Monday, August 31, 2015

Uh-oh: 'We just can't figure [the Raptors] out'

Within the visitor's locker room inside Air Canada Centre on the streets of downtown Toronto, Andre Miller sat watching as the game film of the 76ers opening game against the Raptors flickered across a screen in the corner.

Uh-oh: 'We just can't figure [the Raptors] out'

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Within the visitor's locker room inside Air Canada Centre on the streets of downtown Toronto, Andre Miller sat watching as the game film of the 76ers opening game against the Raptors flickered across a screen in the corner.

The taped game, the season opener, ended with Toronto walking out of the Wachovia Center, 95-84 winners. That was on Oct. 29. In the two weeks since, the Sixers have, somehow, managed to look worse than they did on that opening night.

Would it be to the Sixers advantage to be playing the Raptors again, and so soon? No. Not really. Had Miller found anything on the game tape that might help? No. Not really.

"I don't think we've ever beaten this team," Miller said. "They are one of the teams we just can't figure out."

Is it their ability to spread shooters (read: Jason Kapono) around the court?

"It's a mixture of stuff that they work with. Bosh, shooters, good offense."

For a man of few words, this was as much as he would say. Let's look at the facts. Miller was wrong, the Sixers have beaten the Raptors: On Jan. 19 of last season, a 99-95 Sixers' win. But, Miller is right, it must feel as if the Sixers haven't: Toronto has won four of the last five meetings.

That's bad news for a team that is struggling to find exactly what brand (no pun intended) of basketball it is going to play this season. Will it be the transition team we saw last night in the third quarter against the Jazz? Or the stagnant, turnover-prone version we witnessed the other three quarters?

The idea, anyway, is that it should be the transition team. That's the philosophy.

Here's a look at tonight's matchup: Sixers (2-5) vs. Raptors (4-3)

Sixers starters: Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert

Raptors starters: Chris Bosh, Jermaine O'Neal, Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon.

Last night I outlined three goals I believed the Sixers needed to hit to beat the Jazz. While I still think those hold true, I don't think the numbers need to be as strict because I believe Utah a better team than Toronto. Meaning, if the Sixers stay under 15 turnovers, shoot 38.0 percent from three and score about 14-16 points in transition, they should win this game. But, let's face it, right now the key for this team is Andre Iguodala. Scrap all the other "points of emphasis." If Iguodala plays like he did for much of last season (22 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, four steals ... yes I'm aware those numbers are slightly inflated) this team will win.

--Kate

 

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About this blog

Keith Pompey has been an Inquirer reporter since September 2004 and took over the Sixers beat in the summer of 2013 after covering Temple basketball and football for the previous three years.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
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