Archive for the ‘Philadelphia 76ers’ Category

Game Review: Raptors at Sixers [Oct 29]

October 30, 2008

A solid effort by the Raptors last night, over-coming the hometown 76ers in the first game of the regular season for both teams. 

Highlights for Toronto included solid work by key players Chris Bosh [4/5] & Jose Calderon [1], and back-ups Jason Kapono [2] & Roko Ukic [1].

Philadelphia, on the other hand, looked disjointed and was never able to find a rhythm suited to their new personnel.

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FINAL SCORE: Raptors 95 Sixers 84
Game Info

POSITIVE SIGNS

9-man rotation: 1st Unit – 1/Calderon, 2/Parker [3], 3/Moon, 4/Bosh, 5/O’Neal; 2nd Unit – 1/Ukic, 2/Kapono, 3/Graham, 4-5/Bargnani
Assist:Turnover vs Opp: 24-9 [+15] vs 15-17 [-2] … +17
3PTM-A [%] vs Opp: 10-16 [.625] vs 5-19 [.263] … +15 Pts
FGM-A [%] vs Opp: 36-81 [44.4] vs 29-84 [34.5] … +9.9%
* PTS Against: Under 90

IMPROVEMENT NEEDED

* Rebounds vs Opp: 10-23-33-11-44 vs 23-33-56-11-67 … -23
[Off-Def-Tot-Team-Combined]
* FTM-A [%] vs Opp: 13-17 [76.5] vs 21-28 [75.0] … -8/-9

KEY POSSESSION OUTCOMES

* 3rd Q, 06:08 … Tor 57, Phi 56: Tor/Bosh, O-Reb & Fouled; Made 2 FT’s
* 4th Q, 09:56 … Tor 76, Phi 70: Phi/Young, Made Layup Disallowed; Basket Interference
* 4th Q, 02:19 … Tor 88, Phi 82: Tor/Bosh, Made Elbow Jumpshot [High Rub]
* 4th Q, 01:41 … Tor 90, Phi 82: Tor/Kapono, Made Corner 3 [High Rub]

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Where you go determines where I go, too

October 17, 2008

Really like what’s been coming out of the 76ers’ training camp, so far.

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Sixers’ Brand, Dalembert learning to work together
Elton Brand isn’t accustomed to playing with a shot-blocking center who has a penchant for catching lobs at the other end of the floor. Samuel Dalembert isn’t accustomed to playing with a power forward who sets up regularly in the low post and commands a double-team.

Time to go to work.

With three preseason games remaining, starting tomorrow night in Cleveland, 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks has plans “to try and get those guys on the same page.”

“Defensively, in terms of rebounding, there’s no space that’s not taken up by both,” Cheeks said before practice yesterday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “The challenge is at the offensive end, because more often than not, Elton’s going to have the ball. Sam will either be underneath, or stepping out on top, or screening a guard. Sam’s spot will be defined by where Elton has the ball.

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Q1. Will they be good enough to be considered one of the upper echelon teams in the NBA this season?

A1. No, not yet. However, this team is most definitely heading in the right direction … ↑↑↑.

[Note 1: The most impressive Sixer these eyes saw last week, during their exhibition W vs the Raptors, was their young Big, Mauresse Speights. If Elton Brand can stay healthy, over the next few years, this team is going to get a whole lot better, with the continued maturation of Andre Iguodala, Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young, Jason Smith, etc., under the steady hands of Andre Miller (PG), Maurice Cheeks & Ed Stefanski.]

To those in Raptorville who might be more inclined to listen now

October 13, 2008

Since the Jermaine O’Neal trade was first announced, this corner has said repeatedly that this move alone was NOT going to solve the Raptors’ REBOUNDING problem … which occurs when they play against a high calibre opponent with as much or more ‘athleticism’ at the 5 positions on the floor, in comparison with Toronto’s line-up.

