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I think it really was more of a guaranteed win type comment. He said "there's no chance that happens again" (in reference to the Sixers taking them to overtime last game). But yes, underlying the statement that there is no chance they will lose tonight, is the sentiment that we are a joke to them.

This is the kind of game that will show what the Sixers are made of. Second night of a back-to-back, at home against a contender (at least in the media) who is somewhat struggling of late. A good team has to find a way to win this one.

The good thing about the matchup with the Magic is believe it or not the chance to go small. As ridiculous as it sounds, you are better of with 4 smaller guys chasing the other 4 Magic players off the three point line because they can quickly double Howard and get back to their man.

Yep, I'd definitely go small against them. Besides doubling quickly, the other guys can also drop down to foul Howard to keep Brand out of foul trouble. Hawes better give hard fouls tonight, I don't want to see any and-ones.

As far as the media is concerned, I think Orlando is now 'fourth' in the east behind even Chicago.

To most it's miami/boston

Chicago MAYBE if they're healthy but they dont' really have the experience yet

And then Orlando - and there's some distance between Chicago and Orlando.

Miami Boston will probably end up 1-2 and I don't think anyone believes Orlando can take either of em in a 7 game series - but they could take atlanta

Two tidbits:
* Sixers are up to 10th in Hollinger's Power Rankings (a 34-point road win does wonders for that), and Hollinger's program gives them a 4.7% chance of making the NBA Finals -- which is probably 4.6% higher than the most optimistic of us gives them :-)
* Sixers are 1-point underdogs to the Magic tonight (line opened at 2)

Wow, they're only +1? I would've expected the line to move in the other direction.

It's amazing the way that Vegas has started respecting the Sixers. I guess for good reason though, I would love to see the updated numbers but about a month ago we had the best ATS record in the NBA.

http://www.vegasinsider.com/nba/against-the-spread/

Best overall percentage but memphis has more covers?

I think I"m reading that right

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MW reply to GoSixers on Feb 9 at 17:08
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Yep, thanks for the link. Best W % ATS. Pretty awesome. And of course the 2 games I bet the most on were this past weekends knicks games....both losses (ATS).

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Rich reply to MW on Feb 9 at 17:16
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Makes sense though. That Knicks game on Sunday was the first one in awhile they weren't really competitive in, and that was due to an incredible shooting performance. They come to play every night, makes every game worth watching.

This season has a very 2008/9 feel to it. That was the year before they got Brand. They started slowly (3-9 and 5-13.) Young was a rookie, and really stepped up the second half of the year after only getting token minutes prior to the New Year. They started with KK, and then moved him in favor of a more athletic lineup.

That year they lost close early in early going, but "played hard." Then they started consistently beating bad teams. Then they closed the year out as one of the best teams after the All Star break- having an 18-5 stretch where they beat a ton of quality teams and rose above .500. Thad got dinged, and they wilted a bit heading into the playoffs(40-42), then made it interesting taking the first 2 of 3 from a good Pistons team.

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tk76 reply to tk76 on Feb 9 at 16:55
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By contrast, they turned the corner much earlier this year. They were 18-30 as late as Feb 5th, and then made their improbably run for .500.

Both teams were led by Iguodala (who emerged that year in Jan after a slow start) and a rejuvenated vet (Miller.) This year they also started with a poor facsimile of KK ( Kapono and then Noce) before going to a more athletic roster. Young has been a key for each roster. And hopefully Turner emerges late in the season much as Young stepped up.

That year turned out to be a bit of Fool's Gold- but partly because Brand did not turn out to be the right addition. The similarities don't by themselves make this year Fool's Gold... but the possibility is there.

You mean 2007/2008...

Actually i was looking at a lot of stats from the two playoff seasons today and this years team is better in everything so far except rebounding. They are better both offensively and defensively. And one would expect they will even get better.

I think you might be mixing your years. 07-08 was the year before they got Brand. They did play the Pistons in the playoffs in 07-08, but Thad got dinged the following year, in 08-09 (before they played the Magic). Iguodala was the one who got dinged in 07-08, if I'm remembering correctly (otherwise he probably would have averaged 20 PPG that year). Both years had in common that they started slowly and came on strongly, then finished the regular season poorly, then shocked everyone by taking of 2 of 3 from a higher seed, then shocked no one by eventually losing the series (with home blowout losses in both Game 6's).

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tk76 reply to Statman on Feb 9 at 17:08
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Sorry, I was looking at 2007/8. Sorry for the typo. The records I referred to were from 2007/8:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/PHI/2008_games.html

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tk76 reply to tk76 on Feb 9 at 17:10
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And you are right about Young. he was playing starters minutes down the stretch that season. So I'm not sure why they struggled so badly their final 7 games.

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deepsixersuede on Feb 9 at 17:11
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Orlando really weakened themselves defensively in the trades and guys like Iggy [Turkaglu] and Lou [Arenas] really have to take it to their defenders. Is Meeks playing closer to a Redick level in the past 2 weeks?

Reddick has better handles and is a slightly better defender.

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Rich reply to Xsago on Feb 9 at 17:22
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Ball handling is kind of an overrated asset for guys who are spot up shooters on offense. That's not really a big deal.

Redick has basically turned himself into an average defender, which is quite a feat.

Meeks is a very, very flawed player. I cringe every time he attacks the rim in the open floor. He also is really limited on defense.

That being said, he's been a part of that gangbusters 5 man unit, and I don't think you can say it's a fluke any more. His shooting is a very valuable asset, and he's a guy that this team sorely needs when he's a threat like he's been more most of this year. A 40 percent three point shooter who spaces the floor has had a huge part in making this team a playoff team.

Over the past week or so, I've started to think "Make" when Jodie shoots a three. That's a good sign.

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deepsixersuede reply to Rich on Feb 9 at 17:25
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He seemed to get his hand on the ball defensively a lot last night helping the team to run. The issue will be not giving him a Willie contract this summer.

Yep, I'm hoping this is just him and not another hot streak. If he can just consistently hit threes, then teams need to worry about him on a nightly basis. I'd much prefer that to having him shoot 60% from three for five games then, 20% for the next ten. But I guess that goes w/out saying.

Still in shock that he had 8 rebounds in the last game.

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Rich reply to Brian on Feb 9 at 17:33
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Far from me to be an expert, but I think he'll be a little more consistent. His shots are much more within the flow of the offense. In the past, he either was:

a. Hot and they were running him off crazy screens and he made really high degree of difficulty shots. That's because he was on fire.
b. Cold and he was standing in the corner as a last option.

Now I see him flowing to the open spot on the three point line and the ball movement is crisp as it gets to him. It's like when EB draws 2 defenders he passes it out, and boom-boom (two passes) and Jodie's got an open three in rhythm.

Shooters are streaky though, it's kind of a mind game.

I like Howard but fuck Him hopefully the sixers players got word of this and we will show these dudes why that trade they made was horrible.

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