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Not the Same Story, but Similar

Failed to mention Meeks and Turner because they failed to do anything productive in their 38 combined minutes. Lou couldn't buy a hoop, but at least he stopped shooting it after a while. 0/7 from the floor, but 6/6 from the line and 7 dimes in 27 minutes.

Vucevic had a productive offensive game, and the more I see him, the more I wish the Sixers would feed him in the post more often and avoid giving him the ball 20 feet from the hoop at all costs. He's got decent moves down there and he's really their best back-to-the-basket option. Those are easy points, I wish they'd take advantage. Allen got his runs w/ the starters and then nothing else tonight. I think it was more a result of Vucevic and Brand playing well than anything he did.

The defensive play of the game was Brand's block on Noah (I think). He came out of nowhere and completely stuffed him right at the rim. Great play. EB had another double-double and no matter how old he looks some nights, they'be be helpless without him (in fact, they were when he missed those two games prior to the break).

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Rich reply to Brian on Mar 5 at 12:55
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I totally agree about the SG's. They were so bad, and it hasn't just been one game. It's not like either Turner or Meeks were gangbusters at the beginning of the year, but they both contributed about 7-10 points some boards, assists, made threes in Jodie's case, and solid defense. All of those are pretty much gone, and that sucks. If those two give average efforts last night, it's probably a win. In Turner's case, he takes two horrible shots in the 4th (drive and an easy block for Asik, and tried to post up Rose with the shot going 40 feet in the air) and you just can't have that. The fact that Jodie is only shooting 39 percent from three is bad as well. He is being spoonfed looks to the point where he should be making 45 percent of these.

Lou was obviously bad last night as well, even though his floor game turned out to be very nice.

My explanation for not being able to win close games is simple.

At the end of games, there is far more possession by possession coaching and teams save their surprise tactics for the last 10 minutes so that the opponent won't be able to respond on time (like the Sixers did with the traps last night). All that results in much more difficult ways to score and the one thing that probably suffers the most is transition basketball.

All teams face similar problems late in games. The difference is the good ones are able to get to the free throw line when things get tough. The Sixers are not. And no shooter or defensive minded center is going to fix those issues. They need a guy who can consistently get to the FT line. Or one of the current players to miraculously improve in that area, which i don't think is possible at this point by a big enough margin.

As for this game,i am not disappointed at all. They win this 8 out 10 times. There is no way rose will shot that well on jumpers. There is no way he makes 4-7 from three and a ton of tough fading away long jumpers on a consistent basis. Of course it would be nice if the Sixers had a few guys about who you can say there is no way he does that on a consistent basis once in a while...

I really believe the Sixers match up very well with the Bulls and if they can get to the second round and draw the Bulls they have a good chance.

The Sixers are 12-24-1 in free throw differential this year (meaning the opponent shot more free throws in 2/3 of the game). There is a limited amount of games that you can win without getting to the line consistently. And almost all of those won FT battles are against very bad team.

Only 3 winning teams are below the Sixers in FT differential and two of those are there because they commit a lot of fouls not because they can't get to the line themselves. The Sixers are 21st overall in FT differential and dead last 30th in FTR.
http://hoopdata.com/teamff.aspx

Good point about getting to the line. I remember the AI teams win a lot of games late without ever even hitting a shot. Similar to how OKC won the other night. Neither team could score from the field, but OKC got to the line.

I do think young players get better at knowing how to draw fouls over their careers. But I also agree that none show signs of ever being like Lou in terms of getting to the line a ton.

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FreeReggieEvans on Mar 5 at 5:25
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"There is a limited amount of games that you can win without getting to the line consistently. "

I noticed this as well (but you document it better). Lack of effort/gameplan or lack of respect for a team with more roleplayers than stars?

I think the lack of free throws is a bit of everything:
- players - for the most part the players don't know how to draw a foul
- design - the coaching decision to limit turnovers prevents guys to make dangerous drives to the hoop that might end up in FTs but might end up with a turnover as well
- no superstars - lack of questionable foul calls favoring the Sixers
- lack of rolls on the P&R - the Sixers almost never hit the rolling big man on the P&R or execute a drive for the ball handler. And that's the way teams usually draw fouls. They always make the "safe play" i.e. dribble handoff for a long two, pick and pops etc. It's hard to draw fouls when you shoot long jumpers.

It really is inexplicable to me why they rarely use Young and Vucevic on the P&R. They have shown enough ability that they can do well in those kind of settings, but that part of the offense is almost non-existent. I really hop that all of this is happening because Collins wanted to make things simple in this shortened no practice season...

