Apr 23, 2013, 10:07 AM EDT
Over the rest of the playoffs, while 16 teams compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy–none of which are the Philadelphia 76ers–I’ll be taking some time to focus on the long off-season that the Sixers have ahead of themselves, and the many burning questions that face them as they attempt to recover from the most disastrous season of the post-Iverson era. I’ll be addressing the ten biggest of those questions, counting down from ten to one, with the most-biggest hopefully coming around the time that it’s actually time for the wheeling and dealing to begin.
Apr 19, 2013, 10:15 PM EDT
They called the game after six-and-a-half innings this time, as the rains descended upon CBP, but really, we only needed to play one tonight. The Phils scored five in the first tonight–the first time in a week, as Sarge and Wheels repeatedly reminded the folks at home, that they had crossed the plate even once before the fifth inning–and that was more than enough for Roy Halladay, looking far more like his old, medically certified self tonight, who cruised for seven frames against the Cardinals as the Phils ended up winning 7-2.
Apr 17, 2013, 6:08 PM EDT
Well, this is it, guys. The Pacers, who the Sixers visit on the road tonight in Indiana, will be going on to the post-season, while the Sixers themselves will not. It’s been a lousy, joyless season with just a few bright spots and a whole lot of questions for the future, and one that has been inching me towards death for at least a month now. I’ll have a whole lot more to say later, but I have nothing to say about this team at the moment except that I’m glad Jrue and Thad are for-real good, I’m glad that Doug Collins isn’t coming back as head coach next year, and I’m glad that tonight is the last time I will have to watch the Philadelphia 76ers play basketball this year.
Apr 16, 2013, 11:57 AM EDT
Guest post by Matthew Hammond
Doug Collins’ looming departure is yet another bad look for the Sixers.
But it could make way for the PR spin this team desperately needs.
Apr 12, 2013, 6:51 PM EDT
I remember a couple weeks there where I wondered if the Sixers actually may have lucked out getting Evan Turner instead of John Wall in the 2010 draft. (OK I didn’t really wonder that, but I definitely wondered if it wasn’t impossible that I might one day wonder that.) Wall regressed some as a scorer from his first year to his second when many expected he would take a leap forward, and his Wizards team never really improved either. When Wall sat out injured at the beginning of the year while Evan was having the best month of his career, it was like “Hm, maybe this wasn’t such a bad coinflip after all.”
Apr 10, 2013, 5:48 PM EDT
It may feel like the Sixers have played the Hawks 27 times in the last month, but actually it’s only been 23 times. Meeting #24 will come tonight, as the Sixers host the Traveling Highlight Factory tonight in their fifth-to-last game of the season.
Apr 8, 2013, 9:26 AM EDT
During his infamous press conference meltdown after the home loss to the Magic in late February, Doug Collins offered a fairly simple explanation for downturn the Sixers had taken in the ’12-’13 season. “We made a huge deal and we have nobody playing a part of that deal,” claimed Collins. “How many teams can give up Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic and have nothing in return playing? That’s tough to overcome. That’s just the facts. I’m not looking for any outs. That’s a fact.”
Apr 4, 2013, 10:44 AM EDT
You could be mad at me for promising in my pre-game column that you could flip from tonight’s potentially very depressing Phillies game (and it was) to a Sixers game that would be no worse than slightly depressing, since the Ballers did end up losing 88-83 to the NBA’s worst team in a basketball game after which everyone involved will spend days, possibly weeks huddled in the corner of the shower crying out of irreparable trauma. But I’d argue that tonight’s game was far more funny than depressing. I mean, really, when Jrue Holiday has a night where he goes 2-24 from the field, it has to get funny at some point, right?
Apr 3, 2013, 6:21 PM EDT
No, there’s not much of a case to be made for watching the Sixers play the Bobcats tonight (again, this time at Charlotte). Everything about this game is decently meaningless—both teams are lottery-bound, and more or less locked in to their particular lottery slot—unless Charlotte really, really cares about securing that Worst Overall Record status for the second straight year, which I sorta doubt. But it could be a decent emergency valve if most Philly sports fans’ Plan A—watching Roy Halladay make his first start of the season against the Atlanta Braves, a game with at least a 25% chance of total disaster—ends up going not quite as hoped. The Sixers will only be slightly depressing at this point, I promise.
