Archive for the ‘Sixers’ category

A.I. versus A.I. tonight in Detroit

December 5, 2008

 

Andre Iguodala and the Sixers head to Motown tonight for a meeting with Allen Iverson and the Pistons (still sounds strange) at 8 tonight.

 

The Sixers will be without Elton Brand, out for Friday’s game with a strained right hamstring. Brand is day-to-day.

 

It’ll be interesting to see how the Sixers play without Brand.

 

According to the Yahoo! preview, Iverson has averaged 33.3 points and 8.3 assists in three career games against the Sixers. Yikes.

 

Here’s the rest of the weekend schedule:

 

Friday

NBA

Sixers at Detroit, 8

College hoops

Navy at Penn, 7

 

Saturday

NHL

Flyers at Carolina, 7

NBA

New Jersey at Sixers, 7:30

College hoops

George Mason at Drexel, 4:30

La Salle at Hartford, 4

Creighton at Saint Joseph’s, 7

Temple at Penn State, 6

 

Sunday

Eagles at Giants, 1

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I was dead wrong about Kobe

December 4, 2008

There are certain things you say in life that turn out to be dead wrong. It happens and there’s nothing you can do but admit you were wrong.

 

I was wrong about Kobe Bryant. Dead wrong. Thought he was overrated coming out of high school. Thought Tim Thomas was just as good.

 

I remember like it was yesterday having the debate during my college days at St. Joe’s. (Also remember playing intramural volleyball in the green gym in the Fieldhouse while Kobe was shooting by himself on the adjacent court.)

 

Anyway, watching him light up the Sixers for 32 points Wednesday night in the Lakers’ 114-102 win was proof again that there’s not a better player in basketball – maybe ever. Put Kobe in the argument with Jordan, Wilt, Russell and whoever else. This time I won’t argue against Kobe.

 

I mean, Kobe seems to be able to do whatever he wants. Bob Salmi said it perfectly on the broadcast that Kobe gets whatever shot he wants and gets to the line whenever he wants.

 

He had one highlight after another Wednesday night, but his play down the stretch was breathtaking – his drives that made it 105-97 and 110-97, respectively, and his step-back 20-footer that made it 112-100.

 

Wow!

 

As for the game, I can’t come down too hard on the Sixers. They were overmatched, simple as that. It wasn’t just Kobe, either. Philly had no answer for Pau Gasol (22 points, 13 boards) and Jersey native Andrew Bynum (18 points) inside.

 

The Lakers are the best team in the league. No one ever thought the Sixers would win the NBA title this year, just compete for the East crown.

 

Andre Miller (26 points, 8 boards, 5 assists) and Andre Iguodala (19 points) played OK, while Elton Brand (3 points, 1-7 FG in 25 minutes) didn’t show up. Marreese Speights (5 minutes, 0 points, 0 boards), after a nice game Tuesday in Chicago, also was a big disappointment. Brand apparently injured his hamstring, so I’m willing to give him a bit of a pass.

 

After the first quarter, though, you never got the sense the Sixers really had a chance. Not with Bynum and Gasol inside, and especially not with Kobe doing his thing.

 

So, again, sorry Kobe. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

 

 

Temple tumbles: Didn’t see or hear any of the game, but Temple was pounded at home by Miami of Ohio. The Redhawks have played some solid competition tough in the early going, but there’s no way the Owls should lose by 16 at home to a MAC team.

 

On a side note, tried to get some pregame information on owlsports.com and the Web site was down Wednesday afternoon. Bummer.

 

 

Danny’s downer: Danny Briere can’t stay in the Flyers’ lineup this season, as the Flyer reportedly will miss another month after getting hurt Tuesday. Maybe this time he should wait until he’s healed before returning to the lineup.

 

 

Avery’s comments: By now you all have heard Sean Avery’s “sloppy second” comments. Didn’t put two and two together until tonight that his ex, Elisha Cuthbert, is Kim Bauer. Used to love 24, but the writers made a HUGE mistake when they wrote Kim off the show. (BTW, I stopped watching 24 when Jack Bauer’s ability to stay alive became more and more ridiculous.).

