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If David could slay Goliath…

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 19, 2009

davidtestagolia1607Here is the second of Sixerdave’s contributions.,

It’s a breakdown of the series that is going to start tonight.

You gotta love the Bible reference and I think that Dave remembering David is not a coincidence. In the pic, an image of a winning David carrying Goliath’s head, courtesy of guido italian painter Caravaggio (“Sixers4guidos: where teaching italian culture happens”).

Enjoy the read:

SIXERS VS ORLANDO BREAKDOWN

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. (1 Samuel 17:48)

Dwight Howard is an animal, a beast, a giant. Howard is one of the most unstoppable forces in the NBA. Nearly 7 feet tall and 265 pounds, few teams can contend with the newest NBA “Superman”.

However, as David slayed Goliath, perhaps there is one more stone in the Sixers’ sling. Can Miller or Iguodala cast the stone? Can Dalembert and Ratliff slow the giant Howard? 

Breaking down the series by position.

POINT GUARD – Miller vs. Alston

Miller has looked slower toward the end of the season, but Alston has not played that well against Philly. Miller is one of the leaders of the Sixers, has never won a playoff series, and is playing for a contract.  He should shine against Alston. EDGE – Sixers

SHOOTING GUARD – Green vs. Pietrus

Green would be a nice player coming off the bench. But he’s one of the weakest starting guards in the league. Pietrus is tall, strong, can rebound and nail the three. EDGE – Magic

SMALL FORWARD – Iguodala vs. Turkoglu

Iguodala looks like he’s been pressing in games recently. After last year’s poor shooting performance against Detroit, Iguodala should be looking to have a breakout series. Turkoglu is a highly skilled small forward, but he’s lacking on defense and coming off an injury. EDGE – Sixers

POWER FORWARD – Young vs. Lewis

Young is an up and coming player and will probably be in the top 3 for most improved player. But Lewis is a smooth shooter and a proven player. EDGE – Magic

CENTER – Dalembert vs. Howard

Howard is one of the best players in the NBA. Dalembert is a decent shot blocker and adequate rebounder, but has shown that he can’t stop Howard. Ratliff has been a better defender against Howard and will probably get a lot of minutes because of effectiveness and foul trouble.  EDGE – Magic

BENCH – Sixers vs. Magic

While it would be nice to look at Lou Williams and Speights and think about their potential, they are still highly unproven and inconsistent on the big stage. The Magic are lacking on their bench as well. EDGE – EVEN

COACHING – Dileo vs. Van Gundy

Dileo has done a fine job, but Van Gundy is a veteran coach who has been there before. EDGE – Magic

INTANGIBLES 

The Sixers lost 6 of 7 entering the playoffs, and they don’t look like the same team that heated up in January. When the Magic run into trouble, they can always dump it down to their Superman, Dwight Howard. 

Can the Sixers slay the mighty giant? The way the Sixers cast stones from the perimeter, they won’t have enough

Magic 4, Sixers 2

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Ed Stefanski, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Playoffs 2009, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | 3 Comments »

Where are these young Sixers going?

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 19, 2009

82994455JG002_WIZARDS_SIXERSSixerdave is finally back to work.

I just received two articles by him, and here is the first one, a recap of the (regular) season just finished, with some thoughts about 2009/2010.

SIXERS END ROCKY SEASON AT .500

The Sixers have earned a first round playoff series with the Orlando Magic to end the season. 

It was a turbulent season that saw Maurice Cheeks get fired as head coach, Elton Brand struggle with injuries and young players step into different roles and positions. 

By beating an undermanned Cavaliers team, the Sixers moved to 41-41, a one game improvement over last season.

With Chicago losing to Toronto, the Sixers were able to leapfrog the Bulls into the 6th position in the Eastern Conference. 

With Garnett out, the Sixers may have benefitted from staying in the 7th position, however this week the Sixers couldn’t beat Boston with Garnett and Allen both out of the lineup.

Orlando also presents problems for Philadelphia. Dwight Howard is one of the best players in the league.  Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis will provide challenges for Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young.

Looking back at the 2008-2009 season, we immediately think of Brand’s injuries, Cheeks’ firing, and interim coach Tony Dileo. But the question is – what direction is this team going? 

