Andre Iguodala took part in the NBA playoffs during his rookie year with the 76ers in 2004-05.
Iguodala has a burning desire to return to the postseason, something the Sixers will do unless they suffer a New York Mets-type collapse.
"I just want to get in, and it doesn't matter who we play, even if it's a team from Mars," Iguodala said after a light shooting workout and film session yesterday at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Entering tonight's game in New Jersey, the seventh-place Sixers (37-37) are six games ahead of the ninth-place Nets (31-43) with eight to play for both teams. The Atlanta Hawks (34-40) and Indiana Pacers (31-43) are also trailing the Sixers in the Eastern Conference race.
They have a big lead, but the Sixers have lost two in a row - Friday against Phoenix (107-93) and Sunday in Cleveland (91-88) - for the first time since the first week of February.
Iguodala realizes that even a few losses could put a dent in a team's collective confidence.
"Confidence can be really fragile," he said. "I think it's good when Coach [Maurice Cheeks] - he's not the screamer - kind of helps guys out in that area, saying, 'Don't lose confidence. You are doing some things right.' "
Still, the Sixers realize they have done some things wrong in the last two games.
"We just have to fix some things and we'll be back on track," Iguodala said.
After the Cleveland loss, some of the players talked about how the Sixers might have been feeling a little too good about themselves after a stretch during which they won 19 of 24 games.
Iguodala said if the players lost their focus at times on Friday and Sunday, the two losses should have straightened that out.
And Cheeks remains the eternal optimist. He said he didn't see any complacency against Cleveland.
"I thought [Sunday's] game was a very focused game for us," he said. "I think everything we did, with the exception of the fastbreak, we did very precisely."
The Sixers outscored Cleveland, 18-15, in fastbreak points after owning a 14-2 advantage at halftime. When the Sixers won in Cleveland, 92-86, on Dec. 15, they outscored the Cavs by 35-17 in fastbreak points.
Now the Sixers look to regroup, treating the New Jersey matchup and the remaining seven contests as if they were playoff games.
Sitting Smith. Sunday marked the first time this season that rookie Jason Smith did not play when he was healthy. The rookie forward has seen his playing time decrease lately, but Cheeks said he had no preconceived notion to not play Smith.
"I just wanted to keep Sam [Dalembert] on the floor because he played a heck of a game," Cheeks said.
Dalembert played 40 minutes, 10 seconds and had 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.
Cheeks used Calvin Booth as a backup for only 3 minutes, 22 seconds, saying he believed Booth was a taller defender against Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds.
For his part, Smith took the situation well.
"It was for the best of the team," he said. "We were playing pretty well and were right there with them the whole game."
Green still trