FO’ with the FOES: LA LAKERS

Posted by: C. Smith
02/06/12 12:52 pm EST

This Monday 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, the dreaded Los Angeles Lakers.

The Sixers — winning 5 of their last 6 — are about as hot as they have ever been over the last two years and outside of the 3rd and 4th quarters against the Heat, we really like the way the team is playing right now.  We’re getting contributions from everyone of offense – including the rookies Lavoy Allen and “Big Nik”.  On the other end of the court, we are playing the usual lights out defense that Collins preaches. 

Throw in the fact that this is the 3rd game in a 6-game east road swing for the LAL as well as this stat — the LAL are 3-8 on the road this season — and we really like our chances of seeing the Sixers get their 13th home victory of the year tonight.

That being said, this will not be an easy win for Philadunkia’s home team to grab.  There are a couple reasons for that statement.  The first is that this group of Lakers has simply owned the Sixers in recent years.  The Lakers have won 5 of the last 6 between the two teams, beat the Sixers twice last year and have won four straight at the Wells Fargo Center.  So history is not on the 7-6’s side in this match-up.  Of course the Sixers team that will take the court tonight vs. the LAL is vastly different then the one LA has faced in recent years, so this could be the night LA’s dominance of this Sixers roster comes to an end.

The second is the obvious one — that guy named Kobe.  “The Black Mamba” loves to put up big numbers in front of the perceived “hometown crowd” that hates him so much.  Much like MJ he feeds of the hatred spewing from the seats at the WFC and it drives him to put the dagger in our hearts every trip to Philly.  Last season the Sixers tried Holiday, Iguodala and others on Kobe in an effort to slow him down and were met with mixed results.  At the WFC in early December last season, the Sixers (mostly Iguodala) held Kobe to 9 points on 3-11 shooting.  Then late last December in LA, Kobe rang the Sixers up for 33 & 4 when Dre missed the game because of injury.  For the record that’s a 21 ppg. average vs. the Sixers in 2010-11.  We think the 9 point effort was a rare happening for #24 in blue and gold and you know the moment the booing starts tonight you’ll see the fire in Kobe’s eyes and a wicked grin on his face – so look for another big run from Kobe tonight.  

The third reason the Sixers will need a max effort tonight in order to pull of a win is the two headed monster that is the Lakers frontcourt.  Andrew Bynum is back and looks great and Pau Gasol has been rock solid this season.  Gasol absolutely owned the Sixers during 2010-11 as he averaged 20 & 10.5 in the two games between the teams in last year.  In the first game last season Bynum had 8 & 15.  Because of injury, Bynum was a non-factor in the second run last year.  Just as an FYI, Bynum is hitting for 21 & 10 in his last four games.  The stats say the Sixers interior defense has improved only slightly since last year, which is not good, thus we expect the Lakers to pound the ball inside and let these two go to work.  Unless Hawes, Brand, Allen and Vucevic can make a surprising stand against the Laker bigs, that LAL game plan will spell tough sledding for the Sixers.

Still if the Sixers can slow down one of these two facets of the Lakers attack, while also getting out on the break and running vs. the ancient Lakers and playing up to the solid overall standards they have established for themselves over this 2011-12, a win is an absolute possibility tonight. 

For a little more insight into the Lakers team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Brian Kamenetzky from ESPNLA.com / Land O’Lakers to answer four questions on this Lakers squad from an insider’s perspective 


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MY STATS DON’T LIE

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
02/02/12 5:06 pm EST
Hips & stats, both very reliable.

To mangle an old Bill Parcells line, you are what your numbers say you are.  And right now the Sixers’ numbers say they’re really, seriously, undeniably good.

In the aftermath of the 7-6’s 98-82 drubbing of the best-record-in-basketball Bulls, TrueHoop maven Henry Abbott had this to say on the topic of the Sixers’ legitimacy:

Justin Kubatko, of Basketball-Reference, doesn’t mess around with numbers.  He doesn’t get all excited about things that don’t matter.  And the other day in The New York Times he wrote:

“There have been 38 teams in N.B.A. history with a point differential of at least plus-10.0 points a game through their first 18 games.  The median winning percentage of those teams was .753, which translates to 49.7 wins over a 66-game season. Additionally, 24 of those teams advanced to the N.B.A. finals, with 19 claiming the championship.”


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GM 20: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
01/28/12 10:22 pm EST
Detroit Pistons 74 FinalRecap | Box Score 95 Philadelphia 76ers
Elton Brand, PF 28 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +15

The old man continued stroking it from mid-range and contributed defensively too, holding Greg Monroe to 6-19 shooting (16 pts.) and getting three blocks.  As a bonus, he only played 28 minutes tonight.  But the question remains…Can he have a big night (2010-11 big) when when we really need him to?

