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Posts Tagged ‘Elton Brand’

“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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IT’S SHOW UP TIME FOR THE 76ers

In Philadelphia 76ers on February 1, 2012 at 8:21 am

On January 21 we asked if the 76ers were for real. We discussed the next 6 games, 1 at Miami and the next 5 at home finishing up last night against Orlando. We said the 76ers needed to win either the Miami or Orlando game and would probably lose one of the four games that they should win because it just happens that way. Well I wish I could pick lottery numbers so well. The team did exactly that, finishing the 6 games with a 4-2 record and now leads the 2nd place Boston Celtics by 5 games and the Knicks by 7.5 after beating the Magic by 6 last night in a game that was never close.  The 76ers led the entire game and they’re lead reached 17 points in the 4th quarter. With Boston playing better basketball we lost .5 games in the standings while winning the 4 games. The 76ers have bought in to Head Coach Doug Collins phiosophy and continue to play outstanding defense even though both of their big men, Spencer Hawes and Nikola Vucevik are out with injuries.

Still asking how they’re doing it? It’s simple D-E-F-E-N-S-E!!! Over the 6 game period the teams points against dropped from 86.7 ppg to 86.1 ppg moving them to the top of the league in that category. Opponents are now shooting 41.4% from the field which is also tops in the league.

The team individual scoring didn’t change much with Lou Williams sill leading the way at, 15.3, Jrue Holiday, 14.2, Andre Iguodala, 12.9, Thaddeus Young, 12.0, Elton Brand 10.7, Spencer Hawes, 10.4 and Evan Turner, 10.2 ppg.

The next 5 games will be the real challenge for the team to see if they’re for real. Last week’s games they should have won and did what they should have. This week they have the Chicago Bulls at home. The Bulls are in 1st Place in the Central Division with an 18-5 record which is the most wins in the league, the Miami Heat at home after being whipped handily in Miami last week.  At Atlanta against a very good Hawks team that is in 2nd place in the Southeast behind the Heat and back home against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers next Monday. The Lakers are presently in 2nd Place in the Pacific Division and Kobe is again leading the league in scoring with a 30.2 points per game average.

This is a tough schedule for the week. The team really needs to win 2 of the 4 games and maybe 3 of 4 just to prove they can play against the good teams with winning records. Boston isn’t going to go away so it’s important to come out of each week with a winning record especially this week against these quality teams.

What’s the winning combination? D-E-F-E-N-S-E!!!!!

ARE THE 76ers FOR REAL?

In Philadelphia 76ers on January 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

Is it possible that we’re really talking about the Sixers, or as I prefer the 76ers, in mid-January? The team is off to an 11-4 start and already has a 5 game lead over the New York Knicks and 5 ½ over the hated Boston Celtics. Does anybody really care? Well fans care when teams win and the crowds with start packing in the Wells Fargo Center if the team continues to compete. With that said they visit the Miami Heat and LeBron James and Chris Bosh tonight. The Heat will be playing without Dwayne Wade but it didn’t matter Thursday night when they blew out Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. This will be a big early season test for the 76ers to use as a measuring stick of where they are. The schedule over the next 6 games is favorable for the team to pad they’re 1st place lead. After the Heat game the next 5 are at home against Washington, last in the Southeast, the Nets, next to last in the Atlantic, Charlotte, next to the last in the Southeast, Detroit, last in the Central before 1st Place in the Southeast Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard come to town. If they come out of the next 6 with a 4-2 record they’ll be in good shape. The important thing is they either need to beat Miami or Orlando to prove they can compete at the highest level. Unfortunately you don’t win all of the games you’re supposed to so they’ll likely drop at least one of the middle 4 games.

How are they doing it? Head Coach Doug Collins, an all-around really good guy, has the team playing as a TEAM without a superstar. That’s tough to imagine in professional sports and especially in the NBA where teams try to stockpile big name individuals. The big differences are D-E-F-E-N-S-E and playing fundamentally sound ball every night. They are giving up only 86.7 points per game, 2nd in the league and holding opponents to 41.3% shooting from the field, 4th in the league. They are also leading the league in steals differential. That will win games!!

On offense the team has 7 players averaging between 10.3 and 15.1 ppg while having only 2 players averaging over 30 minutes per game. This will pay big dividends as the long grueling season moves on. As a team, they are 3rd in the league in scoring at 100.7 ppg trailing only Miami and Denver. They are 1st in the league in Points Scored/Points Allowed with a 13.6 ppg differential and are 4th in the league in rebounding. Collins continuous preaching good fundamental basketball on both ends of the court has the 76ers believing in the concept and winning ball games.

Individually the scoring leaders are Lou Williams, 15.1, Jrue Holiday, 14.9, Andre Iguodala, 14.3, Thaddeus Young, 12.9, Evan Turner, 10.4, Spencer Hawes, 10.4 and Elton Brand 10.3ppg. Hawes is averaging 8.9 rebounds and Brand 7.4.

Let’s hope that this is the year, but only time will tell if the 76ers can compete with the elite teams in the league. It’s been since the 2002-03 since the team has gotten out of the 1st round of the playoffs and hasn’t reached the finals since Allen Iverson led them to the finals in 2000-01. Collins took Eddie Jordan’s 2009-10, 27-55 team and improved it to 41-41 last season. It seems 50 wins this year could happen and if so this T-E-A-M should win the Atlantic division.

It’s time for the 76ers and basketball to matter again in Philadelphia. Let see what happens in the next 6 games.

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