Most of the core is young and growing. As difficult as it is to believe, Iguodala is just 25 years old.  Marreese Speights, Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, and Jason Smith are 23 or younger. 

But Brand will be coming off an injury yet again. What impact will Brand have? And can he gel with our younger players? Will he be an 18 and 10 guy, or a 14 and 8 guy? Will the Sixers consider his signing to be a failure and trade him at the deadline next season?

Team leader Andre Miller – in the pic – becomes a free agent this offseason. Do the Sixers resign him? He’s getting older and his lack of speed showed in his recent effort against Boston. Should the Sixers hand the keys to Lou Williams? Golden State, Sacramento, and Portland could be interested in Miller’s services and it is well known that Miller prefers the West Coast.

By keeping Miller on board, the Sixers could be challenging for the last few playoff spots in the East. But is he the guy to lead us to elite status in the East? At his age, it’s unlikely. Maybe the Sixers need to take a step back to take a step forward by going back into the draft and finding a star to lead them back to the top.

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Ed Stefanski, Elton Brand, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Maurice Cheeks, Playoffs 2009, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | 1 Comment »

Weighing Sixers’ playoffs “experience”

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 17, 2009

babyMaking this quick before leaving for the weekend (maybe I’ll be able to update the post later, with all the sums etc).

Ok, it’s a given that this is a pretty young team, with some veteran presence only in the back up department.

So I tried to check our players’ playoffs experience, making a small research through the years.

My source has mainly been Basketball reference and here is what I found.

In order:

SPEIGHTS, IVEY: 0 playoffs games played.

Barely a surprise: the first is a rookie, the second sucks (LOL) and has always played for bad teams (feel free to add the Sixers to this category).

YOUNG, WILLIAMS: 6 playoffs game played (2-4 record)

They were members of 2007/2008 Sixers, that were eliminated by Pistons, 2-4.

IGUODALA, DALEMBERT, GREEN: 11 playoffs games played (3-8 record).

They were members of two Sixers teams that made it to the postseason, in 2004/2005 with Jim O’Brien, and in 2007/2008 with Maurice Cheeks. Sixers lost to Pistons in both occasions, 1-4 in 2004 and 2-4 in 2008.

MILLER: 21 playoffs games played (5-16 record)

Here is the recap of his career in the postseason:

  • 2004 (Denver Nuggets), lost 1-4 in the first round to Minnesota
  • 2005 (Denver Nuggets), lost 1-4 in the first round to Spurs
  • 2006 (Denver Nuggets), lost 1-4 in the first round to the LA Clippers (LOL)
  • 2008 (Philadelphia Sixers), lost 2-4 in the first round to the Pistons

(uhm, I think I gave some strong arguments to his critics, LOL) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Donyell Marshall, Jim O'Brien, Larry Brown, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Playoffs 2008, Playoffs 2009, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | Leave a Comment »

Five things to expect from Sixers’ playoffs

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 17, 2009

82993737JG001_CELTICS_SIXERSFive is also the number of games that this series will consist of (4-1 Magic is my prediction, for what is worth…), but I would like to focus for a while on some aspects to take into consideration, other than the final score(s) I mean.

What I would like to see in the upcoming playoffs is:

1) A PACKED ARENA IN EVERY HOME GAME

Last year I was ashamed when we couldn’t sell out the Wachovia Center in neither game vs the Pistons, with the weirdest thing being that in Game 4 (with Sixers up 2-1) the crowd was SMALLER than in Game 3 !!!

I know we are the underdog, I know the end of the season has been extremely disappointing, I know that paying big $ to watch Willie Green & Royal Ivey is might seem stupid, but… YOU BETTER MOVE YOUR ASS AND GO SUPPORT THE TEAM !! 

I’d do that, if it wasn’t for that small problem of living in another continent… and be as loud as you can, our guys need a lift from the fans.

2) A TEAM PUTTING 110% EFFORT.

I am confident this won’t be a problem. As much as Sixers pissed us off many times this year, often losing to crappy teams, I admit there were very few occasions in which I thought they didn’t play hard, and until the end.

Sixers really have a good, “blue collar” attitude, with no selfishness, and this started in the years with Cheeks at the helm, so Mo takes great credit for that.

