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Clean Slate, Uphill Battle

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jswigga on Apr 27 at 1:05
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great piece, Brian.
I concur 100%. Particularly with your suggestion to start Allen over Hawes.
your reasons are good, but I think you overlooked one. Youth. Allen's a young-boy, true, but what he lacks in experience he makes up for in youthful ignorance. What do I mean? He isn't tainted yet. He has young-boy heart. Is that important? You bet.

Like you said, it's the playoffs. Guys are hungrier, scrapier and out for blood. We don't need Hawes sulking around like a bi*ch. We need someone who isn't gonna give up. I see that in Allen. His youth and inexperience may be our x-factor. He's playing with nothing to lose -- and everything to gain.

Go Sixers

I'm a bit concerned that Collins will switch Iggy onto Rose late in games. I think Jrue is better suited to cover Rose and it hurts them directly and indirectly when Collincs makes that switch.

That said, I can at least look forward to this series and how the individual players and team responds. I really don't think there was anything to look forward to in a Heat seroes.

I was thinking about this. If Rose isn't hitting his jumper, then I think Iguodala can handle him. He'll basically just play off him and dare him to shoot it, then close late and contest. If Rose is hitting his jumper and he needs to play closer, it'll be an issue.

I think we'll see Jrue, Turner and Iguodala on him, and a variety of different schemes. I think Jrue will see the most time, though.

I think we will see Jrue most of the time- but if they are fortunate enough to be in a close game I'm pretty sure Iggy will be on Rose for the closing minutes. At least that is what happened during the season IIRC.

They made a huge comeback in that second game, right? Just fell short. I think they made the run by trapping Rose, can't remember if they had Iguodala on him one-on-one late, but that seems to ring a bell.

All I remember is Thad being a step tentative on the last trap and it cost them.

I really hope several of these games are as well contested as their regular season match-ups.

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johnrosz on Apr 27 at 2:19
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I want to see heavy doses of ET and Iggy going all out on the boards, I don't care if you're stealing rebounds from our fraud big men, they need to do whatever they can to push the pace and avoid getting into a halfcourt game.

Getting a couple of those 10+ rebound games from Evan would be absolutely huge for them.

Dre needs to push it too and you've just gotta hope Jodie can actually knock down his transition looks from deep.

I have absolutely no idea what to expect in terms of minutes from the perimeter guys. Turner has been absolutely horrible against the Bulls in his career. I think it's because he's been mostly matched up with Ronnie Brewer. If they could get him in a situation where Rose, Watson or Korver is on him, I think he could pretty well. Brewer is going to give him a ton of problems, though. He should be able to work against Rip, too. Maybe you start him, try to take advantage of that matchup? Who knows.

Iguodala is shooting a steady clip from beyond all season, but it tends to flicker away as he tires and approaches the 4th qtr.
Jrue is ultra streaky but at least he doesn't shoot 50% from the FT line. If anyone goes off it will be him.

Turner and Lou both struggle against Chicago's disciplined defenders so no go. If Brand is eating up Boozer, they will switch Noah onto him, and it will be up to Vuce/Allen to make Boozer pay for that. I can't exactly bank on those odds.

As always, I believe the series will come down to the play of Thad in the interior. It's not new that his play is directly correlated to our win totals. If we stand a chance, he needs to have success.

For this series, while it sounds counter-intuitive, I would take the ball out of Jrue's hands and make Iguodala the primary initiator. Basically to make Holiday play off the ball as much as I can; 1) I think the reason he disappears in games is fatigue from chasing down quick guards 2) He is a much more reliable threat on catch and shoot than whatever options we have. As the 4th qtr approaches, he can re-assume duties. If we had a proper offense where we run 1-4 pick and rolls, this could hurt but since we dont anyway, it's not taking away anything.
My own creative way of worrying about our half court offense; while drawing the Bulls was a prayer answered, their half court defense is just as tough as Miami's. Our usual tricks won't cut it. The opportunity of pushing the ball going to be available much.


My mind may be on the off-season, but I still want something interesting.
Would like to take this opportunity to thank Jodie Meeks, Craig Brackins, Spencer Hawes, Xavier Silas and Tony Battie on a job well done. The box score looked putrid.


Random Question: If the game is in the final seconds, and somehow, the Sixers are up, the Bulls need to foul to stay alive, does DC take Iguodala off the floor?
I have a feeling hack-a-Dre may come into play, the Bulls have astute personnel.

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Sharone Wright reply to jkay on Apr 27 at 8:45
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AI9 FT% less than 62%. That is 6th worst in the league (for qualified players). Hoping he can improve closer to his career numbers (74%) in the playoffs.

