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If the Sixers can manage to lose another 32 games like they lost this game tonight, I'm going to have to change the name of this blog. The Sixers played their hearts out, overcame a horrible start (2 points in the first 6 minutes), and an unbelievable third quarter by the Warriors (14-18 from the field) to take the lead with 18 seconds left. Unfortunately, Mo Cheeks spit the bit after the ball went out of bounds off the Sixers with 9 seconds to go. For some reason, which is beyond reason, Cheeks left Joe Smith in to play defense, and kept Samuel Dalembert on the bench. The Warriors isolated Al Harrington on the low box, he went to work on Smith and scored the deciding basket in the Warriors' 102-101 win, leaving only 1.2 seconds left on the clock.

Mo Cheeks never fails to amaze. Let's forget about Cheeks, because to be honest with you, he's holding up his end of the bargain with moves like this. The Sixers can play a great game, show all the heart in the world, Iguodala can emerge as the superstar he's destined to become, and they can still lose and take a step closer to the top of the lottery. Back to Iguodala, check out this line: 25 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. He also took over covering Baron Davis in the fourth quarter, Davis caught fire in the third and turned a 10-point deficit into a 9-point lead. Iggy shut him down in the fourth. Obvious choice for player of the game.

There are some things to love about this team. Miller is a great distributor. Dalembert is finally developing into a serviceable big man. Korver is a hard worker, who stretches the floor and takes advantages of mismatches. And Iguodala...what can I say about Iguodala. Yes, he's emerging. Yes, he's going to be an elite player. But, no, I don't think he's the next Jordan, no I don't think he's a legitimate first option on offense. That is a void that needs to be filled in this year's draft. Iguodala has all the athleticism in the world, he has all the talent in the world, but he isn't a fluid offensive player. He's better at setting up other guys to make the plays, he's better getting his offense by moving without the ball, running the floor and crashing the boards. If I had to compare him to someone, it would be Scottie Pippen, the good parts of Scottie Pippen's game. The defense, the ball handling. Not the bad parts, complaining when Tony Kukoc takes the last shot, even though his team wins. Basically, he's like Scottie Pippen without the baggage. Like Pippen, I think we're going to see Igoudala's true greatness when he's the straw that stirs the drink on offense. I'd also like to see him play the two more often, with someone who can spread the floor and hit the deep shot at the three.

I could be wrong about Iguodala, he could develop the jumper and fluidity needed to dominate on offense, but even if he doesn't he's still the player to build around here. I've said before that I'd rather the Sixers get Oden in the draft, if they have a choice between Oden and Durant, but I'm not so sure anymore. If the Sixers add Oden, next year the probable starting lineup is Miller, Carney, Iguodala, Dalembert and Oden. Not a shooter in the bunch. If they get Durant, the lineup could be Miller, Iguodala, Durant, Hunter and Dalembert. Much more balanced. That is a dangerous lineup on both ends of the floor, especially if Durant's rebounding skills translate to the NBA.

The Celtics continued their downward spiral tonight, losing their 14th in a row, and Memphis isn't getting any better, so this may be a moot point. Let's hope David Stern has one more fixed lottery in him.

by Brian on Feb 2 2007
Tags: Basketball | Sixers |