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Posts Tagged ‘Jrue Holiday’

76ers “Stay or Go” Fan Vote

In Philadelphia 76ers on June 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm

With the NBA Draft less than 24 hours away, and nearly 7000 votes posted on the Philly.com end of season “76ers Stay or Go Fan Vote”, it is apparent that the 76ers fans aren’t happy enough with upsetting the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, and taking the Boston Celtics to 7 games in the second round. The fans are voting for a housecleaning of the current players. The Philly.com end of year tradition allows fans to vote which individual players should “stay” or “go” before next season. These polls are enjoyable because only the rabid fans bother to vote.  When the Eagles voting was completed in January, we broke down the results and shared them with you. Following is the link to that article. https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/eagles-stay-or-go-fan-vote/. Interestingly enough the fans wanted Asante Samual gone, and the Eagles have obliged. We recently posted the Flyers “Stay or Go” results and the fans wanted James van Riemsdyk gone, and the Flyers management has obliged. Does team management really pay attention to what the fans want? Following is the link to the Flyers results. https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/flyers-stay-or-go-fan-vote/.

Here’s how it works. You go on the site and  vote “stay” or “go” for each player. Once you’ve voted on the player the current vote result is shown.  You can vote as many times as you choose. We were very surprised with the Eagles results and somewhat surprised with the Flyers results, but based on these fan results the 76ers would be close to starting over.

There were a total of 14 players listed plus Head Coach Doug Collins and General Manager Rod Thorn. Using 50% “stay” versus 50% “go” here are the results. The players that will be “staying” are Lavoy Allen with 96.5% “stay” votes, Jrue Holiday with 94.5% “stay” votes, Evan Turner with 89.0% “stay” votes, Thaddeus Young with 84.8% “stay” votes, Nikola Vucevic with 81.0% “stay” votes and Lou Williams with 63.9% “stay” votes. That’s it folks! These are the only players that you voted to stay for next season. This doesn’t look like a team that will advance past the second round of the playoffs by adding a couple draft pick.

Following are the percentage of  “go” votes for the remaining 8 players. The lightening rod, and the only 2011-12 All Star, Andre Iguodala, received 51.7% “go” votes. With the 7000 votes cast, Iggy was the closest to a 50/50 vote of any of the players. The fans are split almost down the middle on keeping the All Star. Spencer Hawes and Jodie Meeks each received 55.3% “go” votes, Sam Young received 68.0% “go” votes, Craig Brackens received 79.7% “go” votes, Xavier Silas received 80.9% “go” votes, Eldon Brand received 82.3% “go” votes and Tony Battle received 86.4% “go” votes. If the 76ers were without all of these players next year they would have no one on the bench and would’ve changed out half of it’s starting line up.

As far as Collins and Thorn the fans are happy. Colllins received 94.0% “stay” votes while Thorn received 66.7% “stay” votes.

There you have it. The Philadelphia 76ers fans have spoken. How will the team help themselves in the draft on Thursday night and will they make moves to unload players that the fans voted to “go”?

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“View From the Philly Pressbox” – 76ers Game 7, What Happened??

In Philadelphia 76ers on May 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm

 

Well the 76ers overacheiving season has come to an end with their 85-75, Game 7, lose to the Celtics. Most fans know that the 76ers were not really a good enough team to win the NBA title, however, since they made it as far as they did why not win? As we stated throughout we liked the matchup with Boston and thought the 76ers could win the series. We’re afraid that the three remaining teams are just far superior to them. Playing solid defense and not turning the ball over are how the 76ers got to this point but the level of individual talent and team talent was about to catch up to them. With that said, this is a young team that should only get better. All indications are they’re prepared to make a run at some “premier” players and spend the money to get them to Philadelphia. Basketball is a great game and the city has missed it for a long time. Hopefully now is the time for the return!!

Below are the keys we had listed for the 76ers to win Game 7. We’ll review each one and see how they fared.

The Game 7 prediction from the Philly Pressbox

 We’re sticking with the 76ers to win this game 90-83. We’ve liked this series all along and feel the 76ers will win because they play better defense as a team and they have younger players that have played less total minutes than the older Celtic starters.

Result – Obviously we didn’t fare well on our prediction. We did call for the Celtics to score 83 and they scored 85 but that doesn’t help when you’re on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

Following are our keys to the game:

  • ·        Hold the Celtics under 86 points.

Result – As stated above, the 76ers did hold them under 86, with 85. It’s the first game of the series that the winning team scored under 86 points.

  • ·        Be disciplined with the basketball. Commit less than 11 turnovers.