Hacking a 60% foul shooter isn't really a good idea. That's giving up 1.2 points/possession. They'd probably look to foul him if it was a situation where you'd look to foul anyone, meaning if it's a fouling situation they'll definitely try to give it on Iguodala, but we aren't talking about Shaq or Dwight.

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YoungGun13 on Apr 27 at 7:41
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Brian, next year if you were sixers gm would you trade evan turner to the bobcats for bismack biyombo?

Sure would be nice to see a few minutes of Battie here and there, if only to make Noah his bitch...and if ET ever wants to wear his man pants and take over a playoff series, this could be a great opportunity...

I actually would like to see Battie as a starter in the playoffs.

Holiday (38) / Turner (24)
Meeks (18) / Williams (26) / Turner
Iguodala (38) / Turner
Brand (38) / Young (38)
Battie (20) / Brand

An 8man rotation, and heavy minutes for the 4 best players, but you can probably afford it in the playoffs. And 38min per game is probably far less than what some of the superstars (like LeBron, Durant and co) will get. They will probably have plenty of rest very soon anyway.

Hawes is even worse than last season at this point IMO, Vucevic has hit the rookie wall hard and is completely lost after a very promising start and Allen while doing what is asked of him is simply too limited overall. Keep them on the bench as an emergency.

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Sharone Wright on Apr 27 at 9:11
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I am a big Hawes-hater, but I’m hoping someone can explain how he leads the team in rebounds, despite having fewer minutes than EB. It’s the highest rebound rate of his career. I think everyone agrees that Brand works harder. I guess it’s just the 4” in height, but I am hoping someone can put it into better perspective for me.

Without looking at the stats I would have guessed Hawes was fourth behind Brand, Thad, and AI9.

B/C he's always closest to the basket (on defense...certainly not on offense).

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eddies' heady's reply to Sharone Wright on Apr 27 at 9:35
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Because he didn't accumulate enough minutes for his average to return to the mean? Or drop below EB's?

Hawes is decidedly mediocre and leans soft, but he isn't quite the "sissy" he's advertised to be on this blog (too tall an order). His achilles' heel is his temperament.

On the other hand, Brand's Duke hero/former All-Star credentials paper over his frequent path-of-least-resistance court decision-making as his career winds down.

Similar numbers across the board. Neither finish well at the rim. (Turner, the fiercest - or most maniacal - down there.)

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eddies' heady's on Apr 27 at 9:32
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"Here's my question for you guys, who's going to step up in this series?"

Um, no one probably, if anyone maybe Lou just because he's the most capable and angling for a new contract. Plus, he was banged up and not 100% for last year's playoffs.

"Who's going to open some eyes?"

Um, no one probably. Jodie if he gets hot?

"Who's going to be the Sixers' superstar for a game or two?"

Um, Thad maybe with his all over the court relentless hustle. Not superstar label worthy, but superstar being relative to the rest of the Sixers roster and their play.

Thibs frustration with having a hard time solving how to beat the Sixers consistently over the last two seasons will bring out his kryptonite in this series. He bottles up what is a shell of an offense from the Sixers.

Bulls in 4, bring out the brooms. After going down 2-0, game 3 'might' be close with the Sixers energized by the packed house home crowd, it will be short lived though.

I wish to congratulate Andre Iguodala on his .394 three-velous performance this season. Positive net results from Darel Carrier land. I strongly suspect the Bulls will encourage distance shooting. Will AI9's season-long accuracy continue on the big stage of the Playoffs? Or should an EMT unit standby for the orange rims? A critical X factor, as results either way are momentum shifters. And of course there is always those pesky free throws with which to contend; a swing towards career norm would help. Iguodala must retain late season assertiveness on the offensive end for Sixers to have any shot at an upset in my opinion; the younger guys spiritually feed off of it.

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Sharone Wright reply to Dollar Bill on Apr 27 at 10:41
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Wow Bill, that post was startling in that it was not 100%Iguodala-hating! Softening in your old age? :)

Temporarily. Powdered donuts for breakfast. :)

Iguodala must retain late season assertiveness on the offensive end for Sixers to have any shot at an upset in my opinion; the younger guys spiritually feed off of it.

Well said, I agree 100% (and pigs are flying?). I would add that for the Sixers to do well, Iguodala needs to outplay Deng. Here is one stat I will be watching: points + 2*assists. Iguodala's total needs to exceed Deng's total by at least 5 (seasonal averages showed Iguodala at +2). For that to happen, Iguodala needs to channel 08-09 (his one good playoff series) and forget what happened last year and 07-08 vs. the Pistons ...

