Sixers Handle Spurs – ‘Tough Stretch’ Becomes Win Streak

Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Antonio Spurs

I am writing this post after getting home from another superb performance and win by our 76ers over the San Antonio Spurs.  That means my head has not exploded – yet.  In my opinion this was the perfect basketball game to attend when you are a die-hard fan of the home team has 3 main characteristics.

  1. Some exciting plays and moments. That can be dunks, crossovers or draining a few big three point shots.
  2. A comfortable lead that is not too large that you lose interest because the game is a rout.
  3. A victory. Obviously this is the most important trait.

This game, at least for me, was perfect.  It had all the aspects, and the win is even sweeter coming against the defending NBA champions.

Observations from the game

  • Another packed house – 19,942.  Compared to the Boston game the crowd was almost entirely Philly dominated.  The fans were electric from the opening tap, and this was easily the loudest the Wachovia Center has been in all the games I’ve attended.   
  • Andre Miller’s post game was dominating against Tony Parker.  Parker’s weak defense was completely exposed all game by Miller.  What I found interesting was Miller’s pre-game and halftime routine.  Almost every single shot he practiced was from the corners in that 15-17 foot range.  It served as foreshadowing for what was to come during the game.
  • The Spurs looked tired coming off a tough lost in Detroit the night before.  With that said, it takes nothing from the Sixers even a little bit who had their own hard fought game last night.  From the jump they controlled the game on offense working in the half-court through Miller’s post game, at times almost exclusively.  Our guys clearly had much more energy evidenced by the 12 offensive rebounds, many of which were floor boards.  The Sixers won the hustle points aspect of the game getting to most of the lose balls.
  • What won’t show up in the box score was Samuel Dalembert’s individual defense on Tim Duncan.  Timmy shot 5-14, scoring just 16 points and pulling down only 6 boards in 33 minutes.  When the Spurs were trying to make their run cutting the lead to 6, Dalembert did what everyone said he couldn’t.  Stop Duncan with no help.  He blocked two Duncan shot attempts straight up, which for me sealed the win.
  • The final game note is a very promising one.  I saw a clear sign of Andre Iguodala’s emerging leadership.  When San Antonio was pressing at the end of the game, in two possessions Lou Williams turned the ball over, then almost did it again but was bailed out with a foul call.  As Williams headed to the line Iguodala who was visibly pissed off after the previous turnover put his arm around Lou’s head “tight.” What came next can only be assumed as a stern “get your act together” judging from his face followed by some words of encouragement.  I was very pleased to see this type of behavior from the Sixers best player.

Going into the Boston game all the talk was about this “tough stretch” coming up and rightfully so.  The next 11 games for the 76ers are against the likes of Boston (twice), Detroit, Chicago (twice), San Antonio, Denver, Orlando, New Jersey, Phoenix, and Cleveland.

But I think the mentality of the fans when saying “tough stretch” was still coming from a losing team perspective.  Meaning the expectation over the next 11 games was vastly lowered.  If I would have said the Sixers would be 3-1 in these first four games I would have been laughed at and called “retarted.” 

But times are changing and our expectations for the Sixers should be changing as well.  Are they a title contender? Of course not.  In fact they aren’t even over .500 yet.  But what they are is a team that has finally figured out how to win – consistently.  Like Pete pointed out, the team is 17-6 since the end of January ranking second the in the Eastern Conference.  And I believe this level of performance will continue through the last 15 games of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Come on Philadelphia 76ers fans, it’s time to expect more from this team.  They deserve it.

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13 Responses

  1. What a huge win. Wow. Dalembert blocking Duncan twice and holding him to a horrible shooting night…I am impressed. I think the last time I have been this excited during a Sixers run was back in the 02-03 season, with the Snow, AI, KVHorn, DC, Mutumbo lineup that gave it a good
    shot to get to the conference finals. It’s nice to remember how fun it is to follow a basketball team showing some fight, moxy, and has an interesting mix of pieces in place to where we are actually on the up.

    The “return of AI” game is coming up. Am I alone in having no idea what kind of protocol I should be following as far as who I’m rooting for here?

    Normally I’d say “Let’s hope player X drops 40 and we get the win.” But I can’t say that here, because the knock on AI, for right or wrong, is that his style of needing the ball in his hands so much didn’t always lead to wins.

    This might be the first time in my life I’m actually rooting against the Sixers…I think I want AI to drop 40+ and get the W to shut all the Philly media and other critics up that dogged him just for one night. I mean…this isn’t some guy we traded…he DEFINED in era of our team for a decade. I’ve found myself rooting for Denver almost like a home team away from home, even though I HATE Carmelo Anthony and K-Mart, simply because I feel AI is just another extension of the Sixers arm that happens to be playing in another city.

    This will be a fascinating game to watch, and I hope to god he gets a 5 minute standing ovation from the crowd like he deserves. If anyone boos the guy security should immediately escort them from the building.

