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The Benches

Yeah the disparity in the performance of different lineups has really been the central story of the series. What we are witnessing is a perfect example just how important matchups and fit are in the NBA and that just a collection of good/great players is not enough.

There are two thing i would like to see in game 5:
- Go really big. The one lineup we haven't seen at all is with Thad at SF, Brand at PF and either Hawes or Battie at C. The Heat have struggled with big lineups all season long and even though playing big is not our strength (actually it's a weakness) i think it's worth giving a shot at. The Heat are probably the only team in the league that can "outsmall" the Sixers and at the same time their defense against smaller teams is great.
- Give the ball to Turner when the traps come. Holiday has struggled with traps all season long. He will learn how to deal with it eventually, but for the time being i think the much bigger Turner has a better shot at passing out of them. I wouldn't go with Lou who won't turn the ball over but he will very likely take a bad shot or with Iguodala because his injury has clearly slowed him down and he is not much of a threat to drive.

mchezo reply to Xsago on Apr 27 at 7:44

I wouldn't go with Lou who won't turn the ball over but he will very likely take a bad shot or with Iguodala because his injury has clearly slowed him down and he is not much of a threat to drive.

WTF are you kidding me?!!! lou is you best option when miami traps. jesus you people irk the hell out of with with this anti lou crap.

This is not an anti-Lou post at all. The reason why Lou doesn't turn the ball over is because he has the ability and more importantly mindset to take a shot whatever the situation. Trapping him would just make him take very difficult shots, which is certainly better than turning the ball over, but it's not really a solution is it.

jkay reply to Xsago on Apr 27 at 11:42

usually their trap comes right off the pick and roll so;
1 unless it's not Jrue playing the pick and roll, there's no way they won't try to trap him.
2. 50% chance that Turner won't be on the floor (most likely Meeks), the same time as Jrue. Even less if it's in the first half.
like the x and o's post, positioning is the way to discourage it.

Joel Anthony has been the x-factor of the series. I don't think I've seen a defender so successfully shut Thad down this year.

He has the rare combination of strength, quickness and shot-blocking needed to shut Thad down. The problem to me hasn't been Anthony shutting Thad down, but the Sixers inability to consistently punish the Heat for playing Anthony on the other end where Anthony is a complete zero on offense.

But overall yes Anthony's impact on the series has been huge.

Young: 'Great season still not over':


(with new Iguodala video on the Sixers' unity)

Story: Sixers trying to overcome uphill struggle:


(with video interviews of Holiday, Brand and Iguodala)

In a season where the local media (Smallwood, Fagan, Cooney) have been nearly as relentless in their criticism of Iguodala as the clueless fans who usually comment on their philly.com stories, it's nice to see one positive article. The timing is interesting, because if the Sixers lose tonight, he is the one who will get the lion's share of the blame. (The haters blamed him in 08-09, even when he averaged 21+ PPG, so you can imagine how vicious the criticism is going to be this year.)

Sixers are 10.5 point underdogs tonight. Who thinks they will cover? (I do.)

Good article. I don't recognize the byline, do you? Maybe it's a pseudonym because writing anything positive about Iguodala is verboten for Daily News and Inquirer beat writers.

I'll say the Heat don't cover.

Ha, it'd be funny if the writer used a pseudonym because he was afraid of the backlash from writing a positive article on Iguodala. But I do recognize the name of Marcus Hayes, who writes about all four major sports for the Daily News.

Hayes on Iguodala - a pseudo-cool 'Cuse dude proppin' up a pseudo-cool 'Zona dude. Style, man, style ... he digs AI9's. Applies timeworn "he's great but they don't understand" theme.

Now, back to the ballgame - where substance matters and "victims" are eliminated.

Tray reply to Ty Game on Apr 27 at 11:56

I think Iguodala, stylistically, is one of the dullest players I've ever seen. But on substance, he's pretty good.

Speaking of style over substance, JJG (you're not fooling anyone with your pseudonym of a pseudonym), while I hardly ever agree with the substance of what you have to say, your verbal style is one of a kind and often entertaining.

tk76 reply to Statman on Apr 27 at 11:35

"The chondromalacia in Iguodala's right knee, a chronic condition that dates back more than 5 years"

Yeah, that does not sound good.

I've written before about previously durable players starting to break down after about 500 NBA games.

Chondromalacia patella, medical term for common condition known as "runner's knee", the softening or breakdown of cartilage under kneecap, joint discomfort typically short of anguish. One suggested treatment: ibuprofren, rest and mental strength exercises.

Yeah, he's definitely lacking toughness.

tk76 reply to Ty Game on Apr 27 at 13:13

Yeah, I'm pretty familiar with the pathogenesis and management of the condition. It generally is brought on if your quads are disproportionately strong as compared to you inner thigh muscles. This relative imbalance pulls the knee-cap out of alignment, causing wear and inflamation under the knee-cap.

It is the kind of thing that can be minor and self limitted if it happens once. But it also can turn into a chtronic condition that saps your strength and explosiveness.

johnrosz reply to Statman on Apr 27 at 14:21

"That injury stole from him the effective midrange jump shot he developed during his brilliant gold-medal run with Team USA at the World Championships."

This sentence tells you all you need to know about Marcus Hayes. You all know that doesn't make a lick of sense. Hayes is unbelievably arrogant for a guy that has very little understanding about the NBA.

Other than his unbelievably smug delivery, he has a point. It is unfortunate that a large part of the fan base will focus on the poor playoff performance while completely disregarding the injury though.

We need to go smaller... Inception

ESPN has some good things to say about Iguodala:

Andre Iguodala -- Offense 65, Defense 95
LeBron James will tell you that only two players have averaged 14 points, five rebounds and six assists this season: himself and Iguodala. It's fitting that the two have gone head-to-head in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs because in many ways, Iguodala is LeBron Light, a wing player who impacts the game in so many ways on both ends of the floor.

Iguodala's reputation has swung like a pendulum over the past few season from underappreciated to overpaid back down to underappreciated again. Sure, he's been hobbled this season, but the 27-year-old still ranks as one of the best defenders in the league. According to 82games, his opponent PER is a league-best 8.8, which means he basically reduces his counterpart to Travis Outlaw-esque production. That's value. Iguodala's ability to guard multiple positions has also helped the Sixers play four points better per 100 possessions with the 6-foot-6 freak athlete out on the floor. He may not be a go-to scorer, but he doesn't need to be to have a major positive impact on the game.

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