 

 

Pearl of wisdom? Caught some of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe’s interview with Jody Mac on 950-ESPN Wednesday morning. Enjoyed a lot of Monroe’s recounting of the glory days of Philly hoops. However, it’s a major pet peeve of mine when someone goes on the radio and starts right out promoting a product. I understand there’s an agreement between the station and the guest, but let’s start with the sports and then do the promoting. Not vice versa.

 

(update 9:30 a.m. Thursday)

Blogger’s paradise? Don’t expect the Inky’s Frank Fitzpatrick to start blogging anytime soon…

From today’s Morning Bytes column….

“If you want to know why most blogs remain the journalistic equivalent of cotton candy – insubstantial fluff – all you had to do was read a recent entry from allphiladelphiasports.com.

 

Thursday sked

NHL

Devils at Flyers, 7

Houston Baptist at Villanova, 7:30

 

phillysportsbeat@gmail.com

 

In it, the clever blogger posits a scenario that includes both Kevin Kolb as the starting quarterback and the Eagles as contenders.

Those two events will converge when I win the Masters.”

Philly Sports Beat talks, Mo Cheeks listens

December 3, 2008

 

 

After imploring Mo Cheeks to make some major changes after Sunday’s loss, the coach did just that Tuesday and the Sixers responded with an impressive 103-95 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls.

 

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak. More than that, it gives the Sixers – and their fans – hope that maybe something can come of this season.

 

Cheeks made a major shift in the lineup, essentially benching Sam Dalembert (11 minutes Tuesday) to go with a small lineup (one of three suggestions I made Monday) that looked like this:

 

Andre Miller/Lou Williams, Willie Green, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Elton Brand/Marresse Speights.

 

The small lineup worked wonders, as the Sixers played unlike they had all year.

 

Iguodala, moved to the three spot, played like a free man, scoring a season-high 25 points to go with 9 boards. Miller played aggressively on offense and netted 28 points, including 7 straight big ones in OT. Speights was solid in 26 minutes, with 11 points and 8 caroms and Brand was his usual double-double self with 22 points and 14 boards.

 

It’s just one game, but it’s one game that may just turn the season around.

 

More on the Sixers:

(Update 8 a.m. Wednesday)

 

 

Recliner GM wasn’t too impressed with Tuesday’s win. Here was my response to RG. The Greek (Jimmy The Greek?) thought I was off my rocker, or preparing for a circus or something, and his comments with my responses follow.

 

Dannie: A little harsh on the win. I thought the Sixers looked good, especially w/o Dalembert in there. Didn’t think there was much “ugly” about this win. Do agree that Rush would’ve been a better kick-out option on the final play (also think Lou Williams would’ve been a better defensive option on the Bulls’ previous possession), but overall think Mo coached a good game — especially making the lineup shift. -Aaron

 

AAron, it’s funny because as I was reading this I was thinking that this was Dannies masterpiece.   Iggy played great until about the 430 mark in the fourth, and then he put his STINKADALA cape on and did his best to lose the game for us.  Luckiy he stunk at that as well and we got out of regualtion with a tie. 

 

Dear Greek: True, Iggy badly missed a 20-footer with 1:30 left that he has to make and slipped on a possession in the final minute. I can give him a pass on the slip. But did you see his baseline drive and dunk with 3:04 left – that came under the 4:30 mark? Yes, Iggy has played poorly this season, but you have to give him credit for Tuesday night. -Aaron

 

Also AAron, Lou Williams and defensive option late in the game should never be mentioned in the same sentence.  If your going to stick a guard in there for D late in the game then put in Ivey.

 

Dear Greek: True, Lou isn’t a good defender, but he has more athleticism than Miller and would have been able to stay with Rose better on the Bulls’ last possession of regulation. Miller got burned again by Rose. Mo used Lou a little on Rose earlier and Lou had an easier time staying with Rose than Miller. BTW, don’t have a problem with Ivey either. -Aaron

 

…and in response to this…


“I thought the Sixers looked good, especially w/o Dalembert in there”

Are you serious dude?  Are you really shocked that the sixers looked good without there franchise anchoring stud sammy in the middle?   My god, what sort of 3 ring circus are you running over that on your site?

