fair number of close games, which although frustrating, is something that can easily improve in the Sixers’ favor with some good fortune.  Among all of this turmoil, the team stands on pace for roughly 40 wins despite missing one of its most critical players in Spencer Hawes for much of the season.  The mere fact that the team has lost 5 straight serving as a cause for concern is actually quite refreshing when considering the team’s recent history. 

Nonetheless, when will they turn it around? Further, what can we constitute as “turning it around?”  Does Doug Collins need to consider starting Vucevic and finally give Turner steadier minutes?  The post-ASB stretch for the 7-6 does not appear immediately favorable, similar to the 7 game “death row” gauntlet from earlier this year.  6-4 or 5-5 may be genuinely the most favorable outcomes for the team in their next 10.  Without further ado, let’s look ahead.

 
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IT’S YOUR MOVE

Posted by: Philadunkia
02/27/12 11:05 am EST

If 76ers CEO  Adam Aron gave you two moves to improve this current 76ers team, what would you do?

That was the question posed to a few of the scribes here at Philadunkia. 

Would you make a trade or…trades?

Would you sign a freee agent that’s still out there?

Would you change the starting lineup? (FYI…Nocioni is not the answer.)

Would you tweak Doug’s rotations or his X&Os? 

Basically you get to play GM with this post and fix this team right now.

And if you don’t think this team needs some fixing, then you haven’t been watching closely during the recent 5 game losing streak.

Our ideas after the jump…

 
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MIDSEASON REPORTS

Posted by: Philadunkia
02/24/12 10:23 am EST

The 3-2 opening road trip and the overall hot start.  L’s vs. New Jersey, at New York (pre Emperor Lin) and Minnesota as well as two reality check smackdowns at the hands of the Heat.  Wins over Chicago, the Lakers and Atlanta — twice.  And of course the current five game losing streak.

To say the start of the lockout shortened 2011-12 season has been a wild ride for the 76ers is an understatement.

By now you’ve watched enough Sixers basketball and listened to the opinions of enough national “experts” to form your own thoughts on this team and where they are headed this season.  Still in an effort to provide you the reader with educated reviews on how the Sixers year has played out thus far, the scribes here at Philadunkia — people who eat, drink and sleep the 7-6 — have typed up their recaps for the first half of the 2011-12 season. 

According to the Philadunkia staff, one thing is for sure, despite the very positive start to the season, the 2011-12 76ers still have a lot of work ahead of them.

 After the jump…Here we go.


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GM 34: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: C. Smith
02/23/12 9:54 am EST
Philadelphia 76ers 87 FinalRecap | Box Score 93 Houston Rockets
Andre Iguodala, SF 37 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -14

Despite 4 first half TOs, another solid night from Dre.  But again we need more.  As the “leader” (notice we did not write “star”) of a team that is in the middle of a 4-game losing streak, you have to be more assertive and carry your team to a W if necessary.  Scoring 2 points in the 4th Q of a very close game is not acceptable for an All-Star selection.

Lavoy Allen, PF 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -3

Lavoy’s surprising rookie year continues.  What has amazes us is how strong this kid is on the blocks.

Tony Battie, C 18 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1

What do you want from this guy?  He’s like 40 and has no right starting in the NBA.

Jodie Meeks, G 34 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -3

Capt. Streaky was set to have a huge game only his 3-point stroke went MIA last night.  Meeks had some wide open looks from deep and the Sixers desperately needed him to drain one or two of those 3PAs, but he couldn’t find the bottom of the basket.  Still, he hit a bunch of 2′s, played decent defense and got to the FT line, so all and all an okay night

Jrue Holiday, PG 22 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -12

Foul trouble plagued Jrue all night and it’s a shame because we wanted to see more of him vs. Lowry.  Also his shot was off, Jrue only dropped 2 dimes and had zero FT attempts.  That’s 3 straight games where he has failed to get to the FT line.  He did however have a nice 4th Q, including a stop of Houston’s red hot Martin and a quick bucket at the other end. His left hand finish at the 2 min. mark was also a thing of beauty.

Lou Williams, PG 34 MIN | 4-13 FG | 9-11 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | +6

Jrue’s foul trouble produced a lot of minutes for LW and that meant a lot of ill advises shots for LW.  His 2-7 start from the field did not help things in the 1st half.  Still he did drive the ball to the hole and get to the FT line 11 times last night, which is something we have been begging the Sixers to do.  But he also hoisted his fair share of long 2′s which is what the Sixers need to stop doing.

Thaddeus Young, F 32 MIN | 6-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | -5

Mr. Consistent had another solid night.  It’s just too bad his energy and offensive punch weren’t given the chance to bring this one home for us in the final stanza.  The refs also handcuffed Thad as he was the victim of a horrendous charge call (it was flop by Lowry) in the 4th that stopped some momentum the Sixers had going.

Evan Turner, SG 19 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -1

His defense in the 2nd and 4th Q’ was stellar, but 1-6 from the field in 19 mins. is not going to get you out of Doug’s doghouse.

