NOT WITHOUT BLAME

Posted by: Michael Kaskey-Blomain
06/08/12 9:21 am EST

Much of the Sixers success this season should be attributed to Coach Collins.  He is directly responsible for the team unity and mental toughness that the squad displayed throughout much of the regular season and post season.  Collins guided a team with extremely low preseason expectations to within a game of the Eastern Conference Finals; a place the Sixers haven’t even sniffed since the 2001 season. 

This feat is especially impressive considering the team’s collective age, playoff experience, and lack of a true superstar and / or scorer, a usual prerequisite to playoff success.  However with that being said, after seeing flashes of the team’s potential throughout the playoffs, one can’t help but wonder if Coach Collins could have done more with his team. 

While NOT having a true shooter / scorer hurt the team throughout the season and was a big factor in their eventual playoff downfall (We have chronicled this here at Philadunkia extensively.), as the team struggled through one poor shooting performance after another, Collins’ coaching may have had an impact on their exit as well. 

 
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MORE PLEASE

Posted by: C. Smith
05/29/12 10:51 am EST

I know in the entertainment world the saying is, “Always leave them wanting more.”  Based on the number of sequels and then prequels that get pumped out of Hollywood, it seems that line of thinking is highly successful for the television and movie business.

However, I have to say that mantra does not work well for NBA franchises and their dedicated fans.   

To say that I was disappointed in the 76ers Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics is an understatement.  To be honest, I was downright pissed off.  I threw things and yelled at the dog for no reason.  It’s been a long time since I was that angry over the Sixers (Which I guess is a good thing — but that’s a different post for another day.).  I was not ready for the Sixers season to end.  I wanted more!!

I thought my disappointment would subside over the long weekend, but it didn’t.  Now I know the 7-6 had a very interesting and all together solid season in 2011-12 and that many of you will say that I should be happy that pro basketball is relevant again in the City of Brotherly Love.  I hear you.  Still, three days after Phialdunkia’s home team was eliminated in an ‘win or make tee times’ Game 7, I am left wanting more.    


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GAME 7 PREDICTIONS

Posted by: Philadunkia
05/26/12 8:37 am EST

Alright, NOW tonight is officially the most important game the current roster of 76ers has ever played in. 

Win and it’s on to the Eastern Conference Finals, a place no one, not even the most dedicated member of Philadunkia nation believed we could go.  Suffer a loss and it’s a lock that tonight is the last time you’ll all be together in the Sixers locker room.

Really there’s not much else left to say.

So just go out and win the damn thing. 

Tonight, prove all the “experts” wrong.  Go out there and play your asses off; end the hated Boston Celtics season and send “The Big Three” into trade bait mode. 

It’s that simple.  Now go do it.

Our Game 7 predictions after the jump.


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PLAYOFFS, GM12: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
05/23/12 11:47 pm EST
Boston Celtics 75 FinalRecap | Box Score 82 Philadelphia 76ers
Elton Brand, PF 34 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +11

After struggling for much of the series–and the one that preceded it–Brand was large tonight for the Sixers. With 2:09 left, after KG cottoned a jumper to silence the “DEFENSE” chants echoing through the Wells Fargo Center and breath new life into beleaguered Boston, Brand buried a j to give the 7-6 a 78-69 lead and effectively ice Game 6.

Andre Iguodala, SF 38 MIN | 4-11 FG | 3-7 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +2

Iguodala’s shot was absolutely brutal on Wednesday — he missed a few free throws in a way that would get a kid cut from most middle school basketball teams — but his defense was stout, he attacked the rim, and he came through when the leverage was highest.  Up six and on the line with under a minute left he drained a pair of FTs. Shades of the last series’ Game 6.

Spencer Hawes, C 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +8

The final numbers aren’t overwhelming, but Spencer turned it on in the back end.  As the Sixers took and protected the lead after the half, he scored seven points on four shots.

Evan Turner, SG 38 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-5 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS | +7

Entering the game shooting just 32 percent from the floor in the series, Turner had a (slightly) more efficient offensive night than we’ve come to expect and continued to do work on the glass.

Jrue Holiday, PG 39 MIN | 7-15 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 20 PTS | +5

Holiday was outstanding tonight.  He flummoxed the unflummoxable Rajon Rondo — who had absolutely owned the series first five games–and was perfect from the line on a night when the rest of the 76ers decidedly weren’t.

Lou Williams, PG 27 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +1

With Allen Iverson in the house, the hope was that his spiritual successor would recover from a sub-par Monday with a big performance.  Well, that didn’t quite happen, but ll the same, Lou, after a miserable first half, was 4-of-8 from the floor after the half.

Thaddeus Young, F 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -1

Thad struggled all game, and didn’t play a minute after the half.