  2. […] Dannie wrote a fantastic post today on “Sixers Handle Spurs â âTough Stretchâ Becomes Win Streak”Here’s ONLY a quick extractAnd I believe this level of performance will continue through the last 15 games of the regular season and into the playoffs. Come on Philadelphia 76ers fans, it’s time to expect more from this team. They deserve it. … […]

  3. hey buddy just wanted to tell you that i’ve been a huge sixers for years. i went to college in center city and i was one of a large group of people celebrating in the middle of broad street when we took game 1 from the lakers in 2001. since then the soap opera has been deflating and we’ve built a quick, young team that no one had expectations for. the irony is that this is the one philly team in years that was written off way before the start of the season. it’s great for the city, amazing for our fans, and if there’s one thing that we can take from this season it’s that we can look forward to an exciting team for the next few years

    alright bro, just wanted to say good comments on the game. I’ve been waiting to hear people start talking about our momentum and how teams should start to be worried of facing us in the playoffs. this is the first writeup i’ve seen about it, keep it up.

    and a p.s.- how about sammie?!?? i was down on him for a good deal of time and the last few games he’s been brilliant. i think he can tend to make bad decisions but lets hope he has matured into the player we anticipated when we gave him his contract.

  4. great find with Iguodala’s leaderships sign, on Yahoo.com gallery you can find a great pic of that moment, btw

    agree also on the “spurs tired” part, we were coming from the tough game at Chi as well but we simply are a more athletic and younger team, with a little bit more depth

    I have to give Mo a lot of praise (and I was NEVER a Chhks fan) he’s piling up masterpieces here…

    Bring on Iverson !!

  5. HUGE win. It’s just one after another, I can’t believe it. How about Sammy D’s progress in the last few games. It looks like he’s becoming the “elite” center we knew he had the potential to become, but hasn’t become… until now. If only those Wizards could drop a few games now.

  6. Wizards have an easy 3 games coming up. We have a legitimate shot at the 5 seed as well. Toronto has dropped 3 in a row and is 5-5 in their last 10.

  7. This team has been playing amazing basketball. They’ve been able to beat the Suns at their own fast-paced game and the Pistons and Spurs at their game. This month was suppose to sink us back to reality in a race for 8th but it has actually propelled us. We are currently 1/2 game behind Washington for 6th and 1.0 ame behind Toronto for 5th (although I rather play the Magic than King James).

    Our only loss this month has come from Boston. We’ve been beating good teams and it will only benefit us come playoff time.

    BTW, great website..

  8. Very interesting comment on Iggy’s floor demeanor. That commentary is invaluable nowadays. Good post, Dannie.

  9. Dave T – I expect AI to get a huge standing ovation I know I will be cheering loudly. But when the game starts its all about another Sixers victory. Can’t wait for tomorrow night you know AI, broken finger or not will bring his A game.

    Alex – I think everyone has been down on Sammi at some point, I know have. And honestly I think part of the problem is the fans not really knowing what to expect from him. I am at a point where I just want him to rebound on both ends, play great help defense, get a little stronger so his individual post defense is better and continue to develop that 15 foot jump shot. Why the jumper? I never think he is going to be a good back to the basket post player – I just don’t think he has it in him. Maybe that is overly pessimistic but it’s just me being honest about how I view his potential. Thanks for the positive comments, they are always welcome. We are always trying to get more and more regular Philly fans to the blog commenting.

    Ricky – I couldn’t find that picture if you can still find it post the link.

  10. Aarick – Your comment really points out another thing about this team’s progression. They have beat some really good teams, that’s great. But they have beat very good teams with varying styles. That is key to sustaining winning streaks in this league. Sometimes you can’t always impose your particular style on an opponent so you have to adapt. The Sixers have been able to do that pretty well the last two months. 100% with you – we need the Magic in the first round. I don’t want any parts of LeBron James in the 1st round – even if we had homecourt.

    Klo – I was writing my game notes on a scrap piece of paper as usual at the end of the game and started packing it up until I saw that series of events. I wrote that down, circled it and put stars around it. I have been looking for visual cues as to who the leader is on this team all season, especially watching Iguodala’s behavior since we all agree his is the best overall player we have. That was at least for me, the first clear sign of some individual leadership from any player. Was very happy to see that for Iggy, because A. Miller is more of a lead by example and with his play type of guy. I don’t see him being very vocal at all.

  11. […] you already know, Saturday I was at the San Antonio game.  I went with my gf who got tickets through her college’s (Franklin & […]

  12. Dannie def. a good call about Iggy. As I live in DC now, I cant watch many Sixers games, so I’m unable to see a lot of little details like the growth of Iguodala’s leadership. No team would ever want him as the #1 option/go to guy…but unfortunately now, he is exactly that for us, and it’s great to hear he’s starting to get the confidence to call guys out on their BS and take people under his wing to try and teach and discipline them a bit.

    I’m with you 100% with Andre Miller too…the knock on him has always been his lack of vocal leadership in the locker room. I think leading by example with your play is a great trait to have, but only if there are others around you with the cajones to set the tone in the locker room in an emphatic way.

    If we DO ever get a real #1 option, all this time of Iguodala experiencing the trial by fire of having the spotlight to himself as our iconic player will really help his game and mental toughness out hardcore down the road. Go Sixers!

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