Sixers Come up Short against Pacers

Even with Spencer Hawes back on the court, the Sixers were unable to produce a win. The Indiana Pacers interrupted the Sixers three game winning streak with a 111-94 loss on Wednesday, March 14th. In a rare occurrence this season, the 76ers defense failed and was a major contributor to the loss.

Shooting Percentage

Analysts would never expect a team that shot 52.6 percent from the floor to lose the game. Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday combined for 38 points with an 82 percent field goal percentage. This was the best the Turner and Jrue have performed this season. Furthermore, Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala contributed to the offense. With how well the Sixers shot, this alone should have won the game.

The Return of Spencer Hawes

Unfortunately Spencer Hawes needs to dust off his game. He struggled throughout the game scoring only six points in 19 minutes. Due to his injury, Hawes can only play a few minutes at a time on the court. This is an unfortunate reality that is going to take time to change. Meanwhile, backup centers like LaVoy Allen and Nikola Vucevic must pick up the slack.

Horrible Defense

The main reason the Sixers lost this game is because of the defense. Entering this game, the 76ers had the best scoring defense in the NBA. The Pacers posted 56.7 percent shooting from the field. Five players had 14 points alone with a 50 percent field goal percentage. Also, the Pacers scored at least 24 points per quarter which illustrates their consistency. Furthermore, no Sixer had more than five boards the entire game.

Sixers Destroy Warriors

On “Wilt Chamberlin Night” at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Sixers really took the Golden State Warriors to the house in a fitting 105-83 victory. Bouncing back from a four game losing streak, the Sixers showed their true grit. The Sixers approached the game with a consistent recipe: play robust defense and end the game during the third quarter. Regardless of who they are playing, Philadelphia suites up to win and this game was a must win for the team.

Sixers’ Leaders

Lou Williams was a major contributor in this game with 25 points off the bench. Thaddeus Young had a double-digit night with 16 points and Elton Brand supplied 14 points and grabbed 14 boards. The Sixers had six players reach double digits overall. The team is currently 22-15 and continues to be in first place in the Atlantic Division.

Warriors’ Leaders

David Lee was the game leader with 24 points and 15 boards. Monta Ellis added 20 points and Dorell Wright posted 10. The Warriors walked into this game with a 14-19 record, winning three of the last four.

Upcoming Matchups

The Sixers have continuously proven that can beat good teams due to their incredible defense. The team’s next challenge will not be against a bad team. The Chicago Bulls led by Derrick Rose will be in town. This may be a difficult win for Philadelphia despite crushing the Bulls during their last meeting. The Sixers should focus on making moves on the Pacers for the third seed in the playoffs.

 

NBA Trade Deadline Approaching

With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Philadelphia 76ers has reported that they will not be making any season-altering trades by the March 15th deadline. The logic behind this decision is to not rustle a roster of young players during a shortened season and make a move for the sake of making a move.

A Response from Sixers President Ron Thorn

President Ron Thorn has been in the business of professional basketball for 46 years and says he does not see making any trades as being beneficial at the moment. He is also looking at the fact that the young nucleus of the team should grow together and stay clear of game-changers like Dwight Howard. This move will build teamwork and camaraderie for many future seasons.

Current Contracts

Furthermore, for any trade negotiations to occur for significant players, Philadelphia would need players who have attractive contracts. Elton Brand will be owed $17 million in 2012 and over $18 million next year while Andre Iguodala is owed $28 million for the next two upcoming seasons.

President Thorn listening but not ready to Act

President Thorn appears to be committed to growing this team from the inside-out and is not ready to let a few losses convince him to make changes. Of course he plans to listen during the numerous heated discussions and phone calls prior to the deadline. However, he has clearly stated that a tempting phone call or discussion has not yet come down the pipeline. Sometimes landing a great player will spark the team, other times it can become a problem.

Sixers Fall to Mavs

In a Friday night matchup between the defending NBA champions, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Sixers fell short. With Philadelphia dominating most of the game, the Mavs flipped a switched and kicked it into gear on defense which proved to be the difference in the game. The Mavs rallied to beat the Sixers 82-75.

Dallas Mavericks

The win on Friday night was the Mavericks’ sixth consecutive victory and their 20th win of the season. The next stop for the Mavs is Madison Square Garden to take on Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks during their northeastern road tour.

