Archive: December, 2012
The rotation is still the biggest question 76ers coach Doug Collins has about his team.
Saturday, before the 14-16 Sixers took on the Portland Trail Blazers, Collins said that Royal Ivey will be a steady member in his rotation right now, as he likes the toughness Ivey brings at the defense end, particularly guarding the opposing point guard the complete length of the floor. What that means is someone in the trio of Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright and Nick Young is probably going to see a dip in playing time.
“We need to find some consistency,” said Collins. “When we get seven or eight guys playing well, we’re a pretty good team. We have struggled to do that, for whatever reason.
Before each and every game there is a white board in the Sixers' locker room that shows the other team's starting lineup and key reserves, with some stats and percentages added. Next to that is a list of they keys to that game - what the Sixers must do, in the eyes of the coaches, to win that particular contest.
The No. 1 key posted on the board before Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors was to rebound the basketball. Granted, for a smallish and non-physical team like the Sixers, that is a high priority for most games. And in Wednesday's win against Memphis, they carried that plan out against one of the toughest front lines in the league and wound up with a nice road win.
Friday, they weren't so good on the boards, despite the white board warning. Golden State posted a 52-43 advantage on the glass, and it was crucial in the Warriors posting a 96-89 win. Golden State was very conscious of getting back on defense, as they would send as many as four guys back to the defensive end when a shot was taken. Problem for the Sixers was, on numerous occassions, that one rebounder out-huslted the Sixers to the ball and kept a possession alive, often resulting in points.In the decisive second quarter, when the Warriors outscored the Sixers 32-18, they won the rebounding battle by 15-9.
Before tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors, coach Doug Collins said he wasn’t sure if Jason Richardson, sidelined with a strained back against Memphis on Wednesday, was going to be able to play.
A couple of minutes later, when I saw Richardson in the locker room after he warmed up, he said he was good to go. If he doesn’t play it’s probably because Collins wants him to get another day of working out in before the team faces Portland on Saturday night.
Collins was also asked about the play of point guard Jrue Holiday and whether or not he thinks his point guard deserves to be among those mentioned as possible All-Stars.
Although he said all the politically correct things, Dorell Wright was dying for more playing time — or at least a clearer picture of what his role was on his new team.
Originally seen by 76ers coach Doug Collins as a key, versatile figure to come off the bench, Wright was thrust into the starting lineup early in the season when Jason Richardson sprained an ankle. When Richardson returned, Wright went back to the bench and, for some reason, struggled with his shooting, which led to his overall game suffering. He went on an eight-game stretch during which he made only nine of 37 shots. Worse, he became hesitant to shoot the ball, instead relying too much on a pump fake and then taking the ball to the basket, where his decision-making wasn’t the best.
All the while, his minutes dwindled. Collins knew that playing time was the only way for Wright to work through his slump. Still, Collins had to try to win games with his best players on the floor. And quite frankly, Wright wasn’t one of them at the time.
No one wants injuries to happen — not players, coaches or fans. But when they do, opportunities arise. And while the situation might not be ideal, a door opening is always welcomed.
That has been the case for 76ers swingman Dorell Wright. Point guard Jrue Holiday missed his fourth straight game Wednesday with a sprained foot. In the three games before Wednesday’s contest with the Houston Rockets, Wright had played between 26 and 30 minutes a game, a huge leap from any other time during the season. And it’s no coincidence that his game is coming back to form.
His defense has gotten to where it was at the beginning of the season, when coach Doug Collins could rely on him to cover anyone from small forwards to centers. He has found his shooting touch again, demonstrated Tuesday in Dallas when he hit seven three pointers and scored a season-high 25.
Patience is not a virtue that Sixers point guard Jrue Holliday possesses. Actually, few 22-year-olds do. That’s where parents, and in Holiday’s case coach Doug Collins, come into play.
Holiday begrudgingly missed his third-straight game Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks, though he appears to be doing everything he can to convince Collins, the trainers, and even himself that his sprained left foot is healed enough for him to be out there battling with teammates. Coach and trainer Kevin Johnson have the final word, however, and that word was “no.”
“Maybe tomorrow,” Collins said of Holiday’s possible return referring to the team’s game in Houston on Wednesday. Collins said it with a bit of a sparkle in his eye and a knowing nod with his head. When Collins was a player, he had foot problems and his ability to play with pain was brought into question. So Collins pushed through the pain and played far below the level he expected of himself and ultimately wound up blowing out a knee as he was compensating his running style to ease the pain on his feet. That explains why he is in no hurry to rush his star point guard back to the floor.
Video: The 76ers came up short in a 111-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Sunday. The Daily News' Bob Cooney broke down the disappointing loss.
Andrew Bynum was in a good mood. Perhaps it was because a bunch of his old teammates from the Los Angeles Lakers were in town. Or peerhaps, as he said, his bothersome left knee is feeling much better.
Later this week Bynum will have a checkup with his doctor, during which time and MRI may or may not be performed on both of his knees. Whatever happens, though, Bynum is look for just one thing - "hopefully I'm cleared for impact."
Former teammates made their way into the Sixers locker room before the game after the media was cleared, probably stoppoing by to see their former running mate.