Coming off their solid performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night it was disturbing to see the 76ers crash back to pathetic basketball against the Miami Heat on Sunday and then again last night vs. the lowly New York Knicks.
However we can not blame the players for what happened in the last two games as it’s clear that to us that a directive has come down from above and the tank in on.
The Sixers (23-44) basically held tryouts over the last two games for their bench guys. In an effort to help determine which bodies they want to keep around for 2010-11 several “role” players received extended minutes in Miami on Sunday and then again last night vs. the Knicks. Stefanski had to know that making such a move against D-Wade and the Heat would be a huge risk and could very well get you throttled, which is exactly what happened at American Airline Arena on Sunday (104-91). However, even when at full strength, the Sixers have struggled against the Knicks this season so one would be crazy to think the Sixers could continue playing the reserves for extended minutes and win at home vs. the pitiful NYK. Well, last night Louis Williams was out with a “lingering” back problem and Mo Speights continues to sit with his gimpy knee, so the reserves again saw a ton of tick, and shocker, the Sixers dropped another one to the Knicks, this time by 10 points (94-84). It was the fifth straight loss for the Sixers and their 10th in their last 11 games.
We agree with the opinion that it’s in the best interest of the Sixers to lose a lot of games here over the final month and a half of the regular season and thus get as many ping-pong balls a possible, but we disagree with the way they seem to be going about it. We’d much rather see Philadunkia’s home team go out there compete hard, play exciting basketball and lose the way they did last Friday night against Cleveland, then watch the garbage that has gone on during the last two games. But we guess the only way the Sixers brass felt they could guarantee Ls at Miami and vs. NYK was to use Eddie Jordan a puppet master and have him handicap the team. So it seems official to us that the tank is on and if you are a die-hard Sixers fan and plan on watching to the bitter end, you may want to strap up as this could get real ugly coming down the stretch.
Philadunkia Notes :
- One interesting observation we have from the last two games is that while guys like Jason Kapono (25 mpg. over the last two) have suddenly and mysteriously freed themselves from Eddie Jordan’s bench prison, the team’s ‘superstar” and face of the franchise has hauled back-to-back nights of 42+ minutes of play. Why? What does AI9 have to prove to the 76ers front office? Is Jordan punishing Iguodala for the “terrible attitude” and body language Jordan believes he has displayed over the last few weeks? Are the minutes self-inflicted? Did Iguodala go to Stefanski and state that he was not going to be part of the tanking and demand to be played unless he asked out of a game? We’ll probably never know, but one thing is certain, the increased minutes for AI9 at this point in a train wreck of a season certainly is odd.
- What does Jodie Meeks have to do to see some run? After getting 8 minutes at Miami on Sunday, Meeks was a DNPCD again last night. The only other Sixers not to play last night — Louis and Speights who obviously were both out with injuries. How are we supposed to evaluate this 2-guard that we gave up a second round pick for if the kid never plays? Even with Louis out last night, Jordan didn’t get Meeks into the game. Instead he started AI9 in the back court with Jrue Holiday and gave his main man Willie Green 34 minutes off the bench. That’s just awful long run strategy for this franchise and goes against the tanking directive that appears to have come down from above. But it’s no shocker to us that Jordan did something that makes no basketball sense as that’s been a pattern all year.