 

Dear Greek: No, I’m not shocked the Sixers looked good w/o Dalembert in there. That’s why I wrote they’d be better off w/o him in the lineup. So we agree. … Three-ring circus? Maybe not so bad. Barnum & Bailey certainly has had a pretty good run. -Aaron

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Charles unplugged: Charles Barkley went on the radio with Howard Eskin on WIP Tuesday afternoon and addressed several topics, most of all the Sixers. Barkley said Iguodala is overpaid and Brand was a bad signing. He also touched on the Eagles, saying Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb have been underappreciated in Philly. Hear the interview via podcast here.

 

 

The Hawk won’t die, but radio signal will: It’s tough enough following Saint Joseph’s (my alma mater) due to their infrequent appearance on local TV, but it was downright impossible at times Tuesday night due to the technical difficulties on the 990-WNTP radio broadcast. The broadcast would cut in and out inexplicably. Simply inexcusable.

 

Speaking of college hoops, St. Joe’s (over Lehigh, 77-64) , La Salle (over Bucknell, 68-65) and Villanova (over Penn, 69-47) all winners Tuesday on a big night in Philly hoops.

 

 

Danny hurt again: The Flyers beat Tampa Bay 4-3 in OT Tuesday. I watched about the first period before switching to hoops. The big story in this one might not be the win, but that Danny Briere is hurt again.

 

From csnphilly.com’s game story

 

Flyers center Danny Briere was back in the lineup after missing nine games with a groin pull but he did not seem very effective, nor did he have any jump in his skates. Briere left the Flyers bench late in the second period. It is believed he re-injured himself given that the Flyers were planning an announcement after the game.”

 

 

Wednesday sked

NBA

Lakers at Sixers, 7

College hoops

Miami (Ohio) at Temple, 7:30

Sixers need changes — and fast

December 1, 2008

Maybe only the turkeys had a worse weekend than the 76ers.

 

After being routed by Boston, 102-78, Friday night, the Sixers were spanked at home by the Bulls, 103-92, Sunday night. It was their fourth straight loss, dropping them to 7-10.

 

I only caught the highlights Sunday, so I can only write based on what I saw, read and the box score. I’ve been to four games this season, though, and Sunday’s loss seemed similar to what has plagued this team for much of the season.

 

Now, not later, is the time for Mo Cheeks to start making some major changes. Ed Stefanski, too.

 

The parts just aren’t right with the Sixers. Elton Brand is a very good player who just doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the mix. Andre Iguodala has been most hurt by Brand, his scoring average dipping from 19.9 last season to 13.3 through 17 games this year.

 

The Sixers can play well on offense in spurts, but lack the sort of consistency that results in wins.

 

They don’t defend very well, especially from the perimeter, and don’t shoot it well from the arc, either. A bad combination. Sunday’s loss to the Bulls was an example: Chicago was 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) from long distance, while the Sixers were 5-for-13 (38.5) from the arc.

 

So, what can be done? Maybe nothing until the offseason.

 

But here’s what I’d try right now…

 

Go small more: I know Brand is making all that money, but let’s see what the Sixers can do without him in the lineup more. Brand is having a solid statistical year, entering Sunday averaging nearly a double-double (16.9 points, 9.9 boards), but he’s a liability to the fastbreak offense that carried the Sixers into the playoffs last year. I like Thaddeus Young and Marresse Speights. Put them on the floor with Iguodala, Andre Miller and Lou Williams. Brand is averaging 35.6 minutes per game. I say cut him back to between 27-to-30 minutes and see what a small, quick lineup can do.

 

More Reggie Evans less Sam Dalembert: Evans is an offensive liability, but I like his energy and he rebounds the heck out of the ball. Dalembert put up another clunker Sunday night with 4 points and 4 boards in 15 minutes. That’s 16 points and 22 boards in his last 4 games – all losses. Not good enough.

