This should be a good draft for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers should be able to come away with a player when they pick at No. 15 in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
The Sixers have looked at a number of NBA prospects over the last four weeks. And most of them have been big men. That appears to be the team’s greatest need. Some of the top frontcourt players who have come in to work out have been 6-foot-9 Terrence Jones (Kentucky), 6-foot-10 Arnett Moultrie (Mississippi State), 6-foot-11 John Henson (North Carolina), 7-foot Tyler Zeller (North Carolina), 6-foot-9 Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure) and 6-foot-10 Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State).
Jones and Moultrie are major players. Henson and Zeller are solid players as well. Nicholson and O’Quinn have a lot of ability, too. Most of these players should be available when the Sixers make their first round pick. Nicholson is viewed as a late, first-round pick. O’Quinn is expected to be selected in the second round.
With two picks in the second round at No. 45 and 54, O’Quinn wouldn’t be a bad pick for the Sixers. The Spartans’ big man was the MEAC Player of the Year. He averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. O’Quinn gained national attention for his play in the NCAA tournament. He was a huge reason why Norfolk State upset Missouri in the first round. He’s a strong inside player who can score and rebound. O’Quinn is also a good defender. His stock has been rising over the last few weeks. If the Sixers take him, they will more than likely have to use the first of their two picks in the second round. He probably won’t be there at No. 54.
The Sixers are coming off a season where they finished with a 35-31 record landing in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They defeated the Chicago Bulls in six games in the first round, then battled the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals before losing in seven games.
If they could add two players from this draft, they should be in good shape. The key is to get two players who can get into the rotation. A year ago, the Sixers drafted 7-foot center Nikola Vucevic from USC in the first round (16th pick). They also picked 6-foot-9 power forward Lavoy Allen from Temple in the second round (50th pick). Vucevic averaged 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds a game his rookie year. Allen tallied 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds a game his first season. Of course, Allen really stepped up in the playoffs and particularly against the Boston Celtics where he did a good job of guarding Kevin Garnett. Allen’s numbers went up in the postseason averaging 6.1 points and 4.9 rebounds a game.
The Sixers are in a similar position this year where they could get a couple players who could make a difference.
The Philadelphia 76ers are coming off a pretty successful season, making a second consecutive trip to the NBA playoffs under head coach Doug Collins. The Sixers had a strong run in the postseason defeating the Chicago Bulls in the first round before losing to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals in seven games.
The offseason is here. The Sixers have made some strides over the last few seasons, but they need to make some additional improvements in order to get to the next level. That could be a better position in the conference standings, which could help them get to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Sixers will be working out a number of NBA prospects in the coming weeks. The NBA draft will take place on June 28. The team will take a good look at the list of free agents. Of course, they have their own free agents who require some attention such as Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen and Jodie Meeks. Guard Lou Williams has an early termination option in his contract and could opt out if he chooses to exercise that right.
There are some interesting names on the NBA free agent list. The Sixers could definitely use some help in the frontcourt. Three names that stick out right away are restricted free agents JaVale McGee (Denver Nuggets), Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers) and Jason Thompson (Sacramento Kings).
McGee, a 7-foot, 252-pounder, was a first round pick of the Washington Wizards four years ago. The Wizards traded him to the Denver Nuggets in March. McGee helped the Nuggets land a spot in the playoffs. In fact, he played extremely well against the Los Angeles Lakers in the postseason. The Nuggets took the Lakers to seven games, losing in the final game. McGee averaged 8.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks a game. He was a big factor around the basket. He ran the floor and caught a number of alley-oop passes from playmaker Andre Miller.
Hibbert, a 7-foot-2, 260-pounder, was a real force around the basket. He had a big year for the Pacers. He made the all-star team this season and carried the Pacers to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat where they lost in six games. He averaged 11.7 points and 11.2 rebounds a game in the playoffs. He can score from the outside. He can rebound, defend and score around the basketball.
Thompson, a former Rider College and South Jersey basketball star, can play in the post. The 6-foot-11, 250-pounder, averaged 9.1 points and 6.9 rebounds a game.
For restricted free agents, teams can match any offer that’s made from other teams.