Seeing guys playing their butts off almost every night is a good thing for a fan. It makes him ALMOST forgive the players for their shortcomings.

3) IGUODALA BOUNCING BACK

From 2008 playoffs, I mean. When he finished the Pistons series with 13.2 PPG on 33% from the field, if you don’t remember

This is the time for Andre to prove he’s worth all those $. He had a good year overall, despite a poor start, now we expect him to take it to another level in the playoffs. Otherwise, it will be tough to take off the “choker” label, honestly. I am confident he will play well. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Donyell Marshall, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Playoffs 2009, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | Leave a Comment »

Sixers beat “Cavs”, find… Orlando !!!

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 16, 2009

82993730_DLK025_CAVS_V_76ERA pretty interesting end of the season and a late Easter surprise.

Sixers closed the year at 41-41 (.500) thanks to the final 110-111 OT W at Cleveland, against what I honestly can’t call an NBA team.

Same as last night’s Celtics (read the post below), say, minus Paul Pierce. Not sure what will happen when we’ll actually play a true team.

The funny thing, and the only one that counts, is that we will face ORLANDO and not Boston, because Bulls shockingly lost at home to the Raptors and fell to the 7th place.

The Cleveland game was enjoyable but not “real”, so I’ll keep the recap extremely short. 

Mike Brown evidently didn’t give a damn about tying Celtics’ 40-1 home record and (smartly, IMO) rested LeBron James, Mo Williams, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Joe Smith.

Not ony that: Ben Wallace was out due to an injury, while Delonte West and Anderson Varejao played only in the first half: the fact that Sixers managed to find a way to close it down twelve (49-37) should tell us a lot about our far-from-memorable performance…

The win was nothing to be proud for, exactly: it took Sixers an exhausting 53 minutes to beat basically a bunch of unknown but spirited scrubs, led by Szczerbiak (…). Wally is just as mobile as a coffin but had his second consecutive season high in the last two games played against the Sixers: another thing to be ashamed for. 

Boobie Gibson had a career high 28, including two long treys in the last minute of regulation, the second one to tie the game at 98 with 0.6 seconds left. Great shots indeed but… you know… how about putting a hand on his face, just to make an example? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Playoffs 2009, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | 1 Comment »

Ruins of Celtics enough for these Sixers

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 16, 2009

82993737JG012_CELTICS_SIXERSYeah, I know the recap comes late, but luckily I didn’t get fooled again, I didn’t stay up until 4 AM to watch this shit live, and it was a good choice: it’s better, or less painful, to watch these Sixers games replaying. 

It’s healthier, let’s put it like this. In this case, the time zone difference HELPS.

So Sixers lost 98-100 to what’s left of a great Celtics team, the third unit I guess. 

And Boston did its best to make us win the game, they tried even the impossible. But they swept us anyway, sixth straight loss, 40-41, .494.

Let’s recap how the Celtics (politely) tried to leave us the W, just for the record:

  • no Kevin Garnett 
  • no Ray Allen
  • no guido Brian Scalabrine (LOL)
  • got whistled for FIVE technical fouls (!!)
  • in a close game, shot a sixer-esque 53% from the line, missing NINE free throws
  • in game decided down the stretch scored a whopping ONE point in their last FOUR offensive possessions (!!!)

It wasn’t enough. No way, at least with these Sixers.

Uhm, wait, I could have added some more, actually.

How about playing Paul Pierce only 31 minutes? How about leaving him on the bench until 4.30 left in the fourth, after he had TORCHED us with 29 points, including 7/9 from downtown, through the first three? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | Leave a Comment »

Worst streak at the worst moment

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 13, 2009

83010104RT23_76ERS_RAPTORS(RETIRE MOSES MALONE’S #2 SIXERS JERSEY ! S4G PETITION – SIGN HERE)

The season high fifth straight loss, a 111-104 decision at Toronto, came in the worst moment for the Sixers (40-40, .500), now tied at the 6th spot with the surging Bulls.

Iguodala’s face is the picture of  Sixers’ feelings.

Chicago is 40-40 as well but coming off four consecutive wins and with a better schedule (@ Detroit, currently 8th at 39-41, and vs the same Raptors).

Almost Everything is going wrong in Sixerland as of late. The most worrying part, to me, is that it seems we can’t put together a total team effort.

