Practice update: Allen Iverson (personal reasons) and Jason Kapono (migraine) both missed practice today. Iverson is listed as a game-time decision for tomorrow's game against the Chicago Bulls. When asked if he thought Iverson would be available, Eddie Jordan said he wasn't sure. No more details were provided on the reason for Iverson's absence.
Since the 76ers are halfway through their "10-game playoff series" (as designated by Jordan, speaking of the 10 games heading into the All-Star break) this seemed like a good time to check the progress and update all other Sixers topics.
For those of you not stalking all things Sixers, Jordan said after the Dallas Mavericks win that the team would be treating the remaining 10 games before the break as a playoff series and that, as a motivational tool, winning the series would require having a winning record -- minimum of 6 wins in that span. Here's where they are so far: WIN over the Indiana Pacers, LOSS to the Indiana Pacers, LOSS to the Milwaukee Bucks, LOSS to the Los Angeles Lakers, WIN over the New Jersey Nets. So far 2-3. Before the game against New Jersey, I asked Jordan if the team was still using the 10-game playoff series as a motivational tool. He said "Sometimes we emphasize it, sometimes we don't, but it's certainly a game plan for us. We're a little bit behind in it, but it's still a motivational piece for us." Here's what remains on the schedule: vs. Chicago Bulls, at New Orleans Hornets, at Houston Rockets, vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, at Toronto Raptors.
Here are a few more updates on items I know came into question during Sunday night's 83-79 win over the New Jersey Nets.
1 & 2) Rodney Carney playing 10 minutes in the first half, going 4 for 5 with 9 points and 4 rebounds, and then only playing the last few seconds of the game. Jrue Holiday starting and then playing only 8 minutes, 50 seconds and not starting the second half or playing in the second half.
Here's what came out of today's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. First, Jordan's response when asked if he feels no obligated to play a guy in the second half, even if he's played well in the first ...
No, no I don’t." And then Jordan paused and asked if the question was in regards to Jrue Holiday not playing at all in the second half. Then Jordan continued, "There are different circumstances for the situation. I was relying on those guys to make plays, for some reason I just didn’t want Jrue in the game at that time."
Jordan: "I like what Jrue has done at some points when he starts, but as the game goes along it just depends on how I feel about who I want to put in."
Jordan was then directly asked about Carney not getting second-half minutes. Jordan said, "I was really looking for Thad to break through a little bit. That’s why he played the three and Dre played the two."
For the record, Young played 5 minutes, 42 seconds in the second half of Sunday's game. He checked into the game with 1:28 left in the third quarter, checked out with 8:08 left in the fourth quarter. He sat the rest of the fourth, checking in for the last 22.1 seconds.
Carney said he figured he wouldn't play in the second half: "Second quarter I played pretty good, but in the second half I kind of figured he was going to play the starters a little more because we were back in the game and he trusts the starters and that’s what he went with. We have to trust what he says and what he does."
3.) Again -- and this is becoming almost a daily topic -- Jordan addressed his rotations, or his lack of rotations. Asked if the lack of continuity affected players, Jordan said: "They have to find a way to do it. It’s their job to rotate in, nothing is really set in stone. It’s part of their job. It’s not really easy to come off the bench, no matter how good you are, but our group in the second quarter in New Jersey was phenomenal … they have to get used to doing it."
4.) The New Jersey game. Anyone who watched that game, especially the second half, knows it was a poorly played game, perhaps the ugliest game I've seen in a long time. If there's one thing Allen Iverson always does -- much to his credit -- he calls a spade a spade. He seemed disappointed, and rightfully so, after that game, especially given the way the Sixers had played against the Los Angeles Lakers two nights before. He said it was frustrating, playing that way, and they had to figure out how to not drop their play from game to game. Much the same thing came from Elton Brand, who said afterwards, essentially, no disrespect to the Nets, but you can't lose to a franchise with 4 wins.
Today, when asked if the close call against a team that's 4-42 might serve as a wake up call (although it's awfully late in the season for a wake up call), Jordan said "The game that we just won was a wakeup call? I thought they’ve improved – the Nets have improved. A win is a win is a win."
That's true, especially when you only have 16 of them.
We talked to Thaddeus Young today about coming off the bench and about his outside shot/shooting struggles. Here's a string of quotes from Young: "It’s very hard sitting there watching entire first quarters, second quarters, third quarters, or however many minutes I sit in a row, but like I said I can only control what I can."
"It’s harder that way to start off the game sitting there watching and then have to come in and try to get warmed up. Every time I come in the game, the first two or three plays, somebody scores on me because I’m not warmed up."
"This is just not a good shooting year for me. I’m just trying to get back to what I was doing last year."
"Before the season Randy [Ayers] worked with me all the time. I told him I was fine, the way I was shooting, but still he chose to work on it a little bit."