Kris Humphries is an unrestricted free agent from the Brooklyn Nets. Humphries would be a great addition to the Sixers. He can run the floor, score inside, rebound and play good defense. The 6-foot-9, 235-pounder, averaged 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds a game.
In the backcourt, the Sixers may want to grab a point guard to help the run offense. They could sign a good playmaker that would help their young tandem of Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday like Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks) and Raymond Felton (Portland Trail Blazers).
Lin is a restricted free agent. He exploded onto the NBA scene with his spectacular play this season. Lin came out of nowhere to make a name for himself on the NBA’s biggest stage. He was quite a fan favorite in New York City. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds a game. He missed the playoffs with knee surgery. He could have been a big help to the Knicks in the postseason.
Felton, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, is an unrestricted free agent. He averaged 11.4 points and 6.5 assists a game. Felton would be a solid lead guard.
These are just a few names on the free agent list that should get a lot of attention in the coming months.
Ramone Moore didn’t waste any time preparing for the NBA draft. After Moore graduated from Temple in May, he headed for Houston, Texas, where he has been working out with former NBA coach John Lucas. Moore has been putting his best foot forward in regards to improving his draft position. According to NBAdraft.net’s mock draft, Moore, former Southern basketball star, is listed as a second round pick.
“I saw the mock draft,” Moore said. “I saw where they had me in the second round. I try not to focus on that stuff too much. I’ve been concentrating on my game. I want to do as well as I can in these workouts. That’s the most important thing for me.
“I’ve been working out with J.R. Smith (New York Knicks) and Gerald Green (Brooklyn Nets) down here. We’ve had some other NBA guys, too. John Lucas has really helped me. I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been down here.”
Moore has worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves. He’s coming off an impressive college basketball career on North Broad Street. He was named first-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference. Moore guided Temple to the NCAA tournament this year. He led the Owls in scoring (17.3 ppg) and was the third leading scorer in the league. The 6-foot-4 guard had the ability to score in the open court. He could break his man down off the dribble. Moore’s overall game is certainly suited for the NBA.
In addition to working out, Moore watched his former Owls teammate Lavoy Allen play for the Sixers. Allen played extremely well during the postseason. Moore has been inspired by his play. Allen was not a first round pick. The Sixers chose him in the second round of the draft last year.
“Lavoy did really well,” Moore said. “I saw what he did for the Sixers in the playoffs. It was really nice to see. It was good for him. It was nice for Temple. I was happy for him. It was great to see him get an opportunity to play and do so well.”
Moore still has some work to do as the days get closer to the NBA draft. The draft will be held on June 28. It is possible Moore could hear his name called on that day.
Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets guard and former Villanova star, surprised contestants in the 100 Black men of America’s African-American History Challenge with a gift of $5,000 from his new company, FamJuice. The competition is a highlight of this week’s National 100 Black Men of America’s 26th annual conference in Atlanta. The organization is using the funds to send three student contestants from the Philadelphia area to Atlanta next week to compete in the competition.
NCAA to debut Title IX Anniversary documentary
The NCAA, in conjunction with ESPN and Creative Street Entertainment, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX and recognize individuals who helped shape the ground-breaking equity law with the documentary premiere “Sporting Chance.” The documentary will debut on ESPN2 on June 23, the anniversary date of Title IX, at noon. The one-hour documentary gives the story of the landmark passage of Title IX and how this law has increased opportunities and athletic participation for women over the last 40 years.
Temple football single game tickets on sale Monday, June 18
Single-game tickets for Temple football’s six home games this season will go on sale Monday, June 18 at 10 a.m. Individual game tickets will be available through the Lincoln Financial Field box office and Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
Single-game ticket prices in advance are $20 (end zone), $30 (sideline), and $45 (club level). End zone ticket prices will increase $2 on the day of games. For the game against Rutgers on Oct. 20, ticket prices are $25 (end zone), $35 (sideline) and $50 (club level). For season ticket information go to www.OwlsTix.com.
Temple’s opener with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup is set for August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m. Under the guidance of second-year head coach Steve Addazio, this season’s team returns 35 lettermen, including nine starters.
