December 9 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bob Cooney:
“WELL NOW, what have we here?
The local professional basketball team is starting to raise some eyebrows (saying they’re drawing interest might be a little far-fetched as the mostly empty Wells Fargo Center would attest each home game).
* Defense has become something more to the players than what you have to do when you don’t have the ball.
* Jodie Meeks’ insertion into the starting lineup has been like adding water to a dying plant – you can practically see the offense coming to life right before your eyes.
* After a dismal start in which he spent much more time during games on the bench than on the court, center Spencer Hawes (acquired in offseason trade from Sacramento) is rounding into a decent offensive option and a reliable rebounder.
* Now mostly healthy for the first time this young season, swingman Andre Iguodala is regaining his defensive form and starting to put up the consistent offensive numbers that have accompanied him for most of his seven seasons here.
* Thaddeus Young, so baffled and downtrodden most all of last season with Eddie Jordan at the helm, has become that promising, young forward again.
All of these parts have helped a 3-13 record improve to 7-14. It has put new bounce in the players’ steps. It has allowed coach Doug Collins enough confidence to give the team yesterday off, even though they will play the best team in the Eastern Conference tonight, the Boston Celtics.
Things are going well with the Red, White and Blue right now. Questions of whether Collins will be able to make it through the season have ceased, and rumblings of another nine-win season (the other being in 1973) have died.
Winning feels oh-so-good, covers a lot of wounds, masks what could be long-term blemishes, and garners off-days.
This current stretch, four wins in the past five games, has come mainly because of the above-mentioned factors.”
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