Nikola Vucevic, C 28 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | +3

“Big Nik” kept the Sixers in the 1st half all by himself.  Included in his career high 18 points was a 6 point outburst in the late 1st Q (12 pts. in the 1st half), some solid post moves and a host of impressive offensive rebounds that he capitalized on.  Why the hell Collins took him out of the game in the mid-second Q for Battie is beyond comprehension.  Collins should have stuck with Nik’s hot streak all the way to half time.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Last Night

 


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GM 33: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: C. Smith
02/22/12 9:34 am EST
Philadelphia 76ers 76 FinalRecap | Box Score 89 Memphis Grizzlies
Andre Iguodala, SF 41 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 11 PTS | -11

The numbers are decent, but when your squad has lost 3 straight and is slumping badly, the “leader” (notice I did not say “star”) of the team has to have more then a solid night.  It looked like for a stretch in the 2nd Q (put back dunk & block of a Rudy Gay lay-in) that Dre would step up and take charge, but it did not last.

Andres Nocioni, F 6 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -8

The fact that even saw the court vs. the big and physical Griz, let alone was in the first-five is an absolute joke.  Mo Speights simply abused him in the 1st Q.  However, we can’t put all the blame on Noc as Collins deserves a lot of the blame for this CD.

Lavoy Allen, PF 29 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -5

Allen was solid on offense all night and grabbed some key rebounds as well.  Lavoy had a fair amount of trouble guarding Gasol, but we question why Collins gave him the assignment in the first place.

Jodie Meeks, G 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -4

Capt. Streaky had a middle of the road night for a change.  He recovered from an 0-2 start to shoot 50%, but there has to be a 2-guard out there somewhere who can actually help this team, right?

Jrue Holiday, PG 36 MIN | 9-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | -21

His 13 points in the first half (three 3PAs in the 2nd Q) kept the Sixers in this game, but Jrue had zero points in the 4th Q when the Sixers needed someone to get them over the “down 4-points hump”.  His stat line looks great at first glance, but take a closer look and you’ll see that he only had 4 dimes as well as ZERO free throw attempts and 3 TO’s. Your starting PG has to get to the charity stripe and do a better job of getting others involved.

Tony Battie, C 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +5

Battie did a nice job in the late second and into the early third of holding Gasol in check and helped spark the Sixers comeback in this game.

Lou Williams, PG 27 MIN | 2-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -12

Louis started slow 0-4 to start the game and he never got any better 2-13 total on the night.  Instead of driving to the tin in order to get easy buckets or trips to the FT line, Louis tried to get himself going with long 3′s and running leaners.  It didn’t work.  We all know the Sixers need LW to score if they are to be successful.

Thaddeus Young, F 32 MIN | 3-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -6

The Sixers slump has even caught up to their most consistent player.  His block at the 3:37 mark of the 4th Q was an amazing athletic feat, but other then that it was a quiet night for Thad.

Evan Turner, SG 26 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +9

Evan’s stat line isn’t pretty (it also includes 3 TOs), but Turner’s defense and rebounding were a big part of the Sixers turning the game around and making it respectable during the late 2nd and then into the 3rd Q.

Nikola Vucevic, C 14 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -12

Big Nik seemed to struggle with the physical nature of the Grizzlies bigs, so Collins limited hi s minutes.  We’d like to have seen him in the starting line up alongside Allen.  We bet he would have had a better game.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Last Night…


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POINT OF EMPHASIS

Posted by: Jerry Scherwin
02/21/12 1:39 pm EST

In Shakespeare’s classic and perhaps most iconic play, Romeo and Juliet, Ms. Capulet famously asks herself the question, “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” 

This, an annoying question of which I was physically forced against my will to break down, chew up, spit out and then write a 20 page paper on seems relevant right now; for I myself am asking a similar question:

“What’s in a point guard?”

I love Jrue Holiday.  That much isn’t a secret on this site.  Between Jrue and Doug Collins, I have a sports woody comparable to Bill Simmons’ for Larry Bird and anything that has the word “wicked” in front of it.

I love Jrue’s upside.  His presence.  His school (UCLA is the best point guard producing school EVER).  His background.  His name (still trying to talk my girlfriend into naming either the dog or our first born Jrue).  And his ability to rival the performances of the elite point guards in the League.

With that said, WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING WITH JRUE?

 
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WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

Posted by: Tim Parker
02/21/12 10:11 am EST

It took just two weeks for the euphoric hysteria that surrounded the surprisingly awesome 2011-2012 edition of the Philadelphia 76ers to turn into the lukewarm realization of what many had known from the beginning. 

The truth is that the Sixers are a middle of the road team in the Eastern Conference that lack the one true spark that could propel them to the upper echelon of the NBA.  Sure, they are well coached and are fundamentally sound but in the end they don’t just have the personnel to contend for a championship. 

Yet, they never were supposed to be considered a contender, were they?

Still, as the all-star break approaches they sit in first place in the Atlantic Division and sit in 3rd place in the East. 

How did they get here?


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HOW IS THIS A FOUL?????

Posted by: C. Smith
02/20/12 2:01 pm EST

Yes, we’re still very bitter over last night’s foul call on Dre.  We know how upset Doug Collins was about the horrible call last night and apparently Rod Thorn was not very happy about the call either.

Take a look at the video and you’ll that Dre’s hand is on the ball the entire time that Kevin Love drives to the tin.  This play has to be whistled a jump ball or it’s a no-call.  For the refs to bail Love out like this is just awful.

RIDICULOUS