Well rested, at home, coming off an embarrassing loss. No excuses this time. The Philadelphia 76ers are going to need to make a statement at some point. They're going to need to forget about all the lip service, all the "work in progress" garbage and come to the gym ready to play tonight. It's time that this team shows us they're better than they were last year. It's time they proved to us that they didn't waste almost $200M on Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams this summer.
I'm sick of the excuses, I'm sick of hearing them and I'm sick of writing them. Orlando is a good team, not a great team. If the Sixers truly did take that next step, they need to beat teams like Orlando, especially at home, especially when it isn't the second night of a back-to-back. This game will be on ESPN, all eyes will be on this 7-7 Sixers team, it's about time they showed us what they're capable of.
They have stumbled through what was really an easy part of their schedule. The only top-flight team they faced was the Jazz, and they were walking wounded at the time. Take a look at this upcoming schedule:
- vs. Orlando
- @ Boston
- vs. Chicago (7-8 right now, and not playing bad basketball)
- @ Chicago
- vs. Lakers
- @ Detroit
If they don't get their act together, and get it together quickly, they could be looking at a 1-5 record over that stretch. 8-12 on December fifth is not a situation I want to be in.
Now is usually when I'd go into the keys to the game against the Magic, but tonight I'm going to forget that. There's only one thing this team needs to focus on, and only one goal they need to achieve, no matter how they accomplish it. Score more points than the Orlando Magic.
One final note: I've read everywhere, and even talked myself, about how this team can't handle the pick and roll, and how outside shooters are eating them alive, but he fact of the matter is, the defense has been there all year long. We're 14 games in and only 2 opponents have topped 100 points. That's solid defense in this league. Two games ago the Sixers held the Warriors to 81 points, 24 below their season average. That's something to hang your hat on (and the Warriors weren't depleted in that game, they were missing Al Harrington who's been a no-show all season.) Yes, I'd like to see the Sixers do a better job against the pick-and-roll, yes I'd like to see them close out on shooters more quickly, but you know what, it's not critical. If they go the entire season only allowing 93 points per game they'll be just fine. The problems are on the offensive side of the ball and that's what they need to get squared away before everyone starts pointing fingers at the defense.
Tip is at 7:30, the game is on ESPN.Last Time: Magic 98, Sixers 88