Sixers Weekly Review

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The Philadelphia 76ers headed into this past week riding a 5 game losing streak and trailing the Milwaukee Bucks by 4 games for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot.  They began the week at home against a struggling Orlando Magic squad, their first of four games on schedule.  Only a few minutes into the game, it was clear the losing streak was taking a toll on the young Sixer team.  Philadelphia came out with little to no effort on the defensive end and a stagnant offense that shot 39.5% from the floor.  Nikola Vucevic helped the Magic outrebound his former team, contributing 12 points and 19 rebounds.  Pargo and Wilkins led the Sixers with 14 points each and Holiday dished out 10 assists in the disappointing 98-84 loss at the Wells Fargo Center.  Unfortunately, the most memorable moment of the night came after the game, when Doug Collins expressed his displeasure with his team in his postgame press conference rant.

Philadelphia had a chance to prove themselves two nights later, when they faced off against the Chicago Bulls on TNT.  The Sixers showed they backed coach Collins by coming out with tons of effort straight from tip off.  The Roseless Bulls were able to match the Sixers intensity though, behind their other franchise centerpiece, Joakim Noah.  The All Star center had one of his best games as a professional, finishing with 23 points, 21 rebounds, and an astounding 11 blocks.  With Noah and Boozer (21 pts, 12 rebs) having strong performances, the Sixers were not able to climb back into the win column Thursday night losing 93-82 in Chicago.

After the loss to Chicago, the Sixers headed back to Philadelphia on a 7 game losing streak with a meeting against the Golden State Warriors up next.  Luckily for Philadelphia, Golden State was coming into town in the midst of their own midseason slump.  However once again, the Sixers started slow and the Warriors were able to take a quick double digit advantage.  Philadelphia understood if they were going to have a chance at this game, they would need to match the sharp shooting of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.  And the Sixers did just that, shooting 12-18 from deep, including 4-4 from Royal Ivey.  Stephen Curry dropped 30 points and Klay Thompson contributed 29 points, shooting 7-12 from behind the arc.  As much as the Warriors tried to steal this game, Evan Turner and the Sixers were not going to let this one get away.  Turner stole the show with 22 pts, 10 rebs, and 9 assists while Holiday poured in 27 points on 11-20 shooting.  Finally, their losing streak came to an end at 7 games with a wild Sixer’s win 104-97 in front of their home crowd.

Philadelphia’s final game of the past week came on Sunday in Washington against the Wizards.  The Sixers had yet another poor offensive performance shooting 38.8% from the floor, including a combined 8-32 (25%) from Holiday and Turner.  Luckily, their defense was able to keep them in the game holding Washington scoreless in the fourth quarter for a 5 minute stretch.  During that period, Philadelphia went on a 11-0 run catapulting them to a 3 point lead.  With the lead and the way their defense was playing, it looked like the Sixers were poised for their second straight win.  However, the Sixers were not able to hold on and Washington was able to snatch a 90-87 victory behind John Wall and his game high 16 points.

The Philadelphia 76ers ended the week with a 1-3 record, losing 9 out of their last 11, and falling to 23-35 for the season.  Their playoff deficit has grown from 4 to 6.5 games behind Milwaukee and time is not in their favor.  It is clear how bad the Sixers are missing a post presence inside, especially when arguably the best post talent in the league is sitting at the edge of their bench.  While looking at Philadelphia’s stats from this weeks games, I was able to find some interesting numbers that stuck out.  The Sixers shot under 40% in every one of their 3 losses, while shooting almost 52% in their win against Golden State.  Philadelphia was also outrebounded in their 3 losses but they outrebounded the Warriors by 13 in their only win.  An alarming and inexcusable stat is the team’s poor free throw shooting percentage.  In the 4 games this week, the Sixers shot a collective 64.7% from the free throw line, missing 24 out of 68 FT attempts.  Though not many, I was able to find some interesting positive stats as well.  Dorell Wright and Arnett Moultrie are two Sixers that deserve a shout out for their play this week.  Wright performed exactly the way the Sixers imagined when trading for him, shooting 11-23 from three in this weeks games. Rookie Arnett Moultire only played a total of 26 combined minutes in all 4 games this week, but he made them count putting in 16 points on 8-9 shooting.  The Sixers did not disappoint this week by going 1-3 because at this point it should be expected.  The next exciting moment for Sixer fans will be on draft lottery night, when the Sixers have a chance at the number one pick and a jumpstart to the future.
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