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Welcome Back, Sixers

"I'm still sticking by my prediction of them splitting the first four games."

So we're going to win 2 out of the next 3. I can't see that. I think I'll go with Miami in 5, with us winning a game at home, but a sweep would be very unsurprising. They're just much better than us and the bad news for us is that, after the first quarter, they looked very engaged on defense. With their enormous offensive advantages, we really can't be very competitive if they also guard us well. When they defend, they're a much scarier team than the teams we faced in our last two first-round losses. It's too bad we had to blow the 6th seed. We could have taken Boston 6 or 7 and really boosted perceptions of our team around the league, made free agents take us much more seriously. Atlanta had everyone conned into thinking they were a serious up-and-comer after their 7-game loss to Boston in the first round several years back.

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jkay reply to Tray on Apr 17 at 2:42
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if you want to throw up the white flag after one game, that's fine.
what I saw out there was a team that is just as inconsistent in their level of play as us. The series is still very much open as of right now.

7 rebounds in 40 minutes. Is that acceptable production against a front court of Bosh, Big Z, and Joel Anthony? If it is then my standards must be too high.

Decent game overall, but more consistency is needed if they want to win even a single game in the playoffs. The good thing is they appear to be back after some bad play over the last few weeks. The thing about this team is that they need to outwork the opposing team, to have a chance and thankfully the players mentality suggests they are willing to do so.

As for some key issues they need to fix if they want a win a game here are my observations:
- defensive rebounding is what lost us this game. They need to do a much better job on the boards starting from game 2. Brand specifically needs to assert himself more on defense and get more rebounds. Thad too.
- beat the zone defense. The best way for the Sixers to beat the zone is by never letting it settle in the first place. They got to run in transition mercilessly. And they need to take every good shot they have. Sometimes it's better to pass out a good shot for a better shot, but the Heat are not the team to do that against.
- tighten up the rotations. I was shocked that Collins used 11 players in the rotation after expecting between 7 and 8. Nocioni, Speights and Battie should be glued to the bench against the Heat. There is no use of them against this team.
- Holiday and Young need to use their quickness advantage to get to the rim more often. Way too many jump shots in game 1.

Is Andre Nocioni the new Willie Green?

Did anyone else love the....well you can't really call it "rivalry"....but the back and forth between Speezy and Lebron!? Abc's best quote was when Speezy shoulder check Lebron out of bounds on an open drive, "it doesn't even look like Maurice was attempting to go for the ball" IT AIN'T EASY BEING SPEEZY!

This will come down to adjustments... I wonder what Spoelstra is going to change? Will we see more of that zone? Will Doug somehow realize that Nocioni shouldn't see a second? Hard to gauge what happens... I can see Miami keying on Jrue next game, Iguodala's offense continuing to sputter, and a subsequent blowout. On the other hand, if Lou settles in, Thad keeps up that energy and returns to his normal efficieny, and Hawes gives us 15 good minutes, we can win any game. Proud of what was on the floor last night and elated that they didn't tank this year.

Let me add, Marreese Speights layups not falling... never thought that would be my complaint with him. I'm not going to ask that he stop trying to draw charges because that is a foregone conclusion..

Column: Sixers do a lot well in opening defeat:

http://ow.ly/4BZ7j

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eddies' heady's on Apr 17 at 10:57
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Really curious why Doug went to Speights rather than Battie early in the 3rd when Hawes was sent to the bench? I mean, he hasn't even trusted the guy to get those spot minutes in the regular season vs lesser opponents, yet he throws him out there on this stage vs this opponent? I'm just as confident in Battie knocking down those 15-16 foot jumpers as Speights. Plus, Battie won't jack one up every chance he gets, good shot or not, like Speights will. Puzzling.

probably cause we were getting nothing on offense and Doug was praying Speights could get one or two shots to fall. It didn't work out. Also Speights has had a couple of games this seaosn where he's shown great effort in rebounding, yesterday wasn't one of those days either.

