Letdown My @#$ – Sixers’ Comeback Quiets the Skeptics

Philadelphia 76ers comeback to beat the Chicago Bulls

Tell the truth, how many of you either turned the game off or accepted the loss when the 76ers were down 16 points at the beginning of the 4th quarter?

You look at the lackluster line-up of Sixers reserves on the floor, and everyone is saying “Ok, this game is over.”  In fact Mark Zumoff and Bob Salmi had a whole conversation about when Mo Cheeks would concede the game and rest his starters, knowing they had to play the defending champs tomorrow. 

No no no.  Those “scrubs” led by Rodney Carney decided this game was far from over and went on an 18-6 run.  Insert Andre Iguodala and that run goes from a valiant effort that proves fruitless to a remarkable comeback marked by an uncharacteristic weapon.  The 3-point shot.  The Sixers were 4-7 from behind the arc, with three of those triples coming during a minute and a half burst which gave them their first lead since 2-0.

This team continues to get better, show signs of being a real winner and flat-out impress me.  I was so excited when the Sixers came back and won that game for a few reasons.

  1. Shut up the doubters who quickly started talking letdown after the Detroit win
  2. Another great coaching job by Mo Cheeks (I will get this in every time I can)
  3. The team showed no quit – a trait Philly fans should appreciate more than anything
  4. Young players stepping up – I must give props to Rodney Carney since I have not been a fan since he got to the team.  He has played out of his mind the last two games.  He is rapidly converting me into a believer that he could be a solid role player in this team’s future.
  5. They are keeping my 6th seed upset dream alive

Well done, 76ers.  I will be loud and proud at the Wachovia Center tonight when they face struggling Spurs.

P.S.

I think someone lost a bet.

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Sixers All-Star Weekend – Or Lack Thereof

Allen Iverson 2005 NBA All-Star MVPForgive me while I show my true “homerism” and rant about my disappointment/anger regarding Philadelphia’s non-existent representation in the 2008 All-Star festivities.

Rookie/Sophomore Challenge

Why the hell was Thaddeus Young not on the All-Star rookie team?!? Can you say BULLSHIT.  If you need a refresher on why he should have been playing Friday night check this out.  Who would I replace for Young?  Jeff Green.  He has been nothing short of mediocre considering he plays 24.5 minutes per game and takes almost 8 shots a night.  On a p/40min basis he doesn’t stack up and shoots a rookie All-Star worthy 44% from the field.  Add the fact that Seattle sucks and his selection makes less sense.

When you also consider the potential entertainment value for the fans of having a high flying, super athletic Thaddeus Young in the game it should have been a no brainer to have him representing the Sixers.  It’s one thing to be Tim Duncan and have a boring, yet dominant game. It’s a completely different story when your game is just as boring and your name is Jeff Green.  Matter of fact, did he even play in the game?  I think John Hollinger sums it up best in his post-game grade of Green (D-) “Plenty of time (34 min.) to prove unworthiness.”  Enough said.

Skills Competition

For a competition that rewards speed I think we all agree the first Sixers player that comes to mind is Lou Williams.  His athletic ability fits perfect for this event.  Blazing fast with and without the ball, ability to stop on a dime and quickly change direction. 

You put Lou in the competition this season vs. the current contestants – Jason Kidd (former winner), Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and two-time defending champion Dwyane Wade and I’d argue he’d give these guys a run for their money.  Wade is all beat to crap now, Kidd is aging (albeit still quick), Paul has failed to win the past two years, and Deron Williams I think is the least quick of the bunch.

Passing ability you say?  If Wade can win being the weakest passer in groups composed of Nash, LeBron, Kobe and Paul I wouldn’t worry about Louis Williams’ passing skills for this event.

Slam Dunk Contest

This section is best served with videos.

Rodney Carney

I don’t know about all of you but I am an animated basketball watcher.  When this dunk happened I was screaming.  Posterizing like this is always better when it’s a high profile player getting banged on.  D. Wade can you say FACE!

Andre Iguodala

We can all agree he got completely shafted at the 2006 dunk contest, right?

Three-Point Shootout

Ummmmm……………Willie Green?  OK ok moving on.

2008 NBA All-Star Game

We have no iconic superstar that would get voted in by the fans.  (Sad)  More importantly, not having a stud big man on the Sixers makes getting a current player selected by the coaches even tougher in the East.  I think the PF and even more so the center position is the weakest in terms of depth in the Eastern Conference. 

So right now our best hope is Iggy to get in over players like Joe Johnson or Rip Hamilton.  The #1 thing he can improve individually to make it next season?  Shooting percentage (44.7% this season and last).  Since his shots per game increased over 10 he hasn’t shot as well from the field.  Why? 3.6 three-pointer taken per game and this has increased each of his 4 seasons.  That’s fine, but he isn’t hitting the magic number – 33%.  Add some more Sixers wins next season and I don’t see how Andre doesn’t make it with marginal improvement.

Here’s a good article from Philly.com about Andre Iguodala and the All-Star game by Phil Jasner.

Even without any Sixers representation I am still excited about Dwight Howard in the dunk contest tonight and the All-Star game on Sunday, although not as much because of all the injuries.  How bout you?