Result – The 76ers committed 15 turnovers. Our feeling was that 11 was the maximum they could commit and it really needed to be less than that. 15 was way too many!!

  • ·        Shoot 75% or better from the free throw line.

Result – The 76ers shot 14-20, 70%, for the game while the Celtics shot 20-22, 91%. Each missed foul shot is like giving away points. 

  • ·        Do not allow Rajon Rondo to get his triple-double.

Result – Rondo got his triple-double. He scored 18 points, had 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. The 76ers didn’t have a good answer for Rondo in this game allowing his play to control the tempo.

  • ·        Get off to a strong start and get the Boston fans out of the game.

Result – The 76ers missed 9 of their first 10 shots from the field and fell behind 10-2 early, allowing the fans to get in to the game. They did battle back to tie the score at 20-20 at the end of the 1st quarter but all indications were the 76ers were flat.

  • ·        Win the 3rd quarter. The team that has won the 3rd quarter has won all 6 games.

Result – The 76ers did win the 3rd quarter, 19-14, but still trailed in the game 55-52 at that point.

  • ·        Force the Celtics out of the paint as they did in Game 6.

Result – The Celtics had only 4 offensive rebounds in the game and were kept away from the basket for the most part. The difference in Game 7 to Game 6 was the Celtics made their shots. 

  • ·        Force someone besides Kevin Garnett to beat them. Without Garnett, Rondo and Paul Pierce it gets thin for Boston.

Result – Garnett finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Pierce with 15 points and 9 rebounds to go with Rondo’s triple-double. The remainder of the Celtics contributed 34 points and 12 rebounds. Needless to say the big three of the Celtics won the game.

  • ·        Doug Collins has done a nice job all season of rotating in a lot of players and spreading out the minutes. This will allow the 76ers young players to continue to pressure the older Celtics players. The Celtics bench only contributed 5 points in Game 6.

Result – The 76ers couldn’t establish and maintain enough momentum throughout the game to run the Celtics out the building. The Celtics had six players with 20 or more minutes. This was forced because of Pierce’s foul troubles or they would’ve only used five guys. The 76ers also had six players with 20 or more minutes and had two others close to 17 minutes. The fresh legs were there for the 76ers if they could have had some consistency.

Conclusion: The 76ers shot just 35% from the field and 70% from the line. They made  just 5-18, 27.8%, from the 3-point arch and committed 15 turnovers. You won’t win games with that production, especially in a Game 7 matchup against the Boston Celtics. The 76ers youth showed up at times in the 4th quarter when they began randomly launching 3 pointers. It’s always important to get off to a good start on the road and “weather the storm” while the fired up home team and crowd try to gain control. The 76ers didn’t do a good job at that and never seemed to get in synch, even when they tied the score. Jrue Holiday was a solid player in the series but hit only 5 of 17 shots while Lou Williams shot just 2 of 9 including 0 for 4 from the 3 point line. 

It was a good run for Doug Colling and the 76ers. The bar has been raised for 2013. There will be some player movement, likely Andre Iguadala and Elton Brand will be gone. These moves will clear up some salary space allowing the 76ers to be players inthe free agent market. The big question is that, can they or do they want to get in to the Dwight Howard sweepstakes? Why not???   

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“View From the Philly Pressbox” – 76ers – Celtics, Game 7

In Philadelphia 76ers on May 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm

 

 

There is nothing like a Game 7 in any sport, in any round of the playoffs and Saturday night we will get to see the 76ers and Celtics go at it to earn the right to play the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. The national media never gave the 76ers a chance in this series, and still don’t. They’ve credited Boston more with losing the series than the 76ers winning it. If you’ve followed Philly Pressbox you know that we thought that both Chicago and Boston were good matchups for the 76ers. Our feeling before the playoffs ever started was that the 76ers were as good, if not better, than the Celtics, so going to seven games isn’t a surprise. Now they need to win Game 7!!

We have stated every night that the magic number is 86, as in points the 76ers could allow and still win the game. It has played out every time. In the three wins they have allowed 81, 83 and 75 points. In the games they’ve lost they have allowed 92, 107 and 101 points. In Game 6 the Celtics did not score more than 20 points in any quarter and were outscored 42-16 in the paint. The outstanding 76ers defense forced the Celtics to the perimeter where they shot just 3-14, 21.4% from the 3-point line and 33.3% from the field for the game. It wasn’t an off day for the Celtics; it was outstanding defense by the 76ers. The 76ers have done a great job of controlling Rajon Rondo, the key to the Boston offense. Rondo’s numbers are still good for most players, but not for him. Jrue Holiday has taken the game to Rondo and matched him throughout the series. The 76ers cannot let Rondo loose in Game 7. The 76ers have done a decent job of controlling the basketball and not turning it over. In their wins they are averaging 11 turnovers per game. They will need to keep that going in Game 7. They survived some erratic play early in Game 6 before taking control of the game. The big need of improvement in Game 7 will be foul shooting. The 76ers made only 17-28 free throws, 60.7%, while the Celtics made 20-23, 87.0%. If the 76ers hit their free throws they win Game 6 big.  

