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Big Game Tonight

eddies' heady's on Feb 17 at 9:30

Good thoughts. I'll continue to hold firm to my stance that we need a decent big over a so-called "closer" any day or hour of the week, regular season or playoffs. Seems that talk of potential closers already on the team has been dialed down quite a bit, mainly because that guy doesn't exist, just as that decent big doesn't.

Don't know how to feel about tonight, don't feel terribly bad about it, just don't know how Jrue is going to respond which leaves me on an uneven keel. Their starters vs our starters presents some very not so favorable matchups. Meeks on Vince, EB/Lavoy on Dirk/Odom, because you can't put Dre on Dirk if Marion is out there. Ugh, maybe I should feel terribly bad about it.

bebopdeluxe reply to eddies' heady's on Feb 17 at 10:23

Does Pau Gasol qualify as a "decent big"?

We really need Jrue to step up big tonight. It's the one weakness of Dallas that we can exploit.

Only two players worry me on that team- Dirk and Odom. Shawn Marion has been playing really well in the past few games, but I expect Iguodala to handle him. VC posting up Meeks is an issue, but I expect Turner to play more minutes than Meeks.

I am viewing the last few games as some of the worst ball they can play. Having a few 5 game patches like that is acceptable. But if it truly was a regression to their actual talent level/ability to execute, then it will be a long second half of the season.

bebopdeluxe on Feb 17 at 10:32

As we approach the halfway point of the season - which has been way above expectations - the question that I have been asking myself recently is whether Collins' EXTREME focus on ball security (the San Francisco 49ers model), which has helped us compensate for more dynamic scoring options terms of offensive efficiency, will serve us well in the playoffs - when EVERYBODY will focus more on ball security and the quality of the opposition improves?

While I certainly understand the positives of uber-ball-security, I worry that the flip-side of that game (relying too much on long 2's, not getting to the line enough, not getting other teams into the penalty, not getting other teams' players into foul trouble, etc...) will become more of a liability. To Brian's point above, other teams have been driving the ball against us - even with our quality perimeter play most of the time - getting to the line and getting our bigs into foul trouble. Can we be successful in the playoffs - especially after the first round - if we do not put more pressure against other team's defenses by taking the ball to the rack, getting to the line, and giving ourselves more opportunities to score the ball in the guts of the game against good teams?

I don't know if this ball security thing is a bit overblown.

The team gets out and runs. The team does not turn the ball over. They pass well and generate a ton of assists from multiple players.

I'm not really seeing this as the huge "problem" people make it to be.

Like I said yesterday- the Sixers are still in the "wax on, wax off" phase where they are are young team learning their way. If anything, they will be given a bit more freedom over the next few years if this core group is allowed to grow together.

I'd much prefer a young team being a bit too ball secure right now then the opposite. If anything, given the typical NBA landscape, it is refreshing to see one of the youngest teams in the league actually play disciplined basketball.

And this is coming from a fan who hated to watch Larry Brown basketball, because it was ugly but effective. But I find that this team is not like that for the most part. Sure, they take too many long 2's, but they also swing the ball and play offense as a team... and I think it will only get better.

And people should not downplay the impact Hawes had on the offensive flow. The ball moved much better from side to side when he was available. Things got uglier when he went down- not because they became more ball secure, but because they lost their best top of the key passer.

I can't help but think that being under the weather is effecting your perspective this morning.

My view of tonight's game is that it will be a challenge because Dallas plays like a team ... and Sixers included .. there only a handful of squads that merit that characterization. I would offer the following to balance the view on tonight's game.

1. Delonte West, Beaubois and Jason Terry are all out tonight ... putting way too much pressure on Methuselah [Jason Kidd], Vince Carter and Dominique Jones. Jones is a total non-factor on offense .. and Kidd and Carter have old legs averaging only 28 and 23 mins a game. Sixers should press the guard play throughout the entire game and expect their patented third quarter push to wear them down in the second half.

2. J. Kidd has a knack for creating unforced turnovers .. I like our chances of winning the turnover battle as usual tonight.

3. The Mavs bigs are not dominant offensively. Nowitzki obviously doesn't play like a big. Expect him to get his 30 points outside ... but I'm not worried as much about not having Hawes today. Whoever we play can foul Haywood if need be - who shoots about 36% from the line lately.

I love our guard depth against this team. We have the number one defense in the league and without Terry the have too few options to hang with the Sixers over the long haul.