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eddies' heady's reply to Alvin on Apr 17 at 11:56
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Which is exactly why it's even more puzzling to me considering how short Doug's leash has been with some guys this year, particularly Marreese. As you said, neither end of the court worked out - which is very surprising that Doug was even willing to take that chance in that big of a game.

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johnrosz reply to eddies' heady's on Apr 17 at 15:20
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It's sad that we as fans want to rely on Tony Battie for rebounding/defense that you'd want from your backup big in spot minutes. Guy is about as soft as they come.

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eddies' heady's reply to johnrosz on Apr 17 at 17:48
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And he may be soft as you say but, the guy will put somebody on their back if they come in the lane unguarded. He's not scared of a hard foul. But I'd flip what you said and say it's sad we can't even get spot minutes of defense/rebounding out of our #2 pick. He's soft as tissue too and never met a hard foul this whole season.

As a side note, i am not as worried about the Heat playing more zone. One of the biggest strengths of their team is having great man-to-man defenders in Lebron, Wade and Anthony. By going to a zone they also substract one of their biggest strengths. If Meeks, Holiday or Lou can hit a three once in a while, i think they can do well against the Heat zone compared to what they can do when they defend man-to-man.

I wouldn't be pointing out the rebound total of any player when the team was so god awful on the defensive glass. It should be a negative that 2/3 of Thad's rebounds were offensive boards, not a positive. THe sixers were absolutely atrocious on the defensive glass (which isn't surprising because it's a glaring weakness that must be addressed when Hawes is replaced)

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eddies' heady's on Apr 17 at 12:08
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I want to be incorrect so bad about this, but I just can't convince myself that we aren't getting swept by these guys.

I can't see Jrue having that good of a game again especially taking care of the ball. For that matter, I can't see the whole team only having that few of turnovers. Andre can't get to the rim vs LeBron so you know he will resort to a game of jacking ill-advised jumpers. You would expect they will key on Thad and minimize his contributions. Brand won't give you an other-worldly game, probably just his usual while still lackluster on the boards.

LeBron and Wade are going to score and combine for more points you'd think.

Guess it will come down to Meeks catching fire or Hawes giving you a double digit scoring game or Lou lighting it up for a stretch. When looking at it like that, I'd say there's just as good a chance I find a pot of gold at the end of the next rainbow.

I'm not accustomed to this, but pessimism sucks..

I felt like Jrue and Brand, even Thad, had basically average games (for their standards) and definitely not "otherworldly". Also Hawes, Lou and even Iguodala were below average. If all of the Sixers play at their average they would play better than they did yesterday IMO. The thing that worries me is that the Heat probably have much more in them than they showed in game 1. Especially Lebron and Wade. As for Bosh and the supporting cast, they pretty much were as good as they were gonna be.

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johnrosz on Apr 17 at 15:32
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I think Bosh is a real matchup problem for this team for the rest of the series. Elton is too slow/lazy closing out on the jump shooter to bother his game. Hawes is a tub of lard. Thad isn't going to get it done, although he bothered the hell out of Amar'e in that last NY game...

ESPN reports that the refs were evenhanded in Game 1 and the Sixers have only themselves to blame for the foul shot disparity.

http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoopmiamiheat/post/_/id/6233/second-look-at-game-1-were-refs-unfair

Sixers ranked 23rd in Average FT Attempts on the road while the Heat were 3rd in Free Throw attempts at home. A disparity is to be expected.

Sixers were 28th in the league in Average FT Attempts at Home while the Heat were again 3rd.

No reason to be surprised at any kind of free throw disparity. The sixers stinks at getting to the line the Heat are pretty darn good at getting to the line.