The playoffs is really all about bringing fans together.

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Tom Moore on Apr 27 at 10:26
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Sixers-Bulls series (with prediction): What can go right, what can go wrong:

http://www.phillyburbs.com/sports/sixers/ers-bulls-playoff-series/article_7bba19da-2ceb-54b8-90fd-81479caa98b7.html

Simply put, playoff basketball in the NBA is played at another level

Superstars get more calls come playoff time, and the sixers lack one, but the Bulls have one. Just saying, complaining about the refereeing is going to probably be high as almost every questionable call goes for Derrick Rose.

I think the Bulls are better than the sixers are almost every position, I think that the Bulls are better coached by the sixers, and play good enough defense to shut down a team with the 'offensive system' the sixers run.

Maybe they take a game, maybe they take two, but I don't really believe they have a shot to win this series without MULTIPLE injuries to the Bulls (they'll beat the sixers in a 7 game series even with out Rose)

Starting time on Saturday sucks, gonna miss that one.

For some reason, after being extremely down on the team for the past month i am a bit optimistic going into the playoffs. I am confident their defense will be stellar overall. As long as their offensive execution is provides even decent results they will have a chance to win each game. And at the end of the day it will all come down to rebounding, specifically defensive rebounding.

My prediction is, if the Sixers win the rebounding battle for the series, they will move past the first round. That is extremely unlikely however, which is why they will lose, despite giving the Bulls farm more trouble than what they Rose and co hoped for.

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mo speezy on Apr 27 at 11:46
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Will never understand being down on the team come playoff time. Everyone should be drinking the Kool Aid whether or not it tastes like shit.

I texted my dad "sixers in 7" and he laughed at me but whatever, screw him.

Heh. This cracked me up because I agree and I think there's a 75% chance this was actually written by Speights.

I never understood blind optimism and belief in the face of a multitude of facts - be it a sports team or a reason to start a useless war

The facts are the facts, if one ignores the facts, well that's how you get creationists

Well, it looks like Voose definitely isn't going to start. Come on, Doug. Start Lavoy.

I guess he goes 9 deep in his rotation w/ Battie being the panic button?

Brand
Lavoy
Iguodala
Meeks
Holiday
Turner
Thad
Lou
Hawes

Man, what I'd really like to see is Thad come in as the first big off the bench (for Lavoy), then Lavoy in for Brand, then Brand for Thad. Just rotate those three guys. I know we're going to see Hawes, though.

Start Hawes, let folks see him as a playoff starter (yeah, I know you don't want to hear about it, tough noogies ;) )

I don't think it makes a huge difference, as much as you don't 'fear' the bulls front court - they're better than the sixers (aren't the bulls the best offensive rebounding team?)

I absolutely fear the Bulls' front court. I think that's where the series is going to be lost. I just think the perimeter guys can somewhat mitigate their damage because the Bulls bigs don't really have the ability to score in the post, so they need to be set up. Not much the perimeter guys are going to be able to do about the rebounding, though.

Yeah, the bulls are the best offensive rebounding team (grabbing them at a 32.6% rate - that's kind of sick), while the sixers are one of 4 teams (really, only 4? to me this is the 'baseline' number should be) that grab 75% (or more) of the defensive rebounds available.

Frankly, I think it is going to come down to rebounding, and I don't think the sixers bigs can keep the bulls bigs off the boards (nor do I think the 'back 3' rebounding advantage the sixers probably have over most teams will help enough)

I don't have my spreadsheet on this computer, but I'm pretty sure the Sixers have done a really good job of keeping the Bulls off the o-boards in their games this season. I don't know how, which leads me to think it probably won't hold up. Hopefully it's not a theme in the series, though.

In two of the three games, yes they did a good job

Game 1 - 80% DFR
Game 2 - 78% DFR
Game 3 - 63.8% DFR

For the season, 73.4%, slightly below the sixers season average on the defensive glass, but obviously well below the bulls average on the offensive glass.

Anyone want to guess which player didn't play in the first 2 games, but played the third. Oh come on - you KNOW you want to guess

Hawes, Hawes, Hawes!!!

Doug is still set in his ways of over-using players when they're killing the team (probably because in game-time deicions he thinks Lou will start hitting his iso shots, Meeks will start hitting his threes, and Hawes will put a few rocks in his pillow-case), but lately he's done a better job of limiting the damage caused by Hawes.

Wait, is the compliment or anti-compliment?