Apr 1, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT
On March 3rd of this year, exactly four weeks ago to the day, Spencer Hawes had the worst game of his career, and arguably one of the worst games ever posted by a starting center in the National Basketball Association, at home against the Golden State Warriors. In about 20 minutes of game action, he scored 0 points on stunning 0-9 shooting, with four rebounds and two dimes, but also three turnovers and three personal fouls. (Amazingly, the Sixers still won the game somehow.) It was an absolutely embarrassing performance in an already disappointing season that made you wonder if Doug Collins was going to gently, tenderly asphyxiate him as he slept on the team plane that night, putting him out of both of their misery.
Since that game, Spencer Hawes has basically been Marc Gasol.
Mar 29, 2013, 6:24 PM EDT
For a team boasting a rotation that includes two, maybe three players who’d be getting minutes on an actually good team, the Cleveland Cavaliers have done pretty well for themselves lately. Sure, they’ve only won two of their last eight games, but those two wins were against respectable opponents in Utah and Washington, and their losses against the Heat, Spurs and Celtics came in games that weren’t decided until the final minutes—the final seconds, in Boston’s case. They’ve done what all young, rebuilding teams—especially those whose best players have been stricken with injury—should do: They’ve played hard, they’ve maximized their potential, and they’ve lost a whole lot of basketball games, currently boasting the league’s fourth-worst record, in line for a top five draft pick come June.
Mar 27, 2013, 5:39 PM EDT
Isn’t it terrible that the Sixers are still ostensibly the ninth-best team in the East, just one team away from a playoff position? Of course, the Milwaukee Bucks are still seven-and-a-half games in front of us in that eighth position, and they have the tiebreaker with us so it’s really eight-and-a-half, thus making tonight’s game something of a moot point, though maybe not quite for the Bucks, since after a five-game Celtics losing streak, they could actually stand a chance at moving up to the #7 seed and avoiding the unbeatable Heat in the first round. So there will be playoff implications of some sort when the Bucks visit the Wells Fargo Center tonight, just not for the Liberty Ballers.
Mar 25, 2013, 11:54 AM EDT
The reasons for the Sixers’ surprisingly improved proved play of late—four wins in their last seven games, including victories over the playoff-bound Nets and Pacers and extremely close losses to the NBA-hottest Heat and Nuggets—are many. The team’s frontcourt has been playing dramatically better: Spencer Hawes has averaged a 16/10 on 56% shooting over the stretch, and Thaddeus Young, finally healthy again after missing a couple weeks with a hamstring strain, has matched with a 17/7 on 55% shooting. Dorell Wright has also rediscovered his Golden State shooting stroke, averaging 12 a game and shooting 19 of 38 from deep, and with the exception of a dismal two-point performance in Los Angeles, Jrue Holiday has been Jrue Holiday, averaging about 17 points and nine assists, shooting 48% from deep and even keeping his turnover average to under three a game.
Mar 25, 2013, 12:11 AM EDT
Well, so much for that whole tanking thing. It appears the Sixers will, for better or worse, be trying to actually win the remaining 13 games on their schedule, and while that’s arguably detrimental to the team’s long-term prospects—though with a draft this uncertain, who knows how beneficial a higher draft slot will even be—it at least makes for some surprisingly watchable games, such as tonight’s 117-103 beatdown of the Kings in Sacramento, by some distance the team’s greatest offensive outing of the season.
Mar 24, 2013, 5:25 PM EDT
For better or worse, professional basketball still exists for the city of Philadelphia for another three weeks or so. The Sixers aren’t really chasing a playoff spot or a lottery slot, so there’s not a ton left to root for, but it’ll at least be fun to watch Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young (and Evan Turner one in every four games or so) continue to grow together as a foundation for the team’s future, and interesting from a cosmic perspective to see if Spencer Hawes, Dorell Wright and Damien Wilkins can continue their unexpected streak of playing like highly competent NBA rotation players. And, of course, seeing how the Sixers can follow up their legendary choke job in Denver a couple nights ago will be pretty fun too.
