“View from the Philly Pressbox” – 76ers Playoff Run

In Philadelphia 76ers on April 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

At Philly Pressbox we’re trying to keep the faith in regards to the 76ers as the regular season winds down. The late season collapse has made it very difficult. The things that looked like they were positives early in the season, balanced scoring, equal playing minutes, not wearing players out, and playing good defense have backfired on the 76ers down the stretch. It appears that the teams’ youth and apparent lack of leadership have taken its toll as the losses have mounted. As a result, Doug Collins appears to have lost some of his players. An example of this was the lazy turnover by All Star, Andre Iguodala in the backcourt against the Nets that was inexcusable.

With that said, the 76ers are still holding the 8th position in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with 7 games to go. They are presently tied with the New York Knicks with 31-28 records. The Milwaukee Bucks are in the 9th spot, 2 ½ games behind the 76ers. The Bucks only have 6 games remaining. The 76ers still have the playoffs in their own hands; however, they have to win on the road, start playing better, more consistent, basketball. Of the 7 remaining games, 6 of them are on the road, with the next to last game being at Milwaukee.

This week brings four more games, Monday at Orlando, Tuesday, at home, against Indiana, Wednesday at Cleveland and Saturday at Indiana.  Milwaukee plays at Washington, at Indiana and at home against the Nets. Obviously, the third seeded Pacers will have a lot to say about the playoff picture. The Knicks, in the meantime, host the Miami Heat today and Boston on Tuesday. They play at the Nets on Wednesday and at Cleveland on Friday. The Knicks have been playing good ball, but of the three teams their week is the toughest. As we stated the 76ers control their own destiny but they must win.

Quite frankly, we’ve been saying for weeks that we didn’t like seeing the 76ers in the 7th spot, where they would face the #2 seeded Heat. The 76ers have no answers for the Heat. They would be better as the 8th seed against the #1 seeded Bulls. Neither one is a very good match up, that will likely result in an early playoff exit for them.

We’ve been saying for several weeks that we felt Coach Collins should settle in to a starting five and let them get minutes and play together. He never really did that. I like Doug Collins and think he’s done a pretty good job with the players that he has to coach. Most of them are young. 33 year old Elton Brand showed leadership, but his game as slipped. He’s averaging 10.8ppg and 7.3rpg in just less than 29 minutes per game. Jrue Holiday has tried to take some leadership on the ball club. Jrue is average 13.4ppg, second on the team. He’s also second on the team in minutes per game. The team leader is still expected to be Iguodala. Iggy is averaging 12.0ppg, 6.0rpg, and 5.5 assists per game while leading the team in minutes played. Iggy just hasn’t been the star in the second half of the season that the 76ers needed. In the last seven games, all of them important, several guys need to step up and try to carry this ball club, whether it’s the guys we’ve mentioned or leading scorer Lou Williams, 15.0ppg off the bench, or Thad Young, another 12.6ppg off the bench, it needs to come from somewhere and soon!!

It is very tough to measure the overall team improvement at this point in the season. Once the regular season plays out and we know if this team was able to make the playoffs we’ll have a better idea. I guess the most important thing is getting in to the playoffs. We’ll see how that works out.

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