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Spencer for hire on Mar 5 at 7:33
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I took a lot of positives from tonight. The 1/2 court offense in the first half was beautiful and done without Hawes so it is possible.

Agree totally with Brian's late game thoughts, if they continue that against weaker defensive teams they will win a ton of games.

And finally, they went to Thad in late game situations, as Tk mentioned yesterday, and he delivered for the most part. Brand is really relishing his defensive role and playing great ball lately, but he has to get rest when games are decided so he can be there come playoff time.

this Bucks game may be the easiest one they have for the rest of the month, anyone hoping they use it to get Brack and Battie a few minutes here and there?

Wow, actually i think the Bucks game might be one of the hardest. Second game on a back2back on the road against a good defensive team...

The only harder games they have this month are the Bulls, Heat and Spurs games IMO.

Bucks "good d-team"?
opp ppg, 98.0, 23rd of 30
def rtg, 105.7, 22nd of 30

Other than stopping Jennings, not a whole lot to worry about on the Bucks. Even he's more pest than win-procurer, like a lot of 76ers. No Bogut, no antlers.

Any game on schedule requires physical & mental energy, a degree of hard work. If applied, Sixers win. If last night's loss exhausted their resources, could go down to the wire - a predicament to be avoided as fans well know.

_____

Motion Sickness, Exhibit L16: Iguodala's dizzy, widely-errant 3-pt. shot at 1:11.

Motion Sickness, Exhibit L16-A: Brand's dizzy, "trying too hard" [thanks Dr. Eddie J.] 'pulling guard' moving pick at :20.

Shouldn't $162 million have included at least a Sam's Club-sized bottle of Dramamine?

Welcome to the The Ed Stefanski "Fun 'n Sun" Memorial Loss.

Plan ahead for this summer's Sixers Bash in Avalon: 9 BRICK oven pizzas and 42 COOKED geese will be served. Be early, or you won't score.

Wow. Hadn't realize how far they'd fallen on the defensive end. Skiles must be going out of his mind. Bogut's a huge factor for them on the defensive end.

Yeah, he's a nice factor on both ends. Nothin' flashy but mans the lane, has assortment of moves, has a motor; solid back-to-basket player (somewhat of a rarity in today's game) who knows how to score, has respectable mid-range J. When healthy, TBRW, to be reckoned with. Not comfy at FT line (.574 career) and won't win any 94 ft. races. Still I would think any NBA club would gladly welcome him.

Wow indeed. Those numbers caught me by surprise as well. I admit it i haven't been paying too much attention on the Bucks of late...

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thatguy on Mar 5 at 9:14
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OMG JUST RUN SOME PLAYS FOR THAD DOWN THE STRETCH.

Yeah, agree. Thad has really improved his game this year to where he is a much better threat in terms of drive/shot/pass. He is the only Sixers who consistently has a mismatch, so why not continue to go through him late in games. I'm not saying he will always succeed, but at least it makes for good offense.

Like Rich suggested the other day, they should use 2 bigs and a guard to run plays late. Maybe a P&R with Jrue/Thad with Vuce coming late to that vacated FT line after Thad rolls. That would give a bunch of potention options:

Jrue jumper or drive
Thad roll
Vece short jumper

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South Broad on Mar 5 at 9:25
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When Jodie Meeks can't earn more time on the floor by making mostly open shots (3 straight on one possession), you end up with Collins being forced to play Turner more than he probably should exposing his warts even more. Felt that stretch in the 4th when the Bulls went on a 15-4 run he was pretty bad. He took several questionable shots and just bad isolations, never anything within the flow of the offense. But what was most bothersome was his seeming lack of effort on defense (closing out on the Deng three) and not being sound in team defensive principles (sagging too far into the lane on Deng corner three). These six points combined with the Bulls scoring on their end after several of his ill-advised shots were just killers. Lou had a couple bad shots around this same run by the Bulls too (I think).

Turner may appear that he is a good individual defender at times, but these mental lapses and undiscipline within team defense are contributing to his decreased minutes, offensive ineptitude notwithstanding.

I think Meeks has to be benched at this point. He might even need some d-league time to fix his jumper/confidence. Unfortunately, ET has done nothing to earn a starting spot. I'd almost rather have Lou in there if he agrees to play as SG and not PG. Then have ET as 6th man (without Lou) and have him run a ton of 2 man with Thad.