Jodie Meeks, G 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2

Jodie Meeks did about as much to help the team win as I did tonight.

Lavoy Allen, PF 19 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | +4

The defense was there – the Sixers, via ESPN Stats and Information, held the Celtics to under 40 percent shooting from inside five feet — but he didn’t do much on the offensive end.  We’ll take it.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw


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DRE DAY

Posted by: Tim Parker
05/20/12 9:39 am EST

Is it possible that 8 years of built up frustration, anger, and disappointment could all be erased in 191 seconds?

For every word that has been said, written, and recorded about Andre Iguodala – for every trade prayer that Sixers’ fans have sent up – for every boo that has rang down in Iguodala’s direction – Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals was for all of them. 

More specifically, the final 4 minutes of the Sixers’ exhilarating 92-83 win on Friday night was for them.

It was Iguodala who sealed the victorious fate of the Sixers with a dagger 3 from the corner to put the Celtics in a 88-83 hole and gave the Wells Fargo Center a jubilant vibe  that it hasn’t felt in 11 years.

It’s a moment that can even overshadow a miraculous comeback in which the Sixers looked left for dead from the opening tip off.

 
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RED FLAGS

Posted by: Tim Parker
05/17/12 1:35 pm EST

If only the Sixers could have summoned Andrew Toney from the 1982-83 season for help last night, then maybe Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals would have been different.  Instead, they suffered a 107-91 home trouncing at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

Toney could shoot, and that’s an understatement.  On Wednesday night, the Sixers couldn’t; and that’s an understatement.

We know that the Sixers haven’t been a good shooting team all year long and that they’ve used their defense and their run and gun prowess to survive and win games.  But the Celtics were having none of that as last night, as they forced the Sixers to play in a half-court contest, where Philadunkia’s home team is uncomfortable.

True to the scouting report, the Sixers were miserable.  P erhaps, fools’ gold in the 1st quarter made the Sixers think that their offense was in rhythm and flowing.  After all, they had 33 points (on 12-20 shooting) and everything was clicking; including a buzzer beater heave from Lou Williams for a deep 3.

The problem was that the 76ers then went out and put up a COMBINED 33 POINTS in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

 
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GROWING UP

Posted by: Tim Parker
05/16/12 10:02 am EST

Lesson learned!

Once again on Monday night, the Sixers held a 10 point lead in the 2nd half.  Once again, they saw it slip away in the middle of the fourth quarter.  This time though, they showed resolve, poise, and more importantly they made the right decisions when they had to.  Still, there were times where it looked like Game 2 was nothing more than a Game 1 replay.

Yet, in the end the Sixers were in the win column as they  earned a gigantic 82-81 victory to even the Eastern Conference Semifinals at one game a piece with the Boston Celtics.

The defining play of the game was a tough drive and lay in by Evan Turner with 40 seconds left in the 4th quarter that gave the Sixers a 76-75 lead.

Sure, it was a basket that took the lead, but what was more impressive was that it wasn’t 16 foot contested jump shot.  It wasn’t a rushed attempt in transition.  It was a concise and intelligent basketball play that showed maturity.


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PLAYOFFS, GM 8: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: C. Smith
05/15/12 10:17 am EST
Philadelphia 76ers 82 FinalRecap | Box Score 81 Boston Celtics
Elton Brand, PF 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -7

For all but an 8 minute stretch of the 3rd Q, the “Ol’ Skool Chevy” was simply terrible.  EB was clearly scared to challenge KG on the offensive end and on defense, #42 had no answers either.  There is some talk of a shoulder injury and the C’s present some match-up issues for Brand, but we’re not sure those items can fully explain his disappearing act in Games 1 & 2.  Still, for one glorious stretch in the 3rd Q Brand simply carried this team when they needed someone to step up in th worst way.  EB led the way with 7 points in the Q, including scoring 4 straight points for the Sixers.

Andre Iguodala, SF 37 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-7 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 13 PTS | +8

A solid all around night for Dre, including a reverse lay-in over KG for an And 1 that is all over SC’s Top 10 plays.  His defense on Pierce was absolutely suffocating (2-9 on FGAs).  However his FT shooting remains a major issue and his missess from the charity stripe last night almost cost us this game.