I see Sixers by 11 in a game that may even help your cold feel better.

Once again the fickle finger of fate points in the direction of a Sixers win. Mavericks quick, spree-shooting Jason Terry and the annually competitive Delonte West are out; Rodrigue Beaubois didn't play Wednesday due to his father's death (availabilty for tonight in question). Dallas guard line thinned.

As he himself presaged with a post-appointment quote, Iguodala's been relaxing since being named to the East squad (4 G, 14-38 FG, 36.8%, 9.5 ppg). Needs to exert himself tonight for his team, live up to fresh billing. Sixers can't be havin' their All-Star lolling, rolling single digits and expect to beat title contenders. Iggy, step up; don't be a Ziggy. Ferocity, not mendacity!

Sixeritis strikes again?

I don't know, Doc. Whataya think? Been feelin' this way since the Fall of '63. Can't shake it. Some say it's a 48-year attack of the stubborn 1776 influenza strain, some have opined that it's Scarlet Red Kerr Fever. Been to a lot of oafs who took the Hippocratic Oath. Naturally, I field their opinions with congenital wariness and terminally arched eyebrows. Frankly, I've had more compassionate service at car washes. Maybe you're a horse pill of a different color. When'd you hang your shingle? And do you practice in concourses?

There have been lots of factors contributing to the Sixers success. One of these is how the Sixers started from day one playing team basketball with good continuity.

The NBA was ugly for the first month, and to some extent teams are starting to mesh and this takes away part of the Sixers early advantage.

This probably is the difference between the Sixers now beating bad teams by 10-15 instead of 20-30 or being able to be competitive in every game, even when they catch a good team on a hot night.

bebopdeluxe reply to tk76 on Feb 17 at 12:58

I dunno...I am just not convinced that - especially without Hawes - this team will be able to score the ball consistently enough when we play elite teams that take care of the ball, get to the line, and have guys at the end of games that can consistently get their offense. If Hawes is going to be out for a material chunk of the rest of the season (looking more and more like a distinct possibility), unless this team can convincingly win either the turnover battle or the battle of the boards (good luck there), that there is enough offense to win 4 our of 7 games against elite teams - unless we get to the line more or find somebody other than Lou (aka BOSS) to score the ball at crunchtime.

I was all for giving Hawes the credit he deserved earlier in the season, but they can't use him as an excuse not to get good looks and play iso ball. They are going to have to make adjustments and figure out how to get good shots. That starts with Jrue. Man, it would be sweet if he was really good tonight.

Plus, they aren't losing a ton of defense/rebounding with a healthy Hawes. It's a big loss, but not one that they can't overcome. BTW, there is no way they should pay Hawes anything more than what he's making this year. Seems like a huge injury risk.

"I am just not convinced that - especially without Hawes - this team will be able to score the ball consistently enough when we play elite teams"

Sure, I agree with that. But IMO it is a result of a lack of talent and not because Collins is holding them back.

Elite teams have elite talent. The Sixers are getting by with quantity, hustle and discipline over quality., It is a nice story, but they are a team with a clear ceiling- at least for this season.

I think part of the problem recently has been their turnover differential. It's great that they don't try to hit home runs, and they don't turn the ball over, but they haven't been turning the other team over either. There needs to be a differential in their favor, and it hasn't been there as much as you'd expect recently.

tk76 reply to Brian on Feb 17 at 14:08

But partly that is due to teams starting to finally gel and the schedule evening out.

Could be.

bebopdeluxe reply to tk76 on Feb 17 at 14:43

And if that is the case - teams are "gellin'" and we can't count on turnover differential to help our offense out...and we probably can't count on rebound differential either...then against good teams it comes down to being more efficient scoring the ball, right?

So - how does a team that is 3rd from the bottom in shots from 0-3 feet and 3rd from the top in shots from 10-23 feet, and a team that routinely goes to the line a LOT less than their opponents, going to increase points per possession if our offense is focused on limiting "live-ball" turnovers at all costs?

Well, that's not really the case. If the offense remains at or near the level it's at right now, the defense will carry them.

bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Feb 17 at 14:58

Your mouth to God's ear, bro...I just worry that in tight games against good teams - teams that will not beat themselves when under defensive duress (Heat, Spurs...we will see tonight with the Mavs) - that our inability to go to the rim/get to the line and our willingness to settle for long jumpers against the shot clock will be our undoing. Please do not interpret this as a thinly-veiled "play Turner" missive (although I do think he will help there - not only through his potential ability to take it to the rack, but through his ability to facilitate the offense and allow others - like Jrue - take on more of a role as a closer)...I just think that if Hawes is not coming back anytime soon, we have to start modifying our late-game offense to be more than hoping that it is a "good Lou" night.

