In both games this season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 76ers have lost. The first game at home was a disaster, with the Sixers giving up a big late lead (we've heard that enough this season). The second game was on the road, a game the Sixers really should have won.
"They’ve owned us, twice," said Sixers coach Doug Collins after today's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Embedded in this post should be a post of the end of today's practice, specifically of the guards going through a shooting drill and even more specifically of rookie Evan Turner. As Lou Williams said today, Turner is still smiling and having fun -- as evidenced at the end of the video -- so he's not too worried about the guy.
Considering how well the Sixers have played in the last two weeks, tomorrow night's game at the Wells Fargo Center should -- and let's repeat that word once again, should -- result in the team's fifth consecutive home victory and fifth win in the last five games. The Sixers are currently 5-4 at home and 1-10 on the road.
The big difference the team has going for them right now is the addition of Jodie Meeks to the starting lineup -- something that every Sixers' fan is clearly aware of.
"It’s a huge plus for us," Williams said of Meeks' play. "I’d be lying if I said I was expecting Jodie to be in the position that he is right now. But I think it’s a great thing for him and it’s a great thing for us."
"Teams really have to watch him when he’s coming off of a curl," said Andre Iguodala. "They take it for granted he’s going to knock down the shot."
All season, the Sixers have been looking for that fifth starter. At first it was Jason Kapono, who could spread the floor, but who wasn't a threat going to the basket and who was a liability on the defensive end. Then it was Andres Nocioni, but he wasn't a guy that could hurt you coming off of those screens and in some ways his game overlapped a little with the other guys on the floor. Also, Nocioni's minutes usually hover in the 15-22 minute range. Then it was Turner, who provided some rebounding at first, but whose offense proved non-existent when coupled with Iguodala.
Now, with Meeks, the team doesn't have a crippling weakness in that fifth starter position. The Sixers certainly aren't good enough yet to be competing with top tier teams, but in a home game against the Cavaliers, the Sixers have most likely found a lineup that gives them just enough of everything and limits the potential of a dud game.
Collins said Meeks' game mostly aids the games of Brand and Iguodala.
"Jrue is going to get a lot of his stuff pushing the ball. With Dre, it gives him spacing to penetrate the ball and with Elton it gives him spacing in the post," Collins said. "Our spacing is better. He’s really the one guy that we have that can come flying off those screens and make shots. So he gives us another dimension now."
Added Collins: "The only thing I feel like we’re lacking right now is just the belief, on the road, to finish games."
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