Nearly any given night a couple of our key players look MIA, so that the good, even excellent performances of single guys are eventually wasted.

The game vs the (lousy) Raptors, that snapped a four game losing streak (…) was another good example of these struggles. 

We ended up with five players in double figure, which is apparently contradicting what I just wrote. Unfortunately what could be seen as  “balanced offense” is more a “lack of reliable options” in crunch time.

Raptors built a fourteen point lead at mid fourth quarter (102-88), Sixers fought back and cut it to four (104-100 with 2.50 to play) but Toronto (smartly and) repeatedly went to the line and secured the win by knocking down seven of eight free throws before the horn.

I think it wasn’t a coincidence that in the two most important possessions down the stretch, Sixers turned it over badly.

With the score at 104-100, Andre Miller had an unnecessary offensive foul on Calderon, while when we were trailing by five but with a chance to stay in the game (109-104, 40 seconds left), Iguodala forced a drive, Marion stole him the ball and was fouled.

It was Iguodala’s TENTH turnover of the game (!). He threw away the ball in many ways: a behind-the-back pass to…  the first row at the end of the first quarter was perhaps the worst (he immediately apologized, to be honest, realizing the mistake), but he had many bad ones.

Andre Miller grabbed an offensive rebound but missed the (uncontested) putback under the basket after two minutes. He basically never recovered, finishing with an awful 2/14. I think he took good shots, they simply weren’t falling. Layups, short jumpers, drives, even a three: no way.

As you might guess, with the two Andres having subpar performances, Sixers have troubles in facing any team. What made me nuts yesterday, is that the most damage was actually made by Patrick O’Bryant, Joey Graham, and Quincy Douby (!!), three stiffs that combined for 26 points on 11/15 off the bench.

Yes, Toronto went on that run in the fourth with Calderon, Bargnani AND Bosh on the bench !! CB4 checked back in with 7.36 to play, but Toronto was already up seven (93-86). Bosh did his part immediately, adding two nice field goals.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Croatians, Donyell Marshall, Guidos, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Moses Malone, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | Leave a Comment »

It’s raining threes. And losses.

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 11, 2009

(RETIRE MOSES MALONE’S #2 SIXERS JERSEY – S4G PETITION – SIGN HERE)

Ok, Sixers fans, this nasty dunk by Iguodala on LeBron James, to close the first half, is the best thing from last night’s game on Sixers’ side:

While getting swept 0-4 by the New Jersey Nets is simply unacceptable, being down 0-3 in the season series vs the Cavaliers seems fair. And everyone obviously smells another sweep completed in the last game of the season, Wednesday 15th at the Quicken Loans Arena, because Cleveland, guess that, is simply a better team.

Ok, actually my concept of “team” is slightly different. These Cavs are more a one-and-a-half man show, with the other guys on the roster knowing their (marginal) role and able to step up in different games. It works well, though. 

I don’t want to take anything from Cleveland, they have built smartly around LeBron James, I simply like(d) better other squads, that fit more with the word “team” (example: the 2004 Pistons). 

But anyway, Sixers lost their fourth straight (40-39, .506) and the final 92-102 score, in front of a sell out-but-pretty-silent crowd, explains well what happened at the Wachovia Center.

Sixers gave a decent effort, fought hard until the end, stayed close for 48 minutes, but came up short at the end, buried under an impressive three point barrage. Even Zydrunas Ilgauskas, in an off night, knocked down one, from the corner, to give Cleveland an eleven point lead (87-98) and definitely close the game.

While Cavs connected from downtown pretty much at will, finishing with a remarkable 12/23, the stone handed Sixers made their first three with 4.15 left in the game (courtesy of Green), and the second, absolutely useless, came in garbage time.

The total from behind the arc in the three games played between the two teams is Cleveland 23/59 (39%), Sixers 4/31 (12%)…. bball is quite simple !! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Donyell Marshall, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Moses Malone, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | Leave a Comment »

Sixers’ opponents are always greener

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 10, 2009

83009603SD003_PHILADELPHIA_Honestly I have no clue why Bobcats AND Bulls wore green uniforms (?) playing the Sixers.

They all looked awful in those unlikely jerseys, but for sure the move worked well in terms of final result for both teams.