Game Recap

Dirk Nowitzki started slow with only four points in the first half. However, he bounced back in the second with 24 points which closed the door on the game. With 6:36 in the second half, the Sixers were up by 15 points. Unfortunately the team only scored eight points during the entire third quarter due to the Mavs incredible defense. Dallas trailed by 14 at the half but went on a 19-2 run to take the lead at the beginning of the third quarter. 12 of those points came directly from Dirk Nowitzki.

With such an excellent defense, it is surprising that Philadelphia posted 52 points in the first half against the Mavericks. However, it is not surprising that their defense held the Sixers to a 21.4 percent field goal percentage and 24 points during the entire second half. The Mavs accomplished this feat without their three best guards. 

Sixers Pounce on Cavs

After dropping two straight, the Sixers bounced back with an incredible win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Led by Jrue Holliday who had 20 points, six Philadelphia players posted double digits in a 99-84 win over the Cavs on Saturday evening. The previous night, the Sixers lost a tough one to the Los Angeles Clippers in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

Cleveland’s Woes

Cleveland lost to Milwaukee in an overtime decision on Friday night so both teams entered the arena craving a win. Prior to Saturday’s game, the Cavs announced that center Anderson Varajao will be out as a result of a broken wrist sustained in Friday’s game. The team also announced they would play without point guard Kyrie Irving due to a concussion. For Cleveland, Antawn Jamison led the pack with 20 points followed by Ramon Sessions with 19 and eight assists. Cleveland has dropped 10 of their last 14 games and will be without two of their best players for several games.

Game Recap

After trailing by one late in the first quarter, Philadelphia scored 12 unanswered points to give them a considerable lead. Lou Williams scored nine of the Sixers 37 second-quarter points. Late in the second Philadelphia achieved its greatest lead of the game at 54-35.

Philadelphia’s Schedule

Although both squads were coming off difficult defeats, Philadelphia was in a much better position to regroup due to a lack of injuries. The Sixers have already played 18 home games, the highest in the league but will begin a stretch of seven on the road.

 

Sixers Cruise Past Hawks

Following a difficult loss to the Miami heat the Philadelphia 76ers bounced back with a win against the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night. Led by rookie starter Nikola Vucevic who posted 15 points, the Sixers won 98-87. Other contributors for the Sixers were Thaddeus Young with 14 points and Andre Iguodala with nine points, eight boards and 10 assists.

Game Recap

Philadelphia led by as much as 20 during the third quarter and held on to a double-figure lead until the 4th quarter. With 1:45 remaining in the game, Joe Johnson decreased Philadelphia’s lead to 94-85. However, Lou Williams of the Sixers, who put up 14 points, hit back-to-back baskets which put the Hawks out of reach.

Philadelphia controlled the second quarter, leading by as much as 16 points at the half and increasing that lead to 20 in the third. In the Sixers way was Ivan Johnson who had his first double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Johnson posted six points and eight rebounds in the first 9 minutes of the game.

Contributions

The Sixers managed to win this game without the contributions of forward Elton Brand who missed the game due to a sprained thumb. Brand caught his thumb in a jersey during Friday’s loss to the Heat. However, the opportunity knocked for rookie Lavoy Allen who made his first career start and posted four points. Philadelphia also saw the return of center Spencer Hawes who had 14 points. Hawes has been out for the past 10 games with an Achilles’ strain.

Sixers Coast past Bobcats

With the continued success of the Philadelphia 76ers, head coach Doug Collins has been looking for ways to rest his players. On Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats he was given that opportunity.

Rested Players

Midway through the first quarter, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young were given the chance to rest. Collins replaced these starters with Andres Nocioni, Craig Brackins and Lavoy Allen.

Game Recap

The Sixers (13-6) beat the Bobcats (3-17) 89-72 at the Wells Fargo Center. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Sixers led by 26. Williams was the leading scorer for the Sixers with 17 points. Although he spent the majority of the fourth quarter on the bench, Jrue Holiday added 15 points, five boards and four steals. Additionally, Jodie Meeks contributed 14 points and Thaddeus Young added 10. On the other side of the court, Kemba Walker was the leading scorer for the Bobcats with 14 points.

Ball Movement

Coach Collins had been voicing his concerns regarding inadequate ball movement in the past two losses. That same ball movement helped the Sixers win nine of 10 games. However, this was not an issue in Friday’s game.

