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November 18 Philadelphia Daily News:
“THERE was real evidence last night that the 76ers were trying to get back to the basics of the game. At halftime the players usually saunter on to the court at different times and take some outside shots before the horn blows to start the second half.
Last night though, encouraged by forward Andres Nocioni, the team formed two lines and proceeded to go through normal layup drill.
Now, if they could just improve on other simple tasks – like shooting, rebounding and defending – things might get a little easier the rest of the season.
They failed in most of those categories again last night, and fell to the Toronto Raptors, 94-86, at the Wells Fargo Center.
It was the same story that has been playing out throughout this young season for the Sixers, who lost their fifth straight and dropped to 2-10. A close game slipped away as the team’s inability to keep opponents off the boards late in games, and not being able to score themselves, again did them in as they had just one field goal in the final 7 minutes of the fourth quarter.
“It’s the same old, same old,” said forward Elton Brand, who led the Sixers with 27 points. “It seems like we could have pulled it out. We had the lead and we can’t get stops at opportune times, and we turn it over at misfortunate times. We get turnovers and we don’t even get attempts at the basket. That’s a killer when we’re trying to close out these ball games.”
November 18 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Thus far this season, the center position for the 76ers has been about as productive as a child attempting to do homework on Christmas morning.
Starter Spencer Hawes is averaging fewer than six points and fewer than 16 minutes. Backup Marreese Speights has scored in double figures only once this season and coach Doug Collins didn’t even put him out on the floor in Tuesday’s loss to Cleveland.
Tony Battie has really been the lone bright spot at the position, but the 34-year-old can be counted on for only a few minutes each game because of wear and tear.
So, does Collins have any solution for his gaping hole in the middle?
“We’ve talked about so many different things – starting lineups, who brings out the best in each. But the one thing we’re concerned with is if you start Tony in that situation, you play him 6 or 7 minutes [to start]. Then if he sits down and you don’t get him back in the first half, does he get stiff and then you have him [sitting] all the halftime? Then do you bring him back to start the half or do you say to him that we’re going to wait to use him until the fourth quarter? There’s so many variables involved with that. There’s been nothing that’s jumped out that says this is what we’re going to do.”
What Collins did decide was to not give Speights any playing time Tuesday, though he did make him the first sub off the bench last night, getting him in the game early in the first quarter. He was also out quickly, after picking up two fouls.
November 18 Camden Courier-Post:
“If this were the Lakers against the Celtics, the game would have been spellbinding, with each team trading baskets right down to the end.
Instead, it was the Sixers playing the Toronto Raptors, a pair of 2-9 teams trying to break a tie for the worst record in the Eastern Conference in front of a half-filled Wells Fargo Center.
So after 25 lead changes and nine ties, including nine lead changes in the fourth quarter alone, the Raptors finally took control in the final three minutes to beat the Sixers 94-86 Wednesday.
That sent the Sixers to their fifth straight loss and sole possession of last place in the East.
It’s their worst start since the 1995-96 team started 2-13.
“We’ve got to be able to close out games and we haven’t been able to do that,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said.
Not when the Sixers committed two turnovers on back-to-back possessions in the final 90 seconds.
Elton Brand had the first with 1:10 left and the Sixers trailing by three. Sonny Weems hit a free throw to put Toronto up by four.
On the Sixers‘ next possession, Andres Nocioni threw the ball away and Jose Calderon hit two free throws with 34.9 seconds left to give the Raptors a six-point lead, which was too much for the Sixers to overcome
November 18 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Andre Iguodala sat out his fourth game in the last six Wednesday with tendinitis in his right Achilles, and the 76ers swingman said the nature of his injury made it difficult for him to project when he’ll return.
“If you break something, you know exactly when you’re coming back,” Iguodala said before the Sixers met Toronto at the Wells Fargo Center. “With this, it’s off and on. One day it feels fine, then the next day something as simple as changing from offense to defense, when you try to change real fast, you jerk it a little bit and you’re right back where you were initially.
“It’s very frustrating,” he added. “Nobody in the league is playing at 100 percent, but you want to be comfortable out there. I haven’t been able to practice with the guys, and that’s making it hard, too.”
Iguodala said he hoped to play Friday against Milwaukee, but that he’d also hoped to play Tuesday in Cleveland.
“I’m trying to take it one game at a time.”
Iguodala, who has either started or played in all but 10 of a possible 504 games during his Sixers career, said he never had a problem with his Achilles until last week.
“I’m just trying to wake up and be pain free,” he said. “I can go out there and shoot some shots. The biggest problem is trying to cut and react to the ball. The initial sprint is probably the worst. It’s kind of hard to get out on the break.””
November 18 Camden Courier-Post:
“Andre Iguodala didn’t return to the Sixers lineup Wednesday, and there’s a chance he won’t for at least a few more games.
Iguodala said before the Sixers played the Toronto Raptors that his strained Achilles tendon is still bothering him. He has been told by Sixers coach Doug Collins not to return until it’s fully healed.
Iguodala doesn’t even know how the injury occurred other than it has bothered him for the last few weeks. He sat out two games on Nov. 7 and 10 and returned last Friday and Saturday.
Iguodala, who also missed the Sixers‘ loss in Cleveland on Tuesday, wouldn’t give a timetable for his return this time.
“It’s not something that there’s a time limit on,” Iguodala said. “If you break something, you know it’s three or four weeks. You know exactly when you’re coming back. This is just off and on. One day, it’s fine. Then the next day something can set it back real easily — something as simple as changing direction from offense to defense . . . and you’re right back where you were initially.”
Iguodala was averaging just 12.8 points per game this season, well off his average of 17.1 points per game last season.
Iguodala has also been bothered by a wrist injury since playing for USA Basketball over the summer. That, he said, is something he can play through.
The Achilles, he said, is much more difficult.
TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE: Sixers blog
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