Mar 20, 2013, 5:10 PM EDT
That was a fun four games at the Wells Fargo Center. Surprisingly, I’m not even being all that sarcastic when I say that—that was actually four well-played games of basketball, albeit ones that arguably place us further away from our primary goal for the rest of the season (tanking for Victor Oladipo or Alex Len or whoever) than when we started. Still plenty of time to lose basketball games left, however, as the Sixers are fairly likely to demonstrate to us tonight as they face the Clippers in a late start in Los Angeles.
Mar 19, 2013, 10:18 AM EDT
It’s official—this season is last season in reverse. Instead of starting out weirdly red hot and gradually cooling off over the course of their season until they hit super rock bottom, they’re gonna start from super-rock-bottom this time and get weirdly red hot at year’s end. Going in this direction is certainly more perplexing than the way things went down last season, and possibly even more frustrating, but it’s arguably much less cruel, since at least it’s too far late in the year for this team for trick us into thinking they can win a division or challenge the Heat or something.
Mar 17, 2013, 12:06 PM EDT
Nate Thurmond. Alvin Robertson. Hakeem Olajuwon. David Robinson. We almost nearly had to add a fifth name to that list last night, as Spencer Hawes came just two assists and three blocks short of registering a quadruple-double last night at the Wells Fargo Center, ending with what must be the best stat line of his career—18 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, seven blocks, and zero game-blowing layup misses, in a game that the Sixers won—won, as in the opposite of lost—against the Indiana Pacers. The blocks and rebounds were both career highs for Spence, and the assists was one shy—which all in all is a pretty remarkable night to have in your 403rd career NBA game.
Mar 16, 2013, 2:47 PM EDT
Who’s the best team in the East that isn’t the Miami Heat? It doesn’t really matter, since the Heat are so laughably superior to every other team in the conference right now, but one of the teams with a case would be the Indiana Pacers, who overcame a slow start to the season (and an injury to their nominal best player, Danny Granger) to climb to a 40-25 record, second-best not in the West (though they’d only be #6 over there, and not even all that close to #5). Still, like many teams not based out of South Florida, the Pacers have struggled a bit as of late, dropping one at home last night to the Lakers (playing without Kobe Bryant) and getting blown out by those damn Heat a couple games earlier.
Mar 13, 2013, 10:07 PM EDT
In a way, this was sort of a best of both worlds situation for the Sixers. Sure, it would have been fun to snap the Heat’s near-historic win streak, get the team their first win against Miami since they were starting Sherman Douglas and Rony Seikaly, and cause LeBron’s hairline to recede back a little further. Instead, they gave their fans one of the most entertaining games of the season (and easily the play of the year at the WFC), showed why the Sixers do still have some potential for the future remaining, all without further disrupting the master plan of Tankapalooza ’13. Everyone’s a winner, really.
Mar 13, 2013, 5:44 PM EDT
You know what was fun? The Sixers’ first 52 games of the year. Well, not really, at all but at least there was one very unfun thing we didn’t have to do over that timespan—play the Miami Heat. Of course, playing the Heat zero times in the first 52 games of the season means you…
Mar 11, 2013, 9:56 PM EDT
If it seems like I only write Sixers recaps after they win these days…it’s because I only write Sixers recaps after they win these days. There’s no point in recapping Sixers losses anymore because they’re not really news, they’re just the regular course of action—even losing to the Magic at this point can hardly be…
Mar 11, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT
It’s more a credit to how bad they’ve been on the road than anything, but despite now being 16 games under .500 for the season with last night’s embarrassing-for-most-teams loss to the Magic, the Sixers actually have a winning record at the Wellls Fargo Center. Yup, your Liberty Ballers are 17-16 on their home floor,…
Mar 10, 2013, 5:07 PM EDT
As of a couple weeks ago, the Sixers have pretty well committed themselves to tanking this season—whether they actually meant to do so or not—going 1-11 in their last 12 games. When you look at that stat and consider that the team wasn’t all that good to begin with, you’d think they’d be well on…
Mar 8, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT
1. The Sixers convince the Heat that they traded for Spencer Hawes at the deadline and just forgot about it (but were super-excited about their acquisition when it happened), then attack him on the interior all night. 2. The Sixers adopt a “Hack-a-Bosh” strategy halfway through the second quarter, confusing the Heat’s big man into…
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