The Bobcats

Charlotte has recently been playing poorly, winning only two games in the month of January. If they had not beaten the Golden State Warriors on January 14th, the team would have faced the Sixers with a 13-game losing streak. To make matters worse, the team is plagued by injuries. The Bobcats do not currently have their second-leading scorer D.J. Augustin who averages 13.6 points per game. 

Reasons for a Successful 76ers Year

In 2011, the Philadelphia 76ers was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round to the Miami Heat. Forgetting last year, the team has come out of the tunnel, ready to play in 2012. The team is currently playing excellent basketball and there are many reasons the Sixers should be successful this season.

The Defense

The first reason for a successful year is the considerable improvement of the Sixers defense. In their last game of the 2010-2011 season, the team was 12 in opponents’ points per game (PPG). However, this year they are ranked second in the same category. One major contributor of this is Andre Iguodala who is one of the best defensive players in the league.

Atlantic Division

The second reason is that Atlantic Division is the worst in the league. The Sixers are currently the only team in the division over .500 at 11 wins and 4 losses. Therefore, the 76ers have the opportunity to be Atlantic Division champions for the first time since the 2000-2001 season.

Spencer Hawes

The third reason is the resigning of Spencer Hawes. Although most fans would not have missed Hawes if the team did not resign him, he appears to be one of the most improved players in the NBA. He has significantly improved his shot-blocking, rebounding and field goal percentage since last year and continues to be an outstanding passer.

Doug Collins

Finally, Doug Collins took over as head coach last season and molded them into a playoff team. Collins is arguably one of the best coaches in the NBA because his players trust in him and his system. As a former 76er, Collins knows the difficulties playing in a city like Philadelphia.

Sixers Roll past the Wizards

Sixers: In a Friday the Thirteenth matchup at the Wells Fargo Center between the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers, the Sixers controlled almost the entire game. There were seven Sixers players that hit double digits with Jodie Meeks leading the team with a career-high tying 26 points. Lou Williams scored 19 pints followed by Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand with 13 apiece.

Meeks hit an incredible 10 of 11 shots from the field and 6 for 7 behind the arch. Also, Spencer Hawes knocked down 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, had three assists, one steal and one blocked shot. This was an incredible performance by the center who is gradually improving with each game. Overall, the Sixers shot a blazing 55.3 percent.

Wizards: On the other side of the ball, Rashard Lewis led Washington with 16 points while Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin both added 12 points. Nick Young added to his perfect free throw percentage (30-for-30) with a single free throw. This is definitely a statistic worth following.

Game Recap

The turning point in the game was the third quarter. At halftime the Sixers led 54-40 and quickly added to their lead by posting an additional 25 points on the board at only six-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter which boosted the score to 71-46. By the end of the third quarter it was a blowout with a score of 92-58. The Sixers continued with this momentum, not even giving the Wizards a chance to get back into the game.

Pre-Holiday Gift for the 76ers

Game Recap

Led by Jrue Holiday with an excellent 24 points, the Philadelphia 76ers triumphed over the Washington Wizards on December 20th to take home a 101-94 early holiday present. Holiday racked up 15 points in the final 5:35 of the fourth quarter to push Philadelphia past Washington to a victory.

JaVale McGee led the Wizards with 20 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter. John Wall, also of the Wizards, scored a respectable 17 points.

Going into halftime, Philadelphia’s Nikola Vucevic hit a 3 point shot at the buzzer resulting in a score of 52-47 in favor of Washington. Prior to this, the Wizards had a 10-point advantage behind Wall’s 13 points.

With only 2:45 left in regulation, the Wizards took an 88-87 lead on two free throws by McGee. Holiday then hit two consecutive 3-pointers and Nikola Vucevic squeaked a hook shot past the defenders to edge the Sixers past the Wizards at 95-88 with 1:09 left in the game. The fourth quarter was by far the most exciting point in the game with nine lead changes.

Upcoming Schedule

The Sixers continue to practice up until the Christmas holiday in preparation of their first of five straight road games to open the 2011-12 regular season. The Sixers will face the Portland Trailblazers on December 26th for the first real test of their preparation. Following Portland, the Sixers will face Phoenix, Utah, Golden State and New Orleans with the home-opener against Detroit on Friday, January 6th, 2012.