The Game 7 prediction from the Philly Pressbox

 We’re sticking with the 76ers to win this game 90-83. We’ve liked this series all along and feel the 76ers will win because they play better defense as a team and they have younger players that have played less total minutes than the older Celtic starters.

Following are our keys to the game:

  • ·        Hold the Celtics under 86 points.
  • ·        Be disciplined with the basketball. Commit less than 11 turnovers.
  • ·        Shoot 75% or better from the free throw line.
  • ·        Do not allow Rondo to get his triple-double.
  • ·        Get off to a strong start and get the Boston fans out of the game.
  • ·        Win the 3rd quarter. The team that has won the 3rd quarter has won all 6 games.
  • ·        Force the Celtics out of the paint as they did in Game 6.
  • ·        Force someone besides Kevin Garnett to beat them. Without Garnett, Rondo and Paul Pierce it gets thin for Boston.
  • ·        Doug Collins has done a nice job all season of rotating in a lot of players and spreading out the minutes. This will allow the 76ers young players to continue to pressure the older Celtics players. The Celtics bench only contributed 5 points in Game 6.

 There you have it.  LET’S GO 76ERS!!!!

 

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The 76ers Final Week of the Season – PLAYOFFS?

In Philadelphia 76ers on April 22, 2012 at 9:45 am

It looks like the 76ers have overcome their inconsistent play in the second half of the season and are going to make the playoffs. After all, the goal at the end of the regular season is to be in the playoffs, and the 76ers will be there. It’s a good thing it’s not a beauty contest or the 76ers would be on the outside looking in, but it’s not and with one 76er win, or one more Milwaukee Bucks lose, the 76ers are in. The two teams play each other on Wednesday in Milwaukee. With that said, they are presently tied with the New York Knicks, so depending on how the Knicks fare in the final three games the 76ers could finish in the seventh spot. The Knicks hold the tie breaker. The 76ers and Knicks both carry 33-30 records while the Bucks are 30-33. First things first though. The 76ers play on the road against the Nets on Monday, before going to Milwaukee on Wednesday and on to Detroit on Thursday for the regular season finale. The Bucks host the Toronto Raptors on Monday, the 76ers on Wednesday and travel to Boston for their final game on Thursday. The Knicks play at Atlanta today, host the Clippers on Wednesday and travel to Charlotte on Thursday. The Clippers and Hawks are both playoff teams. The schedule favors the 76ers, except that they’re on the road. As we’ve stated for months, we feel the 76ers will be better off in a first round match up against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls than the second-seeded Miami Heat. The 76ers are 1-2 against the Bulls playing reasonable close games while they are 0-4 against the Heat and haven’t been very competitive.

The 76ers started the week by losing the first two games against Orlando and Indiana but bounced back to win the final two, Cleveland and Indiana. The Cleveland win featured outstanding games was from Jrue Holiday, 24 points, 5 assists and Andre Iguodala, 19 points, 13 rebound and 7 assists. The overtime win last night at Indiana was a big win against a good team. Lou Williams came off the bench, again, and scored 19 points, 7 in overtime. Elton Brand led the scoring with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Holiday added 17 points with 7 assists, Iguodala scored 16 and Thad Young added 15points and 8 rebounds off the bench.

The 76ers need to keep playing good defense, they are still ranked number two in least points per game allowed, make the playoffs, and take their chances. Like the old saying goes, “you can’t win if you’re not playing.”

Next week we’ll post our 76ers playoff preview!!

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“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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76ERS ALL STAR BREAK UPDATE

In Philadelphia 76ers on February 26, 2012 at 10:30 am

Are the 76ers where you expected them to be as we sit at the All Star break?