When you ignore home/road games, heat still come out 3rd in FT attempts per game, sixers 26th, at about 5.5 FT's per game differential

In the second paragraph, the heat were again 3rd means that they were 3rd in FT attempts on the road. Sorry

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Court_visioN reply to GoSixers on Apr 17 at 19:09
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still, 5.5 FTs disparity is a big difference from Game 1's 24. i do try not to blame refs for wins and losses though so it's just something that the sixers are going to have to deal with throughout this series.

Simmons disagreed:

@sportsguy33 Mia-Phi = bizarre. Phi had 35 FGA inside 10 ft; Mia had 25. Mia had 13 more rebs. FT's should not be 39-15 Mia

Simmons's stat intern disagreed, anyway. You know he isn't looking up these numbers himself. I love how all of a sudden his writing will contain these random references to TS% nowadays, whereas in the past his stuff was all, "yeah, someone may have way better numbers, but Kobe is like some random porn star, who I have no guilt confessing to knowing all about at the age of 40, in the clutch."

I really doubt simmons has a stats intern, also understanding TS% isn't all that difficult.

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Tray reply to Jason on Apr 17 at 21:45
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No, it's not, but it could be for Simmons. I never got the enthusiasm, he's a third-rate jokewriter (literally, that's what he used to do) who decided he'd write about basketball. And being that he is a third-rate joke-writer, his basketball writing is a lot funnier than that of the average basketball columnist, but that doesn't make it good or something.

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johnrosz reply to Tray on Apr 17 at 23:30
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Jimmy Kimmel isn't third rate

I'm not even sure where this is coming from. Wasn't he already working for ESPN for years before he started writing for Kimmel?

Besides, Jimmy Kimmel isn't third rate, that's an insult to third (and fourth rate) comics everywhere.

Simmons was a hack before he went to work at ESPN, when he went to ESPN and ever since.

I consider it one of those arbiter of taste things, like thinking Ashton Kutcher has talent or that twilight is good for anything but kindling

FT attemps in three Heat-Sixers regular-season games was 88-46. Biggest difference was 31-11 in Sixers' opener at Wells Fargo Center.

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Jake reply to t on Apr 17 at 23:07
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Here's the TL;DR

The Heat shot more FT's then the Sixers because on Average the Heat players shoot more FT's per FGA then the Sixers.

Here's what I have to say about that:

For the season the Sixers Ratio of FTA per FG was 0.272. They attempted 85 FG's that game (Apparently 39 jumpers though not sure how this rate differs from there normal) and should have therefore shot 23 FT's. A 53% increase.

The same Math for the Heat, They should have shot 27 FT's (74 FGA * .365 FT/FGA). The Heat shot 39 FTA's 44% more then the 27 they would have on average.

EVEN FURTHER if we calculate the expected number of FTA's subtracting ALL the jumpers the Sixers shot (85-39)(.272) The Sixers should have shot 12 FTs only 3 fewer then they did during the game.

What this boils down to is that the FT disparity cannot be dismissed by simply saying that the players were playing as normal. There was a clear disparity from the average play of both teams in FT attempts.

Did you see my trivia question:

When was the last time the Sixers lost a Game 1 on the road and still managed to win a playoff series?

1982 Eastern Conference finals against Celtics. Lost Game 1 in Boston, then won three in a row. Dropped Games 5 and 6 before stunning Celts in Beantown, prompting the original "Beat L-A" chant from Boston fans at end.

Have they ever lost the first two on the road and come back to win a series?

Things are going pretty well for lower seeds so far. One commonality, of course, between Memphis, New Orleans, and New York if they win, is that they all have stars - and yes, Randolph, who's averaged 20 and 12 over the past two seasons, and 20 and 10 from 2003 (the first season when he got more than 17 minutes a game) to now, is a star. Now, whether I'd extend him for four years and 71 million, as Memphis apparently just did, is another matter. He's never really been about athleticism, but he is 30.

At least its only 4 years - last year player which of course he would take at age 34.

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Spencer Flaws on Apr 17 at 23:29
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Wade's having migraines!http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/news/story?id=6375958


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