Andre Iguodala, SF 35 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 10 AST | 10 PTS | +15

He’s not really taking charge offensively — given his limited shooting ability, maybe that’s okay — but Iguodala filled it up otherwise on Saturday, celebrating his 28th birthday with his eighth career triple double.  And the first period pass, off the glass and to himself, that he finished with two hands was a thing to see.  He now trails only Sir Charles on the Sixers career triple-double list (Chuck had 10).  To bad he can’t take over and dominate a game like Charles.  But we are trying to “embrace him” as coach Collins begged us to do in the post game presser.  Which is getting easier since he quoted Ice Cube on the triple-double in his post game Tweet.

Tony Battie, C 14 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +1

He played?

Jodie Meeks, G 28 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +14

Most in the Philadunkia offices were concerned about the two spot heading into the season.  We’re not so concerned anymore.  Meeks hit another four threes against Detroit, making him 27/55 from outside in his last ten nights.

Jrue Holiday, PG 36 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +21

Solid night, but everybody wants to see a little more out of Jrue.  Locally, the “rising star” talk has quieted, but the national “experts” stll love him — just saying.

Francisco Elson, C 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -7

See Battie, Tony

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

Well, he’s had a nice career.  So he’s got that going for him.

Lou Williams, PG 25 MIN | 5-12 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | +14

All he does is score.  Lou, again, led the Sixers in the sexiest of all categories, and held his position as seventh in the NBA in points per 48 minutes.

Thaddeus Young, F 18 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +13

After a rough start, Thad hit one of his first six shots, the sixth (seventh? eighth?) man extraordinaire picked it up in the late going.

Lavoy Allen, PF 24 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +26

The Sixer with the highest per minute productivity (by measure of wins produced via The NBA Geek)? Lavoy Allen, who entered Saturday with a .314wp48, or three times the productivity of your average forward.  Probably won’t last, but it didn’t end against the Piston’s either.  Apparently he has located the “motor” that every NBA scout said he lacked at Temple.

Craig Brackins, SF 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -6

The Sixers have the makings of their own human victory cigar.

Evan Turner, SG 23 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +5

The Sixers swiss army knife, continues to take a page out of Andre Iguodala’s book by doing everything but put the ball in the bucket for the 7-6.  Down the stretch on Saturday, he even did a little of that — including a reverse dunk off a hesitation move to give the Sixers their 90th point.  Is it us or does ET get no respect from NBA refs?  The kidET has been mauled repeatedly on his way to the hoop in the last two games and gotten no calls.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Tonight


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GM 18: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
01/26/12 7:31 am EST
New Jersey Nets 97 Final

Recap | Box Score

90 Philadelphia 76ers
Elton Brand, PF 28 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | -6

Another day, another high efficiency, albeit losing, performance for EB. With the Sixers frontcourt thin and getting thinner by the day, here’s hoping he’s got a few more of these in the tank.

Andre Iguodala, SF 41 MIN | 4-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS | -10

There was more bad than good tonight for Iguodala. Though he made a couple large-sized, quintessentially Iguodala plays—his tip-in off a Brand miss to bring the 7-6 to within 77-75 stands out—he was brutal from outside. In the final analysis, our best guy (him) wasn’t as good as their best guy (Deron Williams) and that made all the difference.

Tony Battie, C 13 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -6

With the frontcourt ravaged by injuries, and the team relying on him to contribute, Tony Battie came through with a classic Tony Battie performance.

Jodie Meeks, G 36 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -2

Meeks somehow ended up covering the aforementioned Williams on the two crucial possessions that came immediately after the Sixers took a 90-88 lead in the extra period. Deron promptly hit a two to tie the score, then drained a three to give the Nets a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Sixers worst defender on the Nets only scoring threat, while he was on fire?
“[It was] a switch on a pick and roll,” Meeks said after the game. “He’s an All-Star for a reason, and he made a good shot.”
My head hurts.

Jrue Holiday, PG 42 MIN | 5-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 14 PTS | -11

The good: he hit two fourth period threes—one that tied the game at 72, the other that gave the Sixers a 78-77 lead—scored 12 in the fourth period and overtime—including a dunk off an inbound steal at the other end that, temporally, put the home team in the driver seat with 1:18 left in OT—and his seven dimes were a welcome sign considering he entered the game 35th among point guards in assists per 48 minutes. The bad: he got torched by Deron Williams to the tune of 34 points and was invisible in the game’s first three periods. Dude’s got aways to go.