 Presently the 76ers lead the Atlantic Division by 3.5 games over the New York Knicks and 4.0 games over the Boston Celtics with a 20-14 record.  With a break here and there they could easily have another 3 wins but breaks don’t count in the standings. The 20 wins are tied for 5th in the Eastern Conference. Miami and Chicago have 27 wins, Orlando 22, Indiana 21and Atlanta 20. In head-to-head competition against these teams the 76ers have competed with everyone except Miami who has beaten them by 21 and 20 points. The 76ers beat Chicago in their only meeting 98-82 at the Wells Fargo Center. They have split with Orlando by winning at home and losing on the road. They played Indiana one time and beat them at home and Atlanta one time and beat them on the road. Overall they have fared pretty well against the best teams in the East. When it comes to the best teams in the West they haven’t fared as well. They did get a big home win against the Los Angeles Lakers but have lost to Oklahoma City, lost to the LA Clippers, lost to the San Antonio Spurs, lost to the Dallas Mavericks and lost to the Houston Rockets. You can toss in losses to Utah and Denver and the 76ers haven’t done well against the West. Whether it’s good or bad the team will have a chance to play each of these teams again before the end of the season.

There are two major concerns moving in to the second half of this shortened season, remember there are only 66 games instead of 82. The 76ers are presently on a 5 game losing streak with 4 of those loses coming on the road and also 7 of their last 9 games. This is a great time for the All Star break for the players to get some rest and get ready to go for the second half. They haven’t played very well lately. The second concern is the 2nd half schedule. The final 5 games of the season are on the road as well as 9 of the last 11. These games are all against lower level teams in the standings except for Orlando and Boston but it’s tough to win on the road every night no matter who you’re playing.

Doug Collins will have his hands full getting the team back on the winning track on Tuesday at Detroit and not looking forward to Wednesday’s home game against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. As we’ve discussed every week the 76ers need to stick to their team concept of playing great defense, minimizing the turnovers and balanced scoring. To put this is in perspective opponents have scored 100 points or more 6 times and the 76ers are 0-6, add a 99 point game by the Heat and they are 0-7. 100 point games won’t win for this team, it’s not their game to run and shoot with their opponents.

The 76ers balanced scoring is still led by Lou Williams at 15.7ppg, Jrue Holiday 13.6, Thad Young 12.6ppg, Andre Iguodala 12.4, Spencer Hawes 10.5 and Elton Brand 10.1ppg. The team really needs a healthy Hawes down the stretch. Hawes and Brand are still the rebounding leaders with 8.3 and 6.7 per game.

Our opinion moving in to the 2nd half is that the 76ers will win the Atlantic Division. They can’t let the Celtics hang around and gain any ground. I’m not impressed yet with the Knicks but they do have some talent. They haven’t come together to play team ball yet. As far as the rest of the Eastern Division we think the 76ers can advance in the playoffs against any of these teams over a series of games until they get to Miami. With that said, we don’t think anybody in the East can play with the Heat over a series of games. It will be important to reach a playoff position that doesn’t call for an early round match up with them or the season will come to a quick end. Collins has done a great job with this group and the rumors of adding Orlando’s Dwight Howard are very interesting. I’m sure a month ago Howard coming to Philly wasn’t even a thought. Winning will change things. The fans are becoming interested and showing up for games. It should be an interesting run through the 2nd half of the season. Stay tuned.

76ERS ARE FOR REAL, 76ERS ARE FOR REAL!!!!

In Philadelphia 76ers on February 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm

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Courtesy of Mike Norton Cassidy – CHECK IT OUT!!!!

In our post last Wednesday we talked about how important this week was in determining if this 76er’s team could be considered for real or not. Well I think it’s been determined, THE 76ERS ARE FOR REAL, THE 76ERS ARE FOR REAL!!!  The team finishes the week with a 3-1 record beating the Chicago Bulls at home, the Atlanta Hawks on the road and the Los Angeles Lakers at home, while losing to the Miami Heat at home. These are all real good teams and the 76er’s are as good as they are. The win over the Lakers is as big a win as there’s been in Philly for some time and although the boxscore doesn’t look that great they hung in there and played great D-E-F-E-N-S-E again. The BEAT LA, BEAT LA chant by the sold out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center brought back memories of the Spectrum and days gone by. The keys to the game are pretty simple. They played Doug Collins basketball, besides great defense the 76ers commited only 4 turnovers in the  game, a team record. Unbelievable!! The Lakers out rebounded the 76ers by 55-30. The 76ers only had 3 guys in double figure scoring with Lou Williams off the bench with a tremendous 4th quarter and 24 points. Jrue Holiday added 13 and Andre Iguodala added 12. Maybe as important as any stat for the game, as we’ve discussed in every one of our posts the Lakers shot only 42.0% from the field and a 7-24 from 3-point land for 29.2%. It’s still about the defense and fundamentals of the game. For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant scored 28 points, 24 points in the 1st half and was shutdown in the 2nd by Iggy.  Andrew Bynum had 20 points and 20 rebounds and Pau Gasol added 16 points.

You know what, it doesn’t matter!!! The 76ers are for real!!!!!!!

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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