The 76ers preseason closes tonight with a 7:30 game against the New Jersey Nets. Considering it's the opening game of the World Series, all eyes might not be on East Rutherford's Izod Center. But we'll do what we can.
The glaring question after last night's loss to the Cavaliers? From where will the Sixers get some outside shooting? Last night (a 91-83 loss), the Sixers went 0 for 9 from three.
Let's break it down: Thaddeus Young (0-3), Andre Iguodala (0-2), Andre Miller (0-1), Willie Green (0-1), Lou Williams (0-1), Kareem Rush (0-1).
The scary thing, looking at those numbers, is you can't look at any of those efforts and say, "Well that's an anomaly." The one missing piece from the outside-shooting equation was Donyell Marshall, who picked up a DNP last night, but who made 5 for 7 in the previous preseason game. You could also look at Rush's 0 for 1 and expect more as the season progresses. Through five preseason games, Rush, who was acquired to boost the Sixers outside shooting woes (last in the NBA last season), is 2 for 10.
Cheeks said he would "like to see him hit more, that's for sure," and then acknowledged that shooting is a different entity, and shooters often go through periods when they don't make.
"I'm not the one to help mechanics on a three-point shot," joked Cheeks, never known for his three-point shooting prowess.
But Rush has been working on his shot ad nauseum. After shootarounds, after practice, before the games ...
You could also look at Young's 0 for 3 and expect him to make at least one of those.
After last night's game, looking ahead to tonight, Cheeks made it clear his main goal is to leave East Rutherford's Izod Center (I just love that it's sponsored by Izod) without injury. After tonight, the Sixers will have one week of practice before opening the regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 29 against the Raptors.
But, after that goal -- coming unscatched through tonight's 48 minutes -- the objective will be to continue to work on the flow of the rotation, the offense through Elton Brand, the "game-like" minutes.
Sam Dalembert, right knee contusion/sprain, will be on the bench again. I would expect veteran center Theo Ratliff to start in Dalembert's place, but rookie Marreese Speights to get the majority of the minutes.
The real question is: What will be Cheeks' rotation. He keeps saying he won't force a 12-man rotation (nor should he). It seems Royal Ivey is on the outside looking in ... Rush, also, doesn't appear to have earned himself much court time ... What about Willie Green?
I don't think those questions will be answered tonight, but we'll get a few insights.
Photos: The first is the outside of the Izod Center (Izod, that's just awesome). The second is the floor of the Izod Center. There's something nice about an empty gymnasium.
Be back later ...
Post-script: Don't forget about the Phillies game. They're in the World Series.