Well this is a place with a lot of basketball fans, and some of you have kids so I received this email message from the camp i went to as a kid regarding something called the "Coaches Choice Basketball Camp"

It's a weekend thing in early june (kids can stay over night or just be day campers), and it features

Herb McGee
Fran Dunphy
Speedy Morris
Doug Overton

Plus other local college and high school players and coaches...

I have only a PDF for it or I'd provide a link - anyone interested - let me know

Sixers +9.5 in game 1.

Hmmn. I think I'd take the points. Think game one will be close.

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MikeW reply to Brian on Apr 27 at 14:04
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Guess you're not the only one - moved to 8.5 already. 9 at the highest.

I'm going out on a ledge here, but I think this series at least gets to six. I truly believe that. The Bulls didn't impress in the playoffs very much last year, and they play a style that I think the Sixers can hang with, at least for awhile.

Totally agree. Would feel even better if we had more of a homecourt advantage. It's been a long time since we've even won a game in the WFC

SMALL FORWARD: A pair of All-Stars match up here but Chicago's Luol Deng has a more well-rounded game than the Sixers' Andre Iguodala. Both are very good defenders but Deng is the smarter player with a mid-range jumper tailor-made for Rose's playmaking ability.

Iguodala remains Philadelphia's best all-around player, and is one of the best two or three perimeter defenders in the NBA. More than a few stars have had bad nights on "Iggy Island" but his offensive game and free throw shooting, never the strength of his game, have regressed mightily this season. That said, Iguodala can stuff the stat sheet like few others but Collins would like him to stop relying so much on the jumper and become more of a slasher who can get to the free throw line when things are bogging down.

EDGE: BULLS

It's always fun to pick on Iguodala's offense, but he was much more efficient than Deng this season.

And Deng hit his mid-range jumper at 35% this season (4.1 attempts/game).

The Sixers need to win this matchup, and they should.

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Tom Moore on Apr 27 at 17:17
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History doesn't favor Sixers.

They haven't won a best-of-seven series as lower seed since 1982 Eastern Conference finals over Celtics.

In 27 years since NBA started Nos. 1 vs. 8 first-round series (best-of-5 through 2002, best-of-9 last nine seasons), Eastern Conference top seed is 26-1. Only No. 8 to advance was 1999 Knicks over Heat, 3-2.

Good for Doug. Now if he'll just bury Hawes on the end of the bench...or even better, maybe Hawes' agent will give him a call and tell him what a fool he's made of himself over the past four years or so, and that'll motivate him to act like a man in this series.

i know hes hawes and isnt good but with him coming off the bench it should pull asik away from the rim

If he's hitting jumpers, it could.

This is pretty funny. link. Especially like when the kid asks for a Halladay jersey.

Brian no playoff podcast?

Had one planned for today, but it got cancelled.

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7863236/us-attorney-investigating-nba-players-union

So, it's not sixer related, or on the court, but the NBA Players union seems to be imploding on itself. I thought Hunter would get fired once the lockout thing was settled, but honestly now, Derek Fisher asks for an accounting, Hunter asks for him to get fired immediately and now the feds are involved.

Does it smell to anyone else like Billy Hunter might be facing some embezzeling charges any time soon?

Whatever happens, if this gets to be a major thing, this will reflect terribly on the image of the NBA players (rightly or wrongly)

I was kind of stunned when I read about how much money the union has paid to Hunter's relatives.

Well, before this thing was over, I made it clear I thought this was Hunters last hurrah, but I never thought he would go out like this. I figured they'd ease him out gently, if this pans out how I expect it too, they going to ease him out 'gently' - straight to prison

I wonder (purely speculative) if this kind of thing hastens fishers retirement towards working for the union in a more full time capacity. I found him much more impressive than Hunter and don't buy Hunter's attempt to smear him in the slightest

Does the president have to be an active player? Think the rumor was that Fisher might have a job in the league office waiting for him, or at least that was one of the smears floated out there, maybe.

I expect the president has to be an active player yes - but I was more saying that maybe Fisher retired and worked for the union full time in another capacity.

Not sure he's ready to retire

I like DRose UNDER 25.0 ppg for the series. Think he is too banged up to score that much consistently.

I can think of a certain #00 who would make a hilarious and awesome players' union president...

I'm not actively rooting for anything one way or another, but obviously a first-round upset would be a disastrous setback for the franchise. All of a sudden rebuilding would be off the table and we'd be stuck with the same fatally flawed core we've got for another season.

Yes, winning a round in the playoffs is obviously a disastrous occurrence. Thanks for chiming in with some much needed douchery.

Jrue trying to sell his own jersey at Modell's just might be the funniest thing any Sixer has done all season:

http://www.facebook.com/Sixers/posts/344031528983245


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