Lou Williams, PG 32 MIN | 7-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 17 PTS | +6

Lou Williams took a dumb 23-footer with the game tied at 80 and hit it to put the Sixers in the lead. Lou Williams took a dumb 23-footer with the Sixers down 93-90 and missed it to ensure a loss. There’s a moral here somewhere.

Thaddeus Young, F 27 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +7

Doubt his centrality to what the Sixers do? The matchup nightmare’s back injury was the anvil that broke their…well, back.

Lavoy Allen, PF 18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -1

Lavoy Allen got abused by Kris Humphries tonight. When a man is capable of that kind of physical violence, it’s no surprise his marriage only lasted 72 days.

Evan Turner, SG 29 MIN | 3-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -12

He was active, but tonight that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. His shot was off and he didn’t finish inside. He kept doing his thing on the boards though, and leads all SGs in rebounds per 48 by a wide margin. Silver linings.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Last Night


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GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN

Posted by: Jerry Scherwin
01/20/12 9:48 am EST

As Ice-T famously coined in the late 80’s, “Pimpin’ ain’t easy”.  Well, neither is winning in the NBA.  As the 7-6 faithful know full well, the road out of the depths of David Stern’s armpit and personal torture chamber to an Eastern Conference sleeper is lengthy, rotten, disturbing, inauspicious, infuriating, and any other negative adjective you can think of.

Most times teams try to buy their way out; adding a big free agent here and a mid-level free agent there.  Sometimes it’s successful, and other times it burns and fades faster thanDallas’ chances at repeating as NBA Champions. 

Even before Shaq teamed up with Kobe, championship teams were built by “buying” superstars, only to then pair them with a home grown talent; the likes of which were more times than not, threatening to leave without proper additions that would shed the teams previous losing ways. 

Today, even your regular run of the mill and early exit playoff teams are built on this very philosophy.  All of them pray that a few All-Stars mixed with the Matt Barnes’ of the world equate to the raising of a banner.

So often though, these teams spend much of their vital salary cap on guys unworthy of the status quo of being a highly touted/highly paid free agent.

Simply put, they fall victims to a thin market and their individual basketball habitat.  

When you take a look at the current NBA landscape, what do you see?

 
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ATLANTIC CHAMPS ???

Posted by: Tim Parker
01/17/12 10:51 am EST

Once upon a time; in a previous reality, the iPod was a revolutionary idea, Ja Rule was relevant, braids and cornrolls were in vogue, and gas cost just $1.46 per gallon. 

That reality was the year 2001.  Obviously 76ers’ fans will remember 2001 for the dramatic ride they took all the way to the NBA Finals.  Unfortunately, not only have we never take that ride again, we also have never seen our beloved Sixers be crowned division champions.

But, after a long and tumultuous 11 year wait, NOW could be the time that Atlantic Division crown could finally come back to Philadelphia.

Through the 2011-2012 infancy stage, the Sixers sit alone in first place at 10-3; and with the boost of a favorable January schedule, they have begun to distance themselves from the pack and could very well be on their way to sitting firmly at the top.

 
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GM 12: RAPID REACTS

Posted by: Philadunkia
01/15/12 10:32 am EST
Philadelphia 76ers 103 Final

Recap | Box Score

90 Washington Wizards
Elton Brand, PF 23 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -5

Five games in six days for the 32 year old Elton Brand has to be tough on his body. Brand looked slow, out of it and simply worn down. But what can you expect from a player his age in a condensed season? There’s going to be nights like the one against the Wizards, where Brand’s legs are going to be heavy and he’ll struggle to perform.

Andre Iguodala, SF 35 MIN | 9-16 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 23 PTS | -2

Iguodala was great. He was aggressive from the opening tip, looking to create shots for himself on the offensive end and setting up teammates in transition. AI9 was in a good rhythm against the Wizards and he continues to excel pushing the ball for fast-break opportunities. Collins also praised his defensive efforts following the game.

Spencer Hawes, C 19 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +1

Remember when Spencer Hawes came out really hot to start the season? Remember when he had four double-doubles in the first six games and was equally impressive in the other two contests? Yeah, I miss that Spencer Hawes. I guess we’ll just blame it on the nagging back injury.

Jodie Meeks, G 31 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 5 PTS | +2

Meeks went from scoring a career-high 26 points against Washington on Friday, to hardly being relevant the next night. His five points all came in the first quarter of the ball game.

Jrue Holiday, PG 40 MIN | 5-17 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +12

I still can’t tell if Holiday taking 17 shots is a good or bad thing. The positive: He’s being aggressive and attacked the lengthy JaVale McGee at the rim several times. The negative: The 7-6 have plenty of guys that can score, maybe 17 shots is too high. It’d be nice to see him create more as a passer (averaging 4.5 assists heading into Saturday’s game).