It is frightening how bad the Sixers are at starting C and SG right now. And when Brand is hurt it gets even worse.

The Bulls and OKC games were really impressive in terms of team defense. I don't know if it is Curry, Collins or Jrue/Iggy... but I am really astounded at how well this team defends against top flight teams despite having some major positional weaknesses. This is similar personnel to what EJ had and yet they are probably the best in the NBA at team defense.

Tough game. Sixers get all they can out of their roster, they really do. But its not enough, defense may win championships, but not when you don't have a guy who can draw fouls or hit an open shot at the end of the game.
I dont believe the Sixers are in a slump, I think this is what they are. A team that cannot score in the half court, and will not win a round in the playoffs as a result.
The only glimmer of hope for this team is if Hawes comes back and plays like he did in the beginning of the season. Other than that your looking at the 7 or 8 seed and another quick exit followed by a high teens draft pick.

So let me ask you guys something---would you rather have the team stay right where they are and continue to "build"---maybe finish just in the playoffs(7 or 8 seed) and get eliminated in the first round but never any further. or just miss the playoffs entirely
-OR tear everything down and be terrible for a few years--(3 or more) and see what the draft and/or free agency can bring you ?


They were in a slump back when Brand missed a couple of games. Right now they are playing well, but losing to superior teams. They would have beaten a ton of NBA teams by 20 last night with the way the played. The Bulls beat them basically with a superstar effort from Rose on a night when his jumper was on.

Yeah i agree thay have been much better after the allstar break. It's the last few games before it that they really looked bad.

The situation with the Sixers is simple. They are top10 team but not a top 5 team. Top 10 teams can look great for a while, but they can also show some glaring weaknesses in their game for long stretches of the season.

Not winnin' with current aggregate but I don't foresee new ownership doing anything drastic with roster. Why empty the Wachovia Center for lottery tickets (draft & free agency down the line)? They're basketball fans second, business people first... Passionate. Intense. Avaricious. "As The World Turnstiles"

Availability AND interest of Howard, Bynum or Leonid Stadnik, the 40 yr old 8'5" Ukrainian farmer, may propel a meeting of front office cigars, cigarettes & Tiparillos.

Its hard to make that jump from pretty good to contender to champion in any sport. Ask the Eagles.
Although I think the Sixers are much further away than the Eagles. Plus basketball is different than football in the sense that the best team ALWAYS wins. There's no helmet catches, or a single mistake by the opposing team thats going to give you a championship(Im talking to you NY Giants !)

Giants 4
Eagles 0

Super Bowl Champion scoreboard.
'86, '90, '07, '11.

Reid. Him hungry. After all these meals. 227 games. Captain Ahab. With a bib.

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Gdog reply to Dollar Bill on Mar 5 at 12:55
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true but. Every one of those SB wins for the Giant was due to some colossal fail by the opponent.

90-Norwood missed 42yd fg
07-helmet catch
11-wes welker dropping a pass he caught 5000 times.

Just sayin...

In all fairness while the Giants runs have a lot to do with timing and everything coming together right, they have something which the Eagles lack that makes they playoff chew toys. The Eagles are unable to play a physical brand of football. Call it smash-mouth or whatever you like, the Birds rely on speed and big plays; both on offense and on defense. Till they can man-up like the Giants, no title.

Yeah, the Patriots won all their rings by pounding the ball up the middle 30x/game.

I said both offense and defense; patriots D circa 2009 was legit with Harrison, Wilfork, Bruschi, all those names i cant remember. they were staunch.
Eagles D phased out after SB run; Trotter, Dawkins, Simon etc.

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Gdog reply to jkay on Mar 5 at 14:00
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no argument from me on that one. I would love for Eagles to run the ball as they have the best back in the league and a damn good offensive line. Giants have more luck than any franchise I have ever seen. But they still had to get there I guess.
Funny how the Patriots haven't won anything since being accused of cheating.

I was really happy that they executed their offense in the guts of the game for the most part. It shows that while not easy, it can be done. This is an excellent defensive team they played as well.

Some close wins are coming. Huge one with Boston looms on Wednesday. If the Sixers play like they did last night, I think they win.

Agreed. Boston is nowhere close to the level the Bulls played last night.

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comment on Mar 5 at 16:11
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with lou 0-7, the team 1-11 on 3s, and mostly inefficient scoring i wondered how we stayed in this game. Winning the turnover battle is nothing new but we also outrebounded them. This gave us more FGA

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