When this current collection of Raptors matches-up with a team like this current group of 76ers … what you’re going to get, more often than not, is a ‘Board Deficit’ like you saw in yesterday’s encounter:

Box Score: Philadelphia 85, Toronto 79

There are specific ways to effectively address a team’s REBOUNDING problem … when it’s the type of problem the Raptors have had for the last two years … but, one of them is NOT:

* To trade your team’s 2nd best Rebounder [who is also your best Low Post Defender, i.e. Nesterovic]
* To include a flip-flop of 1st & 2nd Round Draft Picks [which turns out to be … THEY get Roy Hibbert; YOU get Nathan Jawai!!!]
* To include your back-up PG in the deal [Ford]
* To include a throw-away Big from the end of the bench [Baston]
* Plus, decide to let another throw-away Big from the end of the bench to walk for nothing [Brezec]
* Plus, decide to let a useful player like Carlos Delfino walk away for nothing
* Plus, decide to let a VERY useful player like Jorge Garbajosa do the same

… in exchange for adding:

* Either inexperienced and/or marginal players like Jawai, Roko Ukic, Hassan Adams, and Will Solomon
* Plus, a veteran player like Jermaine O’Neal, who is returning from a series of leg injuries.

That ^^^, right there, is like making a 7 for 4 deal, where …

Toronto Loses: Nesterovic + Ford + Hibbert + Baston + Brezec + Delfino + Garbajosa

and

Toronto Adds: O’Neal + Jawai + Adams + Solomon

[strictly speaking Ukic cannot be included amongst the additions since his rights already belonged to the Raptors]

in which 5 of the 6 players who you know already can play effectively in the NBA, in some capacity, are going the other way … while you are getting ‘the best player’, overall … but, who you can only HOPE is going to regain his effectiveness coming off his most recent injury.

THAT ^^^, right there, is a BAD TRADE.

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By trying to make a ‘blockbuster’ trade this summer … instead of simply moving TJ Ford for a back-up, serviceable, Wing player like Rodney Carney … and promoting Calderon to the starter’s position … and, THEN, holding onto Nesterovic, Delfino & Garbajosa, until further notice … what the Raptors have done now is, in fact, ROLL THE DICE big time that they do not pick up any sort of serious injury to Bosh, O’Neal or Calderon, and can survive these next two years with their current line-up intact, while not dropping down into the #9-12 spots in the EC, where they would be a DEFINITE ‘treadmill’ team … i.e not good enough to make the playoffs and not bad enough to get a high NBA DRAFT Lottery Pick anytime soon … waiting for the 2010-2011 season when they will once again have some wiggle room under the Salary Cap/Luxury Tax Threshold to add/subtract players to/from their roster.

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Which, in turn … given the Raptors’ current player roster … is part of the reason they SHOULD think long and hard, right now, about:

* Removing Anthony Parker from their starting line-up
* Shifting Jamario Moon to the #2-spot
* Inserting Joey Graham into the starting line-up
* Using AP as the primary back-up PG/OG, coming off the bench
* Removing Jermaine O’Neal from the starting line-up
* Inserting Kris Humphries into the starting line-up, as the partner for CB4
* Using O’Neal [PF] and Bargnani [C] together, as the Bigs with their 2nd Unit
* Using Jason Kapono for instant offense off the bench, as a spot player on the Wing with either the 1st or 2nd Units, at a later point in the game when the situation dictates
* Using a system of higly structured set plays which would allow limited offensive players like Graham, Moon, Humphries, and Bargnani to function at their maximum level of efficiency by only shooting ‘designated’ shots …

and, thereby, create a better balanced rotation for this Raptors’ team, which accounts for and integrates the areas of Rebounding, Defense and Team Offense.

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Then, again … this corner could always be proven wrong about this … over the course of time. 😉

76ers go back to the future

March 24, 2008

25 years later … the 1983 World Championship Philadelphia 76ers team … with Dr. J, Moses, the Jones Boys, ‘the Italian Stallion’, ‘the Boston Strangler’, and ‘Li’l Mo’ … remains the all-time favourite NBA team of this observer.

As the Sixers take the court this evening in Boston (against their arch-rivals) … and, having (finally!) reached the .500 mark (35-35) this season … it is only fitting that the man most responsible for their re-birth is, himself, an indelible link to that same Sixers’ team which captured the imagination, heart & mind of certain NBA aficionados back in the day.

When his name is mentioned today, as a candidate for ‘Coach Of the Year’ honours … these are the bookend set of images which come to mind of the giant little man from West Texas State … 

(1) the Little Engine … that did

and

(2) the Duet Maestro who …

has always understood, implicitly, what it means to be a Point Guard … in this world.

A salute to Maurice Cheeks

UPDATE:
10:34 PM … Final Score: BOS 90, Phi 95 … My, Oh, My!