Tony Battie, C 12 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +6

In only his fifth game appearance of the young season, Battie showed why he rarely gets on the floor. Battie is simply a solid veteran guy who’ll warm the bench when Hawes and Vucevic are healthy. Tonight he received minutes once Collins felt uncomfortable putting Hawes in due to his back injury.

Lou Williams, PG 26 MIN | 7-12 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 24 PTS | +13

After a 19 point performance on Friday night, Lou-Will did not disappoint in DC. Williams was feeling it from downtown and connected on four long distance treys. He finished with a team-high 24 points and is the Sixers leading scorer on the season.

Thaddeus Young, F 31 MIN | 6-13 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | +11

In the post game media questioning, Doug Collins mentioned only running a single play for Thaddeus Young the entire ball game. And yet, Young was still able to deliver with 18 points off the bench. When asked how he was able to score 18 while only being called upon once, “Just from having a natural feel for the game and knowing where the ball is at all times,” he explained.

Evan Turner, SG 13 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 PTS | +15

Turner never got in rhythm on the offensive end and although he made a few good passes, he rarely looked to create for himself. Turner’s thigh looked to be the reason for his lack of production. ET said he caught a bruise from JaVale McGee’s thigh during a moving pick. Turner said “I’ll ice it and rest it and be good to go.” So Philly fans should not be concerned.

Nikola Vucevic, C 10 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +12

Just like Battie and Hawes, the rookie struggled to keep up with JaVale in the paint. However, he did grab a pair of offensive boards over him during the 2nd quarter.

Lavoy Allen, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS |

No, the rookie did not accumulate any floor time in the contest, but he did get an assist in the locker room after Lou Williams shouted “Hey Lavoy, this chicken ain’t going to cut itself.” Allen promptly found the veteran a knife to eat with.

After the Jump…Six Things We Saw Last Night


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PHILADUNKIA FREE $100 FANTASY CONTEST

Posted by: Philadunkia
01/10/12 4:44 pm EST

We’ve partnered with Draft Street on another promo for all you fantasy pros out there. 

This one is for all you addicts who enjoy nearly instant payouts. 

This one is a one-day NBA fantasy league and hopefully it will help your fantasy fix this week.  

You can sign up for the one day, FREE Philadunkia fantasy league with a $100 prize pool (5 places paid) by clicking on the link below or the one after the jump.

Click here to sign up for the free, one-day Draftstreet – Philadunkia.com fantasy league.

 


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GM 7 RECAP: WHAT DID HE SAY?

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
01/08/12 10:39 am EST

Something pretty obvious occurred to me last night as I watched the Sixers lay their second absolute smackdown in as many nights: Doug Collins can coach.

As in, as of this moment, with Phil Jackson at least temporarily retired, better than anyone in the NBA.  After Saturday’s 97-62 thumping, Collins has, in a season and change at the Sixers helm, compiled a 46-43 record — 43-30 in the last 73 games.  With all due respect to Greg Popovich, is there anyone in the Association who has done more with less over the last 14 months?

Collins has: (1) Developed Jrue Holiday into a budding All-Star; (2) Rejuvenated Elton Brand; (3) Turned Spencer Hawes into a viable NBA center; (4) Unleashed Thaddeus Young on the world; (5) Helped turn Andre Iguodala from a guy who can’t hit jumpers but takes too many of them into a guy who still can’t hit them but shoots them less.

More importantly, he’s turned the Sixers into the rarest of units in the modern NBA: a team.


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TRADE FOR COUSINS ?!?

Posted by: Jerry Scherwin
01/04/12 10:56 am EST

DeMarcus Cousins is a child.  He is a child as much as he is a knucklehead.  He is a knucklehead as much as he is a pain in the ass.  He is a pain in the ass as much as he is a legit NBA talent.  He is a legit NBA talent as much as he is a giant head case.  He is a giant head case as much as he is still a child.  Thus, we have the complex inner workings of DeMarcus Cousins. 

We know this after one full season in the NBA.  We knew this while he was at Kentucky.  We knew this when he was in high school.  And it seems to be a safe bet that people knew this during his AAU and grade school days. 

Someone with a temper, oft never loses such aggression and anger.  Someone with a “what about me” attitude, oft never loses such self-destroying thoughts.  That is, until they meet their match.  The one person that challenges them all the while getting the most from them

 Nothing has changed in Sacramento for Cousins, and it will more than likely never change in Sacramento for Cousins.

But that’s not to say it won’t change elsewhere.  That’s not to say it can’t change in Philly.  That’s not to say Doug Collins can’t be the man that gets through to Cousins (as uneasy as that may be).

 
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