IVERSON UPDATE

Posted by: C. Smith
10/09/12 9:54 am EST

Via HoopsHype, we discovered this video clip of former 76er and future Basketball Hall of Fame member Allen Iverson balling in China over this past weekend.

As we all know, there have been numerous rumors since the end of the summer that “The Answer” was headed to China in an attempt to continue his basketball career.  Former two-time NBA scoring champ Tracy McGrady, who had a decent season for the Atlanta Hawks in 2011-12, recently made the jump to the CBA and will officially sign with the Qingdao club later this week.

Anyways…on Saturday, Iverson and some other NBA cast-offs appeared in an exhibition game against the Beijing Ducks who are the reigning 2012 Chinese Basketball Association champions.  As you may know, the Ducks’ roster boasts the rejuvenated Stephon Marbury (33.4 pts., 6.2 dimes & 4 rbs. a night during the CBA Finals back in April).  The Beijing Ducks beat the USA invitational team in the exhibition game, and Iverson scored only four points.

Iverson video clip after the jump as well as an update on Allen’s potential move to China.

 
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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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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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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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