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November 16 Philadelphia Daily News:
“If you looked at the Cleveland Cavaliers and the 76ers before the season began and you questioned which team would be battling an identity crisis early on, Cleveland would win hands down. Their home-grown star ripped the city’s heart apart when he decided to join other superstars in a quest for a championship. Though it has been merely months since LeBron James decided to move south to Miami, the Cavaliers have certainly moved on.
They have won four of their first nine games. They are getting good play from young players J.J. Hickson and Ramon Sessions. Expectations this season were understandably low, but coach Byron Scott has his team playing hard.
Through 10 games, we are still trying to figure out so many things about the Sixers.
Jrue Holiday has shown flashes of being the point guard that prompted coach Doug Collins to say he’d be in the top five at that position, possibly as soon as next season. More often than not, though, he’s been far from that.
Andre Iguodala, hampered by a sore Achilles’ tendon and undoubtedly fatigued from playing for the U.S. National Team this summer, is averaging just 12.8 points and hasn’t seemed to grasp the leadership role that Collins was hoping he would.
Evan Turner has cracked the starting lineup, but the rigors of NBA life seem to take their toll on the rookie now and then, and his play has been expectedly inconsistent.
Spencer Hawes hasn’t lived up to what was expected from him at the center position, averaging just 16.1 minutes per game and 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds.
Subs Marreese Speights and Thad Young have provided some spark, but not consistently enough for Collins to rely on night in and night out.
When added up, you see why the record is two wins in 10 games heading into tonight’s contest in Cleveland.”
November 16 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The 76ers‘ lack of intensity on defense has not gone without notice.
On Monday, coach Doug Collins reached for a printout of box scores, combed through the sheets, and spelled out the damage. Most of it, he said, is due to free throws, which can be traced to defensive lapses. Over their last three games, the Sixers have gotten progressively worse in that area in the first quarter.
Last week, the Sixers started their road trip in New York by building an eight-point lead in the opening period and won. After that game, it went downhill.
At Oklahoma, they trailed by four and lost. They fell behind by nine points in Dallas. And Saturday in San Antonio, the Spurs posted a season-high 38 first-quarter points, led by 11, and blew past the Sixers, 116-93.
The Sixers (2-8) can end their three-game skid Tuesday night, when they wrap up their five-game road trip in Cleveland.
On Nov. 5 against the Cavaliers, the Sixers had one of their worst first quarters of this season. They trailed, 34-20, and never recovered despite outscoring Cleveland by 19 points over the next two quarters. The Cavs won, 123-116.
So the Sixers will keep that in mind, along with the lessons offered by San Antonio. After the loss, the Sixers returned home and had the day off Sunday. They resumed practice Monday and began a half-hour early to go over game film with associate head coach Michael Curry.
Anything overlooked during the game was reviewed in a 45-minute session. Guard penetration. Transition defense. Second-chance points. Rebounding.
Simply, “just breakdowns,” Collins said, which the Sixers “have to clean up.”
“We come out very casually on defense, especially when you’re playing premier teams on the road,” Collins said. “Our offense scores, but our defense puts us in a huge hole. We’ve got to come out with a defensive mind-set if we’re going to win.””
TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE: Sixers blog
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