No, I didn’t watch the 113-99 L at Chicago, because the game was blackouted here in Italy, but I don’t have many regrets this time. It was our third straight loss (40-38, .513) that came after another bad night.

I just finished watching highlights, reading many reports all around and analyzing the play-by-play page (those are usually the only things I can do when I am not able to catch the game). I noticed many familiar facts repeating themselves and some new things emerging.

Under “Your usual 2008/2009 Philadelphia 76ers” category we could file:

1) horrible free throw shooting. Bulls hit more freebies (19) than we did (16), but they shot EIGHT less from the line (!). Make it 100% vs 59%, if you prefer. Eleven misses from the stripe in a game lost by thirteen points.

And here is S4G “Iguodala update”: after last night’s 3/6 Andre “improved” to 7/17 in the last three games, 72% for the season. Hello? 

2) their PG killing us. This time it was Derrick Rose (in the pic), in the previous game it was Raymond Felton (…) setting a new career high with 32 points.

It’s a fact that Andre Miller and Lou Williams (+ Green, when he is put in  to guard PGs) struggle, to say the least, when facing quick players that like to drive (Paul, Parker, Deron Williams, Harris etc). We always have a hard time trying to limit these type of players.

Well, judging from last night’s figures, another game has passed and we still didn’t find a solution for this problem. Not even a small improvement, I mean.

3) our frontcourt outplayed. Noah, Tyus Thomas and Brad Miller combined for 47 points (on 15/25, 60%) and 17 rebounds, while Dalembert, Evans and Speights put together 24 points (on 8/18) and 14 boards. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Donyell Marshall, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | Leave a Comment »

Sixers blow another one in Charlotte

Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 9, 2009

83009655KS004_76E_BOBCTForget the ‘furious comeback’ (from -20 in the second to +4 in the fourth), forget the BS about the “pride”, the “reaction” etc etc, the game in Charlotte will go down as a 101-98 LOSS, while it should have been a WIN

And forget the 4th seed also, with a 40-37 (.519) record, that spot is definitely out of reach, we’d rather think aboout making it to the 5th, because Miami is there with a 1/2 game advantage, and our schedule looks extremely tough: three of the five games left on the road, and the two at home versus Boston and Cleveland, that both have important goals to reach.

And then again, when you get blown out by the Nets and you lose to the Bobcats immediately after, you can’t expect nothing good vs stronger opponents.

How about this: Sixers’ record against New Jersey and Charlotte is 1-7 (!!). So there you already have the answer to the question “Why didn’t we get home court advantage in the playoffs ?” that you’ll ask yourself at the end of the regular season. 

As you might guess, I am SLIGHTLY disapponted after losing for the third time this season to Larry Brown’s team. But after all, there is a reason why Sixers are floating around .500 all year: they could never find any consistency.

So there you have the exciting Ws at LA Lakers, vs Spurs (in a blow out), at Portland, the sweep against the Rockets (yes, we did that. And they had Yao and TMG in both games), and then the Calvin Booth-ugly losses at Minnesota, at Golden State, at O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A f’n C-I-T-Y (+ the 1-7 aforementioned record) that leave you speechless… That’s immaturity in the best case, mediocrity in a more realistic analysis.

After watching the Charlotte game, I remembered what George Karl said after we let another W slip away, in Denver: “The thought that comes to my mind is, bad teams lose games they’re supposed to win, and good teams win games they’re supposed to lose” . Remember that game?

I mean, how can you possibly allow Charlotte, the third worst offense in the NBA (less than 94 PPG) to score 63 points in the first half ??? On 57% shooting (22/38)? And 5/11 from behind the arc ??

Or allow Raymond Felton (good player, nothing more) to score 21 at the break, 32 at the end, setting a new career high ???

Yes, Lou Williams played very well again, the third quarter comeback was nice, we saw a possessed Willie Green almost singlehandedly carrying the offense (13 pts in the quarter on 4/5, including three treys), but we couldn’t finish the job. One more time. Another wasted effort. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Donyell Marshall, Larry Brown, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Moses Malone, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Serbians, Sixers, Sixers4guidos, Thaddeus Young, Theo Ratliff, Tony Di Leo, Willie Green | Leave a Comment »