Lavoy Allen coming to Villanova sports broadcasting camp
Philadelphia 76ers rookie forward and former Temple star Lavoy Allen will be a special guest at the Sports Broadcasting Camp at Villanova on June 20 at 3 p.m. Allen will respond to questions in a simulated press conference with an expected 100 boys and girls, ages 10–18. For more information on the camp, go to www.playbyplaycamps.com.
The Philadelphia 76ers have received some impressive play from several players like Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday. But they haven’t been the only contributors. Lavoy Allen, Sixers rookie forward, has given the team some quality minutes.
Allen, former Temple star, has stepped in and provided the Sixers with a tremendous lift when they needed it the most. With centers Spencer Hawes nursing a strained Achilles and Nikola Vucevic dealing with a strained quad, Allen has been given a chance to get on the floor and display his talent. Doug Collins, Sixers head coach, has been very pleased with Allen, the team’s second round draft choice and the 50th player selected overall in last spring’s NBA draft.
“He’s been a real pleasant surprise for us,” Collins said. “The guys trust him and believe in him. He’s big and strong down there. He’s a very skilled player. Our guys like him on the floor. They really believe in him. That size of him in the paint is a factor. We watch tapes of him. Guys are bouncing off him. He’s a big strong guy. He’s about 260. I would like to get him around 250. He’ll be a little quicker. I don’t think he’s going to lose any of that strength. He’s got a soft shooting touch.”
Prior to Monday’s game against Orlando, Allen has been averaging 19.2 minutes a game over the last five games. He scored 10 points and pulled down six rebounds in a win over the Washington Wizards. Allen had eight points and seven rebounds in last Friday’s victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. He’s averaging 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds a game.
“It feels good just to help my team,” said Allen, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound power forward. “I’m just trying to hold it down until Spencer and Nic come back. It feels good. I’ve been learning all year long from the guys. I feel like my teammates trust me. I’ve been getting rebounds, playing good defense and scoring. My two main jobs are to get rebounds and play good defense. I try to spread the floor and get up and down. That’s what the coaches tell me to do.”
Allen has been doing these things for a long time. It goes back to his playing days at Pennsbury High School in Bucks County. The Morrisville native gradually developed into a standout player with a lot of work on his game. He attended college at Temple, where he was a great four-year player for the Owls.
Allen played in four NCAA tournaments during his college career. He was the first Temple player to average a double-double since Ollie Johnson did it in 1971. He averaged 11.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game his senior year. Allen led the Owls to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Although he plays for the Sixers, Allen has kept in touch with head coach Fran Dunphy and the Temple Owls, a benefit of playing for your hometown team.
“They’re doing pretty well,” Allen said. “They’re putting it all together. I get to visit them every once in a while on my off days. I go down and hang out with the guys.”
Temple is coming off a big win over Saint Joseph’s. This is a huge week for the Owls, but an even bigger week for the Sixers with all the great teams coming into the Wells Fargo Center.
If the Philadelphia 76ers are going to make the playoffs, the team has a lot of work to do after the NBA All-Star break. The Sixers’ latest loss to the Milwaukee Bucks was critically damaging in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Bucks (26-25) are in the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference. With the Sixers dropping a 94-92 decision to the Bucks on Wednesday, they have now fallen four games back. In addition, Milwaukee has beaten the Sixers three times this season, holding the tie-breaker with one game remaining between the teams.
The Sixers have 31 games left in the season. After the All-Star break, the schedule isn’t very kind either. The team faces the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors. With the exception of the Magic and the Timberwolves, all these teams are headed to the playoffs and the Heat are the NBA champions with LeBron James, who will probably win the league’s Most Valuable Player award again this season.
Moreover, the Sixers have just 12 games left at home. So, they’re going to have to play their best basketball on the road. And that’s not easy at this time of the year, when a lot of teams are jockeying for playoff position.
Doug Collins, Sixers’ head coach, will have to find a way to get his team on a serious playoff run. Collins has quite the task in front of him. Of course, everybody has been waiting for 7-foot center Andrew Bynum to play. Bynum has been plagued with bilateral knee bone bruises. He has given various updates on the condition of his knees, but still doesn’t seem to know when he will debut this season.