Spencer Hawes, C 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -12On the offensive end, I’ll take 8 & 10 out of Hawes every night, but his defense on KG is brutal.  He simply can not guard #5 on Boston, so why Collins keeps sending out there is beyond me.  Every time he comes out on KG, Boston quickly sets up a pick-n-pop for Garnett and it’s an automatic bucket as Hawes can not close out on the jump shot.  By my count the “Hawes Hand off” was only run twice last night which is good news for the Sixers.
Evan Turner, SG 28 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -15

I had a very tough time picking a grade for ET as he was a roller coaster in this one.  For most of the game I thought Turner was terrible on offense.  He took several ill-advised shots including a 3PA on which his feet were not set, had 5 TOs and in general seemed to be out of sync for three Q’s.  However he was simply huge in the 4th Q.  Obviously he scored two big baskets down the stretch, including a carzy lay-in with 40 ticks remaining, but I thought the key play from ET came with 5 mins. remaining and the score 65-63 Sixers.  On a defensive switch, ET got caught on Garnett, so of course KG tried to back him down.  Turner did a nice job of holding his ground and when KG spun for the fade-away jumper, ET striped the ball from him.  Well done kid!

Jrue Holiday, PG 41 MIN | 7-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | -7

Another hot start by Holiday as he hit two 3PAs and scored 8 points in the 1st Q.  He followed that up with four more points in the 2nd Q.  Then he disappeared for a time during that hard-to-watch 3rd Q.  But he came out like a man possessed in the 4th.  “The Jruth” had two dribble-drives (1 for a bucket; 1 that led to a follow tip by Hawes) to open the 4th that were simply beautiful.  Then his 3-ball with just under 2 mins. remaining brought us out of our seats.  His defense was solid through out Game 2.

Lou Williams, PG 39 MIN | 3-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +17

LW’s struggles continue and last night it was enough to make you throw the remote.  He continues to force ill-advised long jumpers or fade-aways or off-balanced runners.  The shot he had blocked by Pierce in the 4th had me cursing up a storm.  When he was forced to guard Rondo in the 3rd Q, you could actually see Rondo smiling.  Louis — watch some game tape and get a clue.

Thaddeus Young, F 13 MIN | 0-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | +1

When he was inserted into the game in the 1st Q, Thad came out aggressive and went on the attack. Unfortunately his shot was not falling, but he did nail all of his FTA’s.  Collins limited his minutes because of “match-up” problems on the perimeter, but Collins must find a way to keep Thad in the game because the Sixers need to get this key member of the “Night Shift” going if they want to win this series.

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

A not so bad effort from Capt. Streaky, but watching him chase (more like trail) Ray Allen all over the court was uncomfortable.

Lavoy Allen, PF 30 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +21

The rookie has been huge in games 1 & 2.  Last night, he held KG in check, rebounded the ball, blocked some shots, hit a few buckets and for good measure tossed in a miracle bank shot with 4 mins left in the 4th Q and the shot clock running out.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw


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BACK TO REALITY

Posted by: Jeff McMenamin
05/11/12 10:15 pm EST

Embrace the feeling.  Dig deep into your closets.  Find those old Sixers car flags which became so popular during the Iverson era and put them on display.  Play this old school tune and enjoy every last minute of it.  Take a week off from watching the Phillies (you’ll probably save yourself from a week of anger and disappointment anyway).  It’s officially time to rally around the Sixers.

They have been team irrelevant in the city of Philadelphia for too long, and it’s time for them to receive their proper due.  It doesn’t matter how it happened, or for that matter what could happen next.  What matters right now is displaying appreciation and gratitude for this eighth-seeded Sixers team, that just knocked off the top-seeded Chicago Bulls.  It was only the fifth time in NBA history, that an eight seed was able to knock off a one seed.

What can be said about this Sixers season and this Sixers team is that they are far from normal.  In terms of the playoff teams remaining in this fight for the Larry O’Brien trophy, the Sixers stand on an island all by their lonesome.  They went from second place in the Eastern Conference in February, to barely squeaking into the playoffs as an eight seed come April.  They lack a superstar.  They have a coach in Doug Collins who went from a coach of the year candidate to nearly getting fired.  Their starting lineup shuffled throughout the season more than a blackjack deck at a casino.  They have a defense ranked third in the NBA, but an offense that stands all the way down at 22nd.  They play in a city which by all rights wrote them off months ago.  Yet this unconventional, under-appreciated team has placed itself a couple steps closer to an NBA Championship.


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U-G-L-Y

Posted by: Tim Parker
05/09/12 1:30 pm EST

Let the ugliness continue.

The 76ers-Bulls first round playoff match-up has not only been a painful one physically for the Chicago Bulls, it has been a torturous one for any fan of offensive basketball.

When Derrick Rose went down in Game 1, it was not only a blow to the Bulls championship chances; it was a blow to any chance of witnessing true, legitimate scoring power.

Since Game 2, when the Sixers took advantage of a deflated Bulls team, the fireworks of this series have been completely extinguished.  No team has reached the 90 point mark, and quite frankly, both teams have given a dreadful exhibition of half-court offense.

Still, Game 5 reached a new dreadful low.  Simply put, it was brutality to the eyes.  The result was 77-69 victory for the Chicago Bulls, in the lowest scoring game of the series thus far.

 
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