 

Find a shooter for your half-court offense: Brand draws a double-team in the post, something the Sixers have lacked for years. Problem is you need players who can hit the shot when Brand finds them wide-open. The Sixers are sorely lacking with perimeter shooters. I’d give Donyell Marshall and his 35 percent career 3-point percentage a look, and find more minutes for Kareem Rush. A career 36 percent shooter from the arc, Rush was brought in for his shooting from long range. Well, now it’s time to find out if he can do it. He’s made 6 of 17 from 3 this year. Not great options, I know, but something needs to be done.

 

Maybe these moves will help, maybe they won’t…but Cheeks has to try something to get the Sixers out of this rut. The problem probably is deeper than any of these changes and can’t be addressed until the offseason, but you can’t sit and wait until then.

 

And Cheeks needs to move fast because the Sixers are entering a brutal six-game stretch, beginning Tuesday at Chicago. After playing the Bulls (8-9), the Sixers’ next five opponents are a combined 61-20 (75.3 percent).

 

Your thoughts on changes?

 

phillysportsbeat@gmail.com

 

Monday sked

 

College hoops

Cal St Northridge at Drexel, 7

(Update 5 p.m. Monday)

Arbitration for Burrell, Moyer? A story on the Phillies’ Web site says the team is likely to offer Pat Burrell and Jamie Moyer arbitration by the midnight deadline tonight. However,

 

GM Ruben Amaro was noncommittal on Moyer in a radio interview with Howard Eskin on WIP about an hour ago. In fact, reading between the lines it sounded to me like the Phils wouldn’t offer Moyer arbitration.

 

My take: I believe the teams wants to sign Moyer, but at a price less than what the might have to pay through arbitration. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perimeter D hurts Sixers in loss

November 20, 2008

The Sixers displayed some grit in fighting back against the T’Wolves Wednesday night, but their perimeter defense hurt them when it mattered in the team’s 102-96 loss to Minnesota.

 

Down 1 with 50 seconds left, Thaddeus Young left Mike Miller to double Al Jefferson (25 points, 8 boards).

 

 

 

Bad move.

 

 

 

Jefferson kicked it back out to Miller, a career 40.3% 3-point shooter, and the U. Florida product drained the open 3 as Andre Miller couldn’t get to the arc in time to defend.

 

That was your game. You can see video of the play and game highlights here.

 

It was a bad loss for the Sixers, who dropped to 5-6. Minnesota snapped an eight-game losing streak, improving to 2-8.

 

Still, this looks like a good, young team. I’ll get an in-person look Sunday when Golden State comes to town.

 

 

More McNabb: Daily News columnist John Smallwood, often a Donovan McNabb backer, isn’t supporting the QB today.

 

My thoughts on McNabb’s press conference? Check previous post.

 

 

Radio dial: Ravens coach John Harbaugh showed up on Howard Eskin’s 610-WIP show. Harbaugh did the obligatory defending of McNabb and Andy Reid. Listen here.

 

Mike Miss said Wednesday that ex-Eagles RB Ricky Watters will appear on Friday’s show. Always an interesting quote.

 

 

Thursday quick-hitters: The Phillies are reportedly interested in M’s OF Raul Ibanez. … According to this story, the Phils will debut their postseason video on Monday and will televise 45 games on Channel 17 next season.

 

 

Thursday sked

 

Take your wife out to eat Thursday night, as a rare lull in the Philly sked. No teams in action Thursday night.

 

 

That’s all for now.

 

phillysportsbeat@gmail.com

76ers aren’t very good “Brand” right now

November 12, 2008

It’s not time to hit the panic button, but the 76ers aren’t a good basketball team right now.

 

In attendance Tuesday night, I watched a team that looks disjointed – except when they’re out running and gunning.

 

The Jazz beat Philly 93-80 in a contest that was a yawner except for the 76ers’ exciting third-quarter run when they outscored Utah 30-14.

