All the Sixers need to accomplish to make the opening 10 games of their schedule a success in the win/loss column, if not in our minds, is to win one game in the upcoming back-to-back. Sounds simple, but the two PGs pictured above and circumstances are stacked against them. More after the jump.
Before we touch on where they're going, let's take a quick look at where they've been:
The only indicative stat so far remains eFG. Win that battle, the Sixers win the game.
Now, the upcoming matchups. On Friday night, the Sixers will face an under-performing Utah Jazz team in Philly. Both teams will be well-rested and you have to assume Utah will have a chip on their shoulder. One thing in the Sixers favor, both Kyle Korver and CJ Miles are out with injuries, leaving Okur as their biggest three-point threat. Utah is shooting a dismal 30.9% from downtown as a team.
The Bulls didn't play on Thursday and they won't play on Friday either, so they'll be waiting in Chicago, with extra rest, for the Sixers who will be playing the back end of their back-to-back. Not a great mixture. Obviously, we'll have full previews of each game (Utah's will land Friday afternoon), but there's one thing that concerns me about these two matchups that I'd like to tackle now. Point guards.
Here's a quick look at the PGs the Sixers have faced so far this season:
- J. Nelson + J. Williams: 22 points, 11 assists on only 11 FGA.
- Brandon Jennings: 17 points, 9 boards, 9 assists in his NBA debut.
- C. Duhon + N. Robertson: 15 points on 20 shots (they were horrible)
- Rondo + House: 23 points on 12 shots
- Rafer Alston: 14 points, 6 assists (decent job on a backup)
- Stuckey + Bynum: 21 points, 11 assists, 13 rebounds
- Steve Nash: 21 points, 20 assists
- Alston: 11 points, 5 assists (and a ton of penetration)
That's a lot of production from PGs and now the Sixers are going to be facing two tough ones back-to-back. Rose's explosive athleticism is too much for Lou to handle. Deron Williams' strength and savvy is also a daunting task. If the Sixers are going to come out of this pair with a win, it's going to take a much better effort from whoever winds up guarding the point. Personally, I'd put Iguodala on Williams tonight, Ronnie Brewer isn't nearly the offensive threat that Williams is. Against the Bulls, the Sixers won't have the luxury of switching the backcourt matchups.
If they can manage a split, the Sixers will be 5-5 after ten games. Pretty much exactly where I wanted them to be. At that point, you can look back and realize they haven't played good basketball, but they somehow managed to keep their heads above water. At some point, this team will start playing better. Everything we've seen over the past three years points to them getting it together. No one will ever call them consistent, but I do firmly believe they're resilient. So while these wins may feel hollow, they are vitally important. Let's just hope they can pick up one more before the weekend is over.
Here's a blurb from an article in the Inquirer
For a few minutes in the second quarter of Monday night's game against the Phoenix Suns, the 76ers' backcourt was rookie Jrue Holiday at the point and starting point guard Lou Williams at shooting guard.
For those few minutes, it was effective.
That's not to say we'll be seeing much more of it.
Before last night's game against the New Jersey Nets at the Izod Center, Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said he knows he likes Holiday with reserve Willie Green, but he doesn't remember the Holiday-Williams combo.
That's just spectacular. First of all, that combo wasn't particularly effective. They were out-scored 14-16 in a 4-minute run, mainly because they were hamstrung by a ridiculous small lineup, but that's beside the point. The fact that our coach doesn't even know what combos he's been using in games, or how they've performed...well, I don't know what to say about that.
It's a 7 p.m. tip at the Wach tonight, I'll be back with my preview later in the afternoon.