To me Turner has been playing a whole lot like Bad Lou when he's been running the offense, recently. I can't stand all the dribbling he's doing out at the top of the key, and his dribbling is just like masturbation, he's not doing anything w/ his dribble, just like looking around for someone to come get the ball from him on the perimeter, or dribbling into a pull-up jumper. Been very disappointed in his play the last couple games. Hasn't been attacking at all. Pretty sure the only points he's been scoring have either been on catch-and-shoot or sometimes a cut off the ball.

AndyF reply to Brian on Feb 17 at 15:08

Haha, when I see turn Turner play recently I just want to scream too much dribbling...the thing i...does he not really fit into with doug is doing...a broken jump shot...everytime he is on the floor i just want to slap that look off of his face...

AndyF reply to AndyF on Feb 17 at 15:09

Evidently I know how to make proper sentences.

bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Feb 17 at 15:20

I wonder how much of all that dribbling around the perimeter is a mindset that if he tries to penetrate and take it to the rim (either for himself or to create for others) and he turns the ball over, Collins will bust one of those pulsating veins around his temples.

I think the kid is scared shitless to make a mistake out there...and while I recognize that Turner needs to put his big-boy pants and sack up, Collins is not doing him any favors, either - especially when the majority of his minutes these days seem to be with Lou and/or Meeks.

Sounds like Hawes is out 6 more weeks. Unreal. He only missed 1 game last year! I am going to continue to curse management for getting rid of Speights. We have absolutely no frontcourt scoring threat without Hawes. Brand's big scoring days are apparently over. I would gladly sacrifice a couple spots in the defensive rankings if we could have a big man who could put the ball in the basket.
Sidenote: Who usually guards Dirk? Iggy?

Speights hasn't been able to put the ball in the basket in Memphis.

The Six reply to MikeW on Feb 17 at 14:08

I just don't understand what our front office was thinking when we passed on Javale McGee and DeAndre Jordan in the draft a few years back. We have needed an athletic defensive big for awhile now and we lost out on both of those guys. No use crying about it now I guess but it just bothers me.

tk76 reply to The Six on Feb 17 at 14:18

Speights seemed to fit that profile at the time. They did try to trade up to get Jordan and a shame the failed to get him. But every team passed on Jordan in the first. I think he was red flagged at the time for an undisclosed knee injury or something.

The Six reply to tk76 on Feb 17 at 14:26

Yeah....I know. And I admittedly didn't know anything about McGee. But I absolutely wanted DeAndre Jordan. Red flags and all. The Sixers have drafted pretty well lately so it is not entirely fair for me to be overly critical. I just don't know where we are going to find one of those guys now.

stan@gmail.com reply to The Six on Feb 17 at 14:45

We passed up on 3 guys who lead the NBA in block per game in that draft. Ibaka, McGee, and Jordan

Cousins is averaging 16.3 & 11.3 in 29.5 min. [SAC 10-19]
Favors is averaging 8.3 & 5.4 in 20.1 min. [UTA 14-14]

Turner is averaging 8.9 & 5.5 in 24.4 min. [PHI 20-10]

Cousins 21 yrs old
Favors 20 yrs old

Turner 23 yrs old

What's this on Twitter about JR Smith to the Knicks?

The more time Hawes, the less the chance he gets resigned. That's a win if you ask me. Also Vucevic will get a chance to truly develop.

I think the more we can get our younger players to develop this year the better. 20-10, thats just a bonus...where do we go next? With the offense we are running would it even make sense to have a big like Dwight Howard? I mean I guess he would be helping with defense and rebounding but would he be getting most of his points off of misses? How do you intergrate him?

Pretty sure the offense we run right now is a system chosen to play to the strengths/weaknesses of the current roster. If you get Dwight, you change the offense around to adjust to the new roster.

AndyF reply to Brian on Feb 17 at 15:11

I didnt think our offensive strength was shooting jump shots...we seem like a team that should get to the line...I understand the stats and getting back on D, but we are a young team, shouldnt we be able to anyways?

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