 

The loss dropped the 76ers to 2-5, while the Jazz improved to 6-1.

 

So, what’s the problem?

 

There’s been a lot of talk around town about how the team has had trouble in the early going with spacing around newly acquired Elton Brand, something assistant coach Jimmy Lynam addressed on the pregame radio show.

 

Lynam said it was something the Sixers worked on entering the Utah game, adding that the team also wanted to work on its “pacing,” i.e. pushing the tempo more.

 

That’s what they did in the third quarter when they made the run, with Andre Miller (25 points, 6 assists) leading the charge.

 

The spacing seemed fine Tuesday, but the Sixers – despite benefiting from many easy baskets – shot just 38 percent from the field, including 22 percent (2-for-9) from the arc.

 

So, shooting is one problem.

 

It seems to me that Brand may be another problem.

 

I know he averages a double-double (20.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg) for his career, but I’m not sure if he’s the right fit for the exciting run-and-gun style that carried the Sixers into the playoffs last season.

 

Based on Tuesday, Brand seems most content working at the elbows and settling for 10-to-15-footers, and not banging down low, like, say, Carlos Boozer of the Jazz. And he doesn’t have the speed to run with the Iguodalas, Williamses, etc.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Brand’s a very good player and the Sixers’ early struggles certainly don’t fall all on his shoulders. And it’s not his fault if it turns out he’s not the right fit; he’s just playing the way he knows how.

 

But my eyes Tuesday night say that Brand is miscast on a team of young players who want to run.

 

 

Gotta read Mark Kram’s piece on Lenny Dykstra in Tuesday’s Daily News. Dykstra tells Kram: “I was born to make money.” It was similar to the recent HBO piece on Dykstra, but still good nonetheless. 

 

 

Wednesday sked

 

76ers at Toronto, 7 p.m.

 

 

phillysportsbeat@gmail.com

 

Kings of the court?

November 3, 2008

The Sixers return to the Wachovia Center court Monday night to try to even their record at 2-2 after blowing a 23-point lead Saturday night in Atlanta.

I was in attendance Friday night when Elton Brand and Company demolished the New York Knicks, 116-87. Brand was strong in the post and Willie Green couldn’t miss from the perimeter, but the player who most impressed was Andre Miller. The point guard did it all in the third quarter when he scored 13 points and dealt several assists, including two on consecutive fastbreaks.

Miller is a winning player and the Sixers will take his lead into the playoffs this year – and possibly contend for an Eastern Conference title in a top-heavy and better-than-it’s-been conference that’s still inferior to the West.

That said, the Sixers seem to lack a little in the “Q” department, i.e. A.I. … as in Iverson, not Iguodala. There couldn’t have been more than 10,000 in the house Friday night and while the Phillies’ parade down Broad Street certainly had something to do with it, the Sixers’ lack of a big draw also is a factor.

It’ll be interesting to see what the crowds are like as the season progresses.

Monday night’s game will be a homecoming for Kings rookie Jason Thompson. The Lenape High and Rider University product is off to a strong start, averaging 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in two games – both losses.

The Phils reportedly will introduce Ruben Amaro as their new GM Monday, while saying goodbye to assistant GM Mike Arbuckle, who won’t return next season. That could be a huge loss for the Phils because Arbuckle has been credited with scouting much of the Phils’ core.

Amaro seems like a nice, capable man who hopefully burned all of his Ed Wade notes and kept a binder on Pat Gillick.

Donovan McNabb throws for 346 yards and the Eagles beat Seattle 26-7. Ho-hum. Just don’t get the feeling this team ever will win anything with Andy Reid at the helms. He’s great at planning for the future, but not so good at winning now. Same goes for game preparation compared to game day.

Reid’s act in press conferences and toward the media in general always has rubbed me the wrong way.

The Flyers dropped to 4-3-3 with Sunday’s 5-4 loss to Edmonton. One question: Why are hockey won/loss records so darn complicated?

That’s it for now.

phillysportsbeat@gmail.com