Monday, December 29, 2014

Sixers look to break out against Utah tonight

The Sixers host the Utah Jazz tonight, two nights after setting a record at the Wells Fargo Center for poorest shooting performance on that floor. It might not get easier against the Jazz.

Sixers look to break out against Utah tonight

Sixers´ head coach Doug Collins calls plays against the Pistons during the third quarter. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Sixers' head coach Doug Collins calls plays against the Pistons during the third quarter. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

Often times there are specific reasons when a team goes out and lays an egg, much the way the Sixers did in Wednesday's blowout loss to the Detroit Pistons. Usually the culprit is bad defense or poor shooting or an inability to take care of the basketball. But for the Sixers on Wednesday, it was the worst case scenario that led to the 18-point loss to the previously winless Pistons. They just didn't seem to try.

Detroit, with a bulking front line, beat up on the smaller Sixers, outrebounding them by 19 and scoring 14 more points in the paint than the home team.

It might not be much easier against the Jazz tonight. Utah possesses a toughness that is left over from the days when Jerry Sloan was the coach. Coach Doug Colllins loves to tell the story of how Sloan relayed to his players that they should "committ 60 fouls and the refs will call 30." It is precisely the rough style that gives the Sixers fits.

Without Andrew Bynum and wit Kwame Brown limited by a calf injury, though it appears he will start tonight, Collins has no formidable size down low. That will be a huge advantage for Utah as it boasts a front line that includes Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, all big, strong, physical players. Somehow the Sixers are going to have to find a way to at least keep even with the Jazz on the boards.

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If they can do that it would allow them to get out and run and perhaps create some easy baskets or at least some trips to the foul line. In the loss to Detroit, the Sixers were able to scored just 11 fast break points.

Also, obviously, the team has to shoot the ball better than the 29.8 percent it posted on Wednesday. But more than anything, the energy level has to be boosted far higher than it showed at any point on Wednesday.

Bob Cooney
About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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