|Taking game one in Miami would've been unbelievable. Ideal, even. It didn't happen, but perhaps something more important did. No one knew if the Sixers who went on that tremendous run could suddenly reappear for the playoffs. Well, they did, in a big way.|
|If you asked the Sixers ownership if this was the plan when they hired Doug Collins last June, they'd say absolutely. The truth is, this was the hope. After sinking into the abyss under Eddie Jordan, no one knew for sure what was left on this roster. They made a trade for salary cap purposes which tied Collins hands, but somehow, here we are. A few hours away from a trip to the playoffs against everyone's preseason favorite to win the championship, the Miami Heat. So what now?|
|The playoffs, much more than the regular season, are about matchups, adjustments and strategy. Seven game series take on the form of a chess match played between the coaches. The series is usually decided by the talent on the floor, undoubtedly, but coaching can swing a game or two in either direction. Doug Collins is the ace up the Sixers sleeve.|
|There is one notable positive about playing the Heat in the first round: They're one of the few teams not headed for the lottery with possibly less talent at the center position than the Sixers. The odds of Spencer Hawes having a decent game are probably higher than Dampier, Joel Anthony and Zydrunas Ilgauskus catching lightning in a bottle, not that they're all that high for Hawes.|
Latest comment: from das411...but what if Spencer actually starts knocking down a three pointer or two?...
|Elton Brand vs. Chris Bosh may just be the defining matchup of this series. It could easily swing either way, unfortunately for the Sixers, they can't settle for a wash at PF, they need a big. Luckily for the Sixers, Brand has big time help coming from the bench at PF.|
Latest comment: from RichNah, not that far back. This game for one was on ABC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbftEdSpsnE...
|It's kind of tough when you go to breakdown the matchups and you realize your best player is pretty much going to be functioning in a damage control capacity in a playoff series, but that's where we stand at small forward. Oh, and he's also going to be taking on the toughest cover in the league with a bum wheel. Andre Iguodala vs. LeBron James, how will it play out?|
Latest comment: from Joe Hubert you mean like the 2001 Finals where 3 fouls were called on the 76ers in the first 30 seconds of the game?...
|Let's take a break from the positional breakdowns for a couple of hours and take a look back at a key facet of the Sixers regular season, clutch performance. Throughout the year, Statman has been tracking how the Sixers perform at the end of close games, it's time to take a look at the numbers and see if we can't figure out what the Sixers should do if they're lucky enough to get into a couple of games that go down to the wire against Miami.|
|Our first preview post focused on the importance of exploiting a mismatch at the PG position. Now we're going to have to take a look at mitigating damage from a colossal mismatch at shooting guard. Jodie Meeks vs. Dwyane Wade.|
Latest comment: from mymanjruebut i like your name even better. the sherrif!i think rodney buford led the league in ozs of weed per season...
|David vs. Goliath. I'm sure that's the last time you'll hear that phrase in relation to this series. This post will kick off our preview series. We'll go position-by-position, then talk about the head coach before my prediction lands some time on Saturday morning in advance of game one. Keep reading for the PG battle.|
|There's absolutely no reason to be up in arms about tonight's loss the Detroit Pistons. The game was meaningless, and Doug Collins pretty much treated as such. There was very little to be gained from this game heading in, and he probably came out with more than he thought he'd get.|
|82 of 82. The Sixers will put a bow on the regular season tonight against the Detroit Pistons. Will they use this last game as a tune up for their first round playoff series with the Miami Heat? Will they play their regulars knowing they'll have at least two off days before that series begins? Will they actually show some appreciation for the fans on fan appreciation night by defending their home court one last time? Your guess is as good as mine.|
|As the Sixers limp toward the end of the regular season, there has been quite a bit of discussion as to whether their play of late is more reflective of their true identity (slightly below-average team) than their great 20-9 stretch from January to early March. However you want to answer that question (and I believe most of us have pre-conceived biases in answering it), there is one factor that must be considered: Andre Iguodala's play has dropped off lately. Truth in advertising: I am in the camp that believes Iguodala is the Sixers' best player and that their fortunes depend on his playing and playing well. But do the numbers support this?|
|It's all semantics at this point anyway. The Sixers continued their string of poor play tonight against the Magic, only this time they added lazy on top of poor. This was, without a doubt, the worst effort I've ever seen on the defensive glass. Miami won, Boston lost so we're now locked into a 2-7 battle against the Miami Heat.|