At this point, the Sixers can’t count on Bynum. Even if he comes back and plays, it’s going to take him a while to get into playing shape. He hasn’t played a game since last spring, when the Los Angeles Lakers were in the playoffs. Jason Richardson, Sixers’ shooting guard, will miss the rest of the season after left knee surgery. Richardson, a veteran and good outside shooter, averaged 10.5 points a game. The Sixers are also playing without small forward Thaddeus Young, who has been rehabbing a left hamstring injury. Young has missed four games. Prior to the injury, Young was having a great season averaging 14.9 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.
Young has been the team’s most consistent player this season, and getting him back healthy will be a big lift.
Jrue Holiday, who will be heading to Houston this weekend for his first NBA all-star appearance, will have to step up even more after the break. Holiday is averaging 17.8 points and 8.9 assists a game. He’s going to have to limit his turnovers and provide some additional leadership in the backcourt. Evan Turner, Sixers’ small forward, is averaging 13.8 points and 5.9 rebounds a game, but Turner is going to have to do more, particularly if Holiday hits a flat spot. Nick Young has to continue to provide some much needed outside shooting. Young is averaging 11.5 points a game and certainly has had some big moments.
The most work needs to come from the frontcourt with Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen. Hawes is averaging 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. Allen is tallying 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. The numbers aren’t a big thing with them. But they have to do a better job of coming up with loose balls and key rebounds. Too many second and third shots have hurt the Sixers.
Overall, defense has been lacking. That’s one thing Collins could always count on last year. Obviously, Andre Iguodala was a big part of that. Iguodala is one of the best defensive players in the league. That’s why the Denver Nuggets will be a team to contend with in the playoffs. But the Sixers need to come with stops first. If they can get some steals and force some turnovers that will improve their scoring.
The Sixers need to get off to a good start, to say the least. They can’t afford a losing streak now.
Andrew Bynum had an adoring public in front of him and beaming management on stage to his right.
The Philadelphia 76ers had thrown open the doors of a press conference to the public and hundreds of fans, longing for a reason to get excited again, came to chant the name of their new superstar. Eager to win over his new supporters, Bynum worked the faithful into a frenzy. Without playing a game for the Sixers, he said he wanted to make Philadelphia his home — and the team was ready to commit.
"Where do I sign?" owner Joshua Harris said. "Show me the contract."
Harris should be glad now he didn't sign any deals in early August.
Those cheers for Bynum were the only ones the 7-foot center has heard 38 games into a season that has the Sixers spiraling from hopeful Atlantic Division contenders toward the NBA draft lottery. With Bynum, the Sixers expected to make a deep run in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Without him, the Sixers are lagging at 16-22 and entered Monday four games behind Boston for the final spot in the East.
The Sixers can't blame all their woes on missing Bynum.
But he sure would help.
"It's hard to say how it's affected us because we haven't played with him," forward Thaddeus Young said.
Bynum has sat out the season because of bone bruises on both his knees. Bynum, an All-Star last year with the Lakers, in on a six-step rehabilitation process that he hopes will get him back into lineup around the Feb. 15 All-Star break. He's worked weights into his rehab and started running on Monday.
He proclaimed his knees pain free.
"They're the best I've had in a long time, so they look really, really good to me," Bynum told reporters Monday after practice.
Again, Bynum had no true timetable for his return, though "around the All-Star break" was the first new range he suggested in weeks. Bynum's potential return date has been in flux since training camp. One day before practice was set to open, the Sixers announced Bynum would be shut down for three weeks as a precaution after he received knee treatment in Germany. Three weeks has turned into three months. He even injured his left knee while bowling.
He participated in shooting drills with assistant coaches Michael Curry and Brian James, as well as head athletic trainer Kevin Johnson on Monday. Bynum cautioned, though, that he still had plenty of rehabilitation left to complete.
"I'm not back. But I'm headed in that direction," he said. "It's all positive."
The 76ers good use a dose of good news. Their 10-6 start has twisted into a 6-16 stretch entering Tuesday's game against New Orleans. The Sixers hope Saturday's win over Houston to open a stretch of 12 home games in the next 13 can be the calming factor that stabilizes their season. Throw in Bynum's return, and the Sixers just might be able to still make a dent in the postseason.
Team president Rod Thorn and general manager Tony DiLeo would love to know Bynum's availability before the Feb. 21 trade deadline. If Bynum hasn't returned, or the Sixers are still scuffling, the front office could look to make more big trades to win down the road.
Bynum, who averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds last season, would be worth the wait if he matched those numbers.
"We've got Andrew Bynum, All-Star," Young said. "He's a great player and we're willing to wait on him each and every day. He's definitely a focal point of what we're trying to do. He's definitely, 'The guy.' I wouldn't rather have anybody else."
Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown haven't come close to filling Bynum's numbers at center. Allen has taken a big step back from his rookie season and is averaging only 6.4 points and 5.3 rebounds. Before their 107-100 win over Houston on Saturday, the Sixers ranked 27th in the NBA in scoring (92.2 points) and have regularly failed to even reach 90 points over the last six weeks. They scored more than 89 points for the first time in six games against the Rockets.
Not exactly what CEO Adam Aron expected when he touted at Bynum's arrival, "The Sixers are once again the talk of the town."
The Sixers have lost 13 of their last 17 games but a soft slate of games this week against New Orleans and Toronto could help turn that around.
The struggles haven't fractured the locker room under coach Doug Collins, and the tight unit has bounced back from swoons before.
"We're not going to splinter," Collins said, "not as long as I'm the coach."
DiLeo has repeatedly said he would make the Bynum trade again. What else would he say? Bynum is in the final year of his contract and would love nothing more to return to help the Sixers win and prove he's healthy enough to merit a $100-plus million deal in the summer.
Lost in the shuffle of the Sixers dumping Elton Brand, Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala was their decision to send Nikola Vucevic to Orlando as part of the four-team Bynum trade. Vucevic fell out of Collins' rotation at the end of last season and played in only one of their 13 playoff games. The 7-footer is sixth in the NBA in rebounds (11.0) and is making only $1.76 million — scraps compared to the $16.75 million Bynum will earn this season.
Bynum is eligible for a five-year contract after July 1, once he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Sixers can offer Bynum more years and money than any other team. With good reason, they want to know what kind of Bynum is on the market: The L.A. All-Star or the Sixers' Sidelined Center. -- (AP)
There are a lot of new faces on the Philadelphia 76ers roster this season. The Sixers also have some familiar faces as well.
Evan Turner is one of them.
Turner will be entering his third season, and this should be a big year for him. Although the Sixers returning players Thaddeus Young, Jrue Holiday, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen should provide some guidance and direction, Turner will have to exhibit some leadership skills as well.
“I think the most important is the guys looking forward to lead,” Turner said. “We have some new guys looking for direction. We have some leaders who are willing to listen.”
Turner, 23, was selected by the Sixers with the second pick overall in the 2010 NBA draft out of Ohio State. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound guard, has shown improvement each year. As a rookie, he averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists a game. Last season, he tallied 9.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists. But Turner really took his game to another level in the postseason averaging 12.8 points and 7.9 rebounds a contest.
The Sixers defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs in six games. After that, they gave the Boston Celtics all they could handle in the Eastern Conference semifinals before losing in seven games. Turner had a chance to gain some meaningful experience in the playoffs.
“It obviously helped me going up against Hall of Fame guards in every series,” Turner said. “That was key for myself and Jrue. We know what to expect now. We know what type of level we have to crank it up to.”
With the addition of all-star center Andrew Bynum (currently recovering from a bone bruise) and shooting guard Jason Richardson, the Sixers have added a lot of depth. But gone is all-star guard Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets, which should open the door for Turner in regards to his development. He spent a lot of time working on his game during the offseason.
“It’s an establishing year,” Turner said. “I’ve got to earn my minutes. I’ve got to earn the right to play and from there try to crank it up a notch.”
Aaron McKie, Sixers assistant coach, has seen Turner put in a great deal of time to improve his game.
“Evan sets the standards high for himself,” McKie said. “Sometimes I worry whether he’s putting too much pressure on himself where some things you have to let happen. But I like that in a guy because he really wants it. He wants to be a leader. He wants to be the guy and it’s a process, but that’s the process he’s willing to take on.”
Turner recently displayed some leadership skills at the “What It Takes 8” program, which was held at the National Constitution Center, Fifth and Arch streets. He got a chance to speak to a number of Philadelphia students.
“I think the youth is the way,” Turner said. “I was one of those kids sitting in the seats trying to learn from a successful person. It’s all about giving back most of that stuff goes a long way. I’m all for giving back and investing in the youth. I was glad I was asked to do it.”
Turner will lead the Sixers in their first preseason game against the Orlando Magic from the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. The Sixers first preseason game at home will be on Oct. 15 against the Boston Celtics at 7 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — Andre Iguodala snapped a tie game with five straight points in the final 90 seconds to help the Philadelphia 76ers storm back from 15 points down in the first half and stun the Boston Celtics 92-83 on Friday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The young Sixers were a team reborn in the second half and played like a squad that refused to roll over for the championship-tested Celtics.
"I don't even know where to start," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "Our guys are pretty amazing. They really are."
The Sixers tied the series at 2-2 with the huge comeback and guaranteed a return home for one more game.
Iguodala, one of the more maligned athletes in recent Philadelphia history, put the Sixers ahead 85-83 with a step-back jumper and buried a 3-pointer for a five-point lead.
Game 5 is Monday in Boston.
Iguodala scored 16 points, Evan Turner had 16 and Lou Williams added 15.
Kevin Garnett had his first bad outing in an otherwise monster series with nine points. With Garnett in a funk, so were the Celtics.
The Sixers just kept attacking, turning a first half of airballs, botched dunks and sloppy defense into a full-blown display of near-flawless basketball.
Thaddeus Young's thunderous slam tied the game at 63 in the middle of the fourth. And when Jodie Meeks drained a 3-pointer on the Sixers' next trip down the court for Philadelphia's first lead 20,000 fans stomped their feet and unleashed two hours of pent-up jubilation.
Williams hounded Paul Pierce and forced a turnover, fed the ball to a streaking Turner for a dunk and put the lead at 68-65.
It was that kind of hustle that brought the Sixers back.
After Garnett blocked a Lavoy Allen shot, Young snagged the ball out of the air and score to make it 74-all.
Game 4 came down to young legs, fresh enthusiasm and untested big-game experience vs. aging, championship-tested stars fighting for another title.
Give the edge to the Sixers.
Iguodala, who has been branded as the face of a mediocre franchise over his eight seasons, has changed that talk with a clutch postseason. He sank the winning free throws in Game 6 to finish off the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round.
And it was Iguodala who finished off the Celtics in Game 4.
Pierce had 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists. Garnett, who turns 36 on Saturday, missed nine of 12 shots. The Celtics look primed for a blowout victory after the first 10 minutes of the game. They hold out hope a trip back to Boston can make them forget about this collapse.
"Coming out of halftime they came out more physical, and we got into that instead of playing basketball. We lost our composure," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
Philadelphia CEO Adam Aron tweeted at the break, "This will have to be one of the best come backs ever for the (at)Sixers."
Down 15 at the half, the under-25 crew found their spark, their legs and their shooting touch to crank up the pressure on the Celtics.
Williams hit a 3, Iguodala hit a 3, and Williams converted a three-point play to make it 58-54. Williams stood on the free-throw line with the widest smile of anyone in the building and calmly sank the deficit-slicing free throw.
Meeks, a starter-turned-sub, stole an errant pass and went all the way for his first bucket of the game to make it 63-59 at the end of the quarter.
Philadelphia's 10 baskets in the third were one more than their total for the entire half and their 28 points were three shy off their halftime total.
"We're just going to keep fighting," Collins said. "That's what we do."
The Sixers had vowed they would be a more determined team after the veteran Celtics dismantled and demoralized them on their home court in Game 3.
The Sixers said after their 16-point loss in Game 3 that they would return more focused in preventing another hot Celtics start that took them out of the game and sucked the atmosphere out of the Wells Fargo Center.
The Celtics squashed that attitude before thousands of fans had taken their seats moments after the opening tip.
Pierce and Avery Bradley hit 3-pointers, Garnett hit a pull-up 20-footer and the Celtics raced to a 14-0 lead only 3½ minutes into the game.
The Sixers truly couldn't find their footing. Young bounced the ball off his sneaker on a drive down the lane, and Pierce converted on the other end for an 18-3 lead.
The Celtics could never find that extra scoring boost to truly put away the Sixers. Rondo, Garnett and Ray Allen all had quiet first 24 minutes and the Celtics let the lead drop to seven.
Rondo scored an uncontested bucket coming out of a timeout to end the half and put the Celtics up 46-31.
"That was probably the worst we could shoot," Iguodala said. "They were playing as good as they could play and we were shooting poorly."
Notes: The 76ers head to Boston 2-8 over their last 10 road postseason games. ... The Sixers haven't won a playoff series when they trailed 2-1 since 2001. -- (AP)
The Philadelphia 76ers have just 22 games left in a season that can only be described as disappointing, to say the least. The Sixers have a lot of decisions to make in the coming months.
Of course, the biggest one is surrounding Andrew Bynum, the 7-foot, 285-pound center, who hasn’t played at all this season because of knee injuries. Bynum is an unrestricted free agent. The Sixers have to decide whether he’s worth the risk of being signed to a contract.
Bynum is not obligated to come back to the Sixers, and could get a contract with another team that’s willing to take a chance on those injured knees. If the Sixers decide to let him walk, they’d better start looking for his replacement. The two most likely candidates to give the team some frontcourt help would be Al Jefferson (Utah Jazz) or Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks). The Sixers will have money available to sign one of them if Bynum doesn’t come back next season.
Whatever happens in the coming months, the Sixers have to make the right decision. The next bad decision will set this organization back several years. Right now, the Bynum trade looks really bad.
In case you haven’t noticed, former Sixer Nikola Vucevic has been playing out of his mind for the Orlando Magic. He just had 25 points and 21 rebounds in a 97-96 loss to the NBA champion Miami Heat on Wednesday. And this wasn’t a fluke, either. Vucevic dumped 20 points and 29 rebounds on Miami earlier this season.
A week ago, when the Sixers lost to the Magic, Vucevic had 12 points and 19 rebounds. That night Spencer Hawes had one rebound and Lavoy Allen had two. Vucevic is averaging 12.3 points and 11.4 rebounds a game. He was a major departure in the trade that brought Bynum to town. If he were still here, the Sixers would be in a position to land a spot in the playoffs. Believe it or not, Vucevic, a 7-foot, 240-pounder, could be considered the best or certainly one of the best centers currently in the NBA Eastern Conference. Sometimes you have to show a little patience.
Andre Iguodala has been playing some great basketball for the Denver Nuggets. People here simply didn’t understand the value of Iguodala. He wasn’t a great shooter. If you saw him play in college, you could see that right away. At Arizona, he caught lob passes from Mustafa Shakur, former Friends’ Central star, who was the team’s point guard.
Iguodala was a great leaper who could get to the basket and was explosive in the open court. Moreover, he was a tremendous defensive player. He played the other team’s top scorers like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce, to name a few. The Sixers miss his defense and athleticism. The 6-foot-6, 207-pounder, is averaging 13.0 points, 5.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds a game this season.
The Nuggets are fifth in the Western Conference standings with a 40-22 record. Denver just beat the Oklahoma City Thunder two weeks ago. They could be a dangerous team in the playoffs.
Then there is Lou Williams, the Sixers’ leading scorer last year. They didn’t need to let him go. The Sixers already had a scorer right here. Williams, a 6-foot-1, 175-pounder, really embraced the sixth man role. He just needed a better contract. And you know what? He’s worth it. Prior to his season-ending knee injury, Williams was averaging 14.1 points, 3.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds a game for the Atlanta Hawks.
The Sixers have their work cut out for them. They’re going to have to make some key decisions. And the first one starts with Bynum.