LINK DUMP: GAME 5 PREVIEW EDITION

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
05/08/12 3:51 pm EST

A win tonight and the Sixers advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003, where they’ll square off against one of a pair of teams they went 5-1 against in the regular season.

So that’s the good news. The bad is this: to get there, they still have to take a game from a prideful Bulls team that is, while profoundly depleted, formidable.

And to do that they’ll probably need the benefit of the continuation of some recent trends that don’t look entirely sustainable.

(Free throw shooting, Spencer Hawes eating people’s faces, terrible injuries to integral members of the Bulls; these things come to mind.)

But get excited Philadelphia. We certainly are.

Five and a half hours out from tip-off, here are some links to whet your appetites.


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GAME 3 PREVIEW: STAY GROUNDED, SIXERS

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
05/04/12 2:28 pm EST

My uncle spent an afternoon in the emergency room around a decade ago after his dog bit through his hand. “Denny” was a mild animal of what vets admitted was uncertain ancestry, loved and lovable, but he’d been hit by a car and so spent the last hours of his life in a terrified frenzy. He didn’t know where he was, or what he was doing. My uncle had seen him get hit—he was chasing a bird, I think, and ran right into the path of some kind of sedan—rushed to his side to comfort him, and the dog bit deep into his palm. Denny was, in those last moments, gripped by fear, capable of anything. That was how he died.

The lesson: be very weary of wounded animals, even, maybe especially, the ones you think you know.

Its corollary: be very weary of the Chicago Bulls.


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ROSE NOW WILTED, THE SIXERS ODDS HAVE IMPROVED…SLIGHTLY?

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
05/01/12 1:59 pm EST

He didn't read this article.

Scottie Pippen reportedly told the Bulls that, even without Derrick Rose—the hard luck star who’s now minus a functioning left ACL—they’re the league’s top team.

“You’re still the best team in the NBA … so go out there and play like it,” Pippen wrote the disheartened bunch, in an open letter that was published on the Bulls’ website.

Still the best? Without Rose? This is a partisan, Pollyannaish, and flat ridiculous notion for the former Bull to advance. And it also might be…true?


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RIP: THE INTERNET EULOGIZES DERRICK ROSE’S ACL

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
04/29/12 12:49 pm EST

As a basketball fan, and a human being who likes to see decent, hardworking, people succeed, I’m crestfallen by the Derrick Rose injury. The NBA Playoffs is, to a unique extent, a space where the very best in the world compete. And to see that competition reduced is a loss.

In the interest of honesty though, I should also acknowledge this: I’m a Sixers fan. And the fact that this injury significantly improves my team’s odds of continuing to play on in this tournament is a silver lining I can’t help but see and feel.

So, ambivalence deep set, I turned to the Internet to help clarify my feelings on the biggest playoff injury of my lifetime.


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PLAYOFFS, GM 1: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
04/28/12 4:17 pm EST
Philadelphia 76ers 91 Final

Recap | Box Score

103 Chicago Bulls
Elton Brand, PF 35 MIN | 8-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | -13The vet was more or less the only thing the Sixers had going in the first half, entering the break 7-of-10 from the floor with 15 points, 4 rebounds and a pair of rejections. And though he cooled from that point onward, he was still the closest thing to an MVP the Sixers had this afternoon.
Andre Iguodala, SF 39 MIN | 3-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | -4Ughhh. It’s one thing to intellectually understand that Iguodala does a lot of helpful things on the basketball court besides score, and so it’s not fair or useful to judge him solely through that prism. It’s another to watch him shoot 3-of-11 from the floor and look tentative/incompetent on the offensive end in a playoff loss.
Lavoy Allen, PF 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -6Getting the (somewhat) surprising start, LA grabbed a nice early offensive board, but disappeared into Joakim Noah’s shadow for the rest of the night. (With that bun, Noah leaves a pretty big shadow)
Jodie Meeks, G 11 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -6These were 11 wasted minutes. You might as well have given them to me. Or, I don’t know, another professional basketball player.
Jrue Holiday, PG 36 MIN | 7-18 FG | 1-3 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | -25Jrue started off hot, hitting a 3-pointer in the first minute that gave the Sixers their only lead, but he forced things after that. I like that he seems to take it upon himself to create offense in big moments, that’s admirable, but I would also like it if he did so a bit more efficiently. 16 points on 18 shots, I hate to say, doesn’t help you win. In his defense, however, his defense on Rose was great.
Lou Williams, PG 27 MIN | 1-6 FG | 7-8 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +6Though his shot wasn’t falling, Lou did have some success getting to the stripe and, as always, making them count once there.
Thaddeus Young, F 25 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -2Thad had his midrange game going for a bit, but I’d like to see more from him in transition. A lot more.
Spencer Hawes, C 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -3The Sixers prospects would be much improved if Spence could help out inside. The Bulls biggest area of advantage, both today and in the rest of the series, is inside. Off the top of my head, I can think of one guy who could do something about that.
Evan Turner, SG 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | -5The author of the “better matchup” line that got hung around the Sixers neck these last couple days delivered an uneven performance. I did, however, enjoy and respect the kerfuffles he got into with Noah, then Boozer, then Hamilton. He doesn’t back down from the big guys.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw


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PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS: BRING ON THE BULLS?

Posted by: Philadunkia
04/28/12 7:00 am EST

“Jesus, everything ends badly. Otherwise it wouldn’t end.”

-Cocktail

Only four times in NBA history has an 8-seed lived to see the second round of the playoffs—the most recent survivor being, of course, the 2011 Grizzlies—and if the Sixers want to make it five, they have their work cut out for them.

Starting this afternoon at 1 p.m., the 7-6 begin a seven-game set with a Chicago squad that’s now twice consecutively finished the regular season with the best record in the East, boasts the Association’s top defense and its reigning MVP, and has enough depth across the rest of the lineup that it withstood…no, thrived during Rose’s extended absences this season.

But while the Sixers more than held their own against the Bulls in 2012, outscoring them by two points in three head-to-head matchups, Philadunkia’s own fearless forecasters see an uphill climb for the home team.

And according to our fab five, it’s a really steep hill:


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