|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.|
|Either cooler heads have prevailed or maybe the difference between the sixth and seventh seed really doesn't matter all that much. Whatever the ultimate reason, Andre Iguodala will sit out tonight's game vs. the Magic to rest his ailing knee. My take: Get him as much rest as possible, so long as he isn't rusty for game one of the playoffs.|
|On this glorious Monday morning, let's take a close look at the playoff race, see if we can call a winner, and lay out all the scenarios for first-round matchups. The Sixers only have two games left, the first of which features Dwight Howard and the Magic in Philly later tonight.|
|Throughout the week, basketball writers from the major sites have a number of chats and run rumor columns. Every once in a while, they actually talk about the Sixers. In this column, GoSixers has aggregated the relevant stuff from the chats. You'll see stuff in here that will make you scratch your head, but keep in mind, these guys are experts.|
|There was absolutely nothing pretty about this game. The Sixers played a depleted, bad team, they let them hang around. They almost let them come back and win it. Almost is the key, though. They came out on top. When you look back at the team's overall record, this one counts just as much as the win in Chicago. It's only when you grade a game on the hope it gives you that this one will be found wanting.|
|Without Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon available, the Raptors strike me as a dangerous team. The absolute last thing the Sixers can afford is to drop their fourth game in a row, this time to a very bad team, on their home floor. They need to turn it around tonight.|
Latest comment: from BrianWow, the Sixers are -11 in this game. That's a sketchy bet considering their last three games....
|We've all heard Doug Collins talk about how he doesn't want his team to lose two in a row on their home court. Elton Brand has talked about it. Andre Iguodala has talked about it. Doug even talked about it yesterday. I always thought that was a great way to look at things, but I didn't realize how serious he was. Take a look at the schedule, the last time this team lost two games in a row on their home floor was November 17th.|
Latest comment: from BrianMy guess is that the the fact that Thorn drafted him isn't something that's working in his favor....
|I realize there have plenty of theoretically huge games for different emotional reasons, but tonight's matchup with the Knicks was really the biggest game this team has played all year. Seeding was on the line, finishing higher than a division rival, pride after the last two losses. Doug Collins should've had no problem getting his team up for this one. Well, they came out flat and disinterested and about 10 minutes of effort just isn't enough in this league.|
Latest comment: from Ricky - Sixers4guidosAll good points. And it's true Iguodala took "Game 1" vs these guys so the balance at the end of the day is not negative ...
|The Sixers have done two things extremely well under Doug Collins this season: (1) Protected their home floor. They're 25-12 at the WFC with four games to go. (2) Bounced back from bad losses, even on the second night of back-to-backs. See the Chicago game last Monday, see the Boston game after the Chicago loss. See the win at the Clippers after the Utah loss. Those two patterns need to hold tonight against the Knicks.|