'Tuned out' Sixers stay locked in defensively

It appears that while most were focusing on the gossipy stuff surrounding the 76ers last week, others were more focused on what has been an almost unprecedented defensive performance by the Sixers during this campaign.

While the Sixers have were reportedly ‘tuning out’ coach Doug Collins in the month of March, this tuned out group continued to stay locked in defensively, a trait that most NBA coaches with tuned in players would give their left arm for if they could get this type of effort from their players.

Not only do they still lead the NBA with the fewest points allowed per game (88.2), but, according to Neil Payne over at ESPN.com, the Sixers still lead the league with the fewest points allowed per 100 possessions (98.). They have led the league in this statistical category since the season began, a feat that has only been accomplished nine times since 1986.

On the season, the Sixers have given up just 5,117 points. That’s the fewest points in franchise history through 58 games since the introduction of the shot clock in the 1954-55 season.

The Sixers have done this without the presence of a legitimate shot blocker all season. The key, according to writer Neil Paine (basketball-reference.com, has been the Sixers’ ability to keep teams out of the paint (Collins says this all the time) and forcing opponents  to take more mid-range jumpers (a long-lost art in the NBA).

It’s a good read, one that goes into specifics about what the Sixers have done defensively, and it looks at some interesting numbers. Unfortunately, in order to ready it you’re going to have to join espn.com as an “Insider.”

Imagine how good these numbers might be if the players hadn’t already, er, tuned out the guy?

Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow him on Twitter @JmitchInquirer