|On paper, this one is a loss. The Magic excel in the biggest area of weakness for the Sixers, they're 42-16 on the season, 22-7 at home. They score more than the Sixers, they hold their opponents to fewer points. It looks like a mismatch, and it may be. After the jump we'll take a look at the stats and try to figure out a way the Sixers can make it play out differently on the court than it does on paper.|
|The Sixers used a monstrous first quarter and an excellent final two minutes to hold off the Knicks for a rare four-game sweep. The second, third and most of the fourth wasn't pretty to watch, but the W is all that matters at this point. After the jump we'll take a look at how the Sixers did at what I pointed out as a key to the game earlier today.|
|In a couple of hours, the Sixers will lace 'em up and try to complete a four-game sweep of the Knicks. Standing in their way is a team led by...no one. A team which plays no defense, but has ridden a volume-over-quality approach to offense all the way to fifth-highest scoring average in the league. No small feat, considering their talent level. Tonight's game is another chance for the Sixers to work on their issues against a bad team, after the jump we'll see how they can take advantage.|
|Over the past two games the Sixers have played against the Knicks, a theme has emerged. At some point in both games, Nate Robinson and Lou Williams started jawing at each other. This trash talking was then followed by each player trying to take the game over for his team. While it's certainly entertaining to see a Napoleanic complex displayed in hi-def, this is not a measuring contest that favors the Sixers and it's something that needs to be kept in check.|
|Dean H., a season-ticket holder and reader here, attended a lunch with Ed Stefanski earlier today. Here's his report from the Q&A session Stefanski had with the loyal fans.|
|As I was updating the Four Factors worksheet this morning, something jumped out at me right away. When you see a four-game losing streak, you automatically assume the team has just been playing horrible basketball. That's really not the case. In fact, if you go all the way back to the Nets game on Jan. 31 (the 0/18 game), the Sixers have dominated every single area of the game, all but one, that is. Shooting.|
|After four consecutive losses, the Sixers came out tonight to make a statement and prove everyone wrong. Unfortunately, they weren't trying to prove the point we were hoping. Instead, they were bound and determined to show that you can suck from the foul line and still win a game. Mission accomplished.|
|Tonight's game will feature one of my favorite match-ups, Andre Iguodala vs. Caron Butler. Each is under-appreciated, in my opinion. Each a complete player who helps his team in so many different ways, I love seeing those guys go at each other for 40+ minutes. Honestly, I'm hoping the only drama in this game will be whether Iguodala plays enough minutes to out-score Butler. This game really needs to be a blowout in the Sixers' favor.|
Latest comment: from Real and SpeightacularThat's why they coach the games: Reggie had a pretty decent run. Marreese has to learn how to stay in the action w/o fouling. Roll tape on SamIam....
|We've all heard of moral victories. They're supposed to be games you don't win, but you do something that's worthwhile, something you can take away from the game to build upon in the future. Basketball is often a game of momentum, possibly more so than the other sports, but that's in-game momentum. Does it carry over from game to game? Yes, I think so. This is what worried me about the Sixers.|
Latest comment: from BrianI still haven't fully recovered from that game. Unreal....
|Last night's soul-crushing loss was probably harder on Andre Iguodala than anyone else. The guy faced ferocious double teams the entire quarter, and I mean they doubled him the second he caught the ball, no matter where on the floor he was. He never panicked, he never turned the ball over, and he never gave up. He patiently avoided the double and ran the offense. He scored 8 of his 21 in the quarter, but not only did he score, he did everything this team needed him to do for the win.|
Latest comment: from BrianSorry, the season ticket prize expired as soon as the refs said the FG was good. :(...
|That was the view I had of the three refs huddled around the video monitor for 2:30, deciding the Sixers' fate. I put myself through it when I got home, I watched the replay, and they made the right call from the replay, the shot was off in time, just in time. The problem is, there shouldn't have been any time left on the clock.|
Latest comment: from BrianNo protest was filed, apparently they didn't have a leg to stand on....
|The Sixers need to make a statement tonight. Think back to January 1st. Since that date, the Sixers have played 23 games and compiled a 14-9 record. Good, but not great. Now consider that in that time they've only lost 2 games to teams with worse records than they have. One of those losses was the now infamous 0-18 disaster against the Nets. Tonight's game is about making two statements: 1) We are a much, much better team than the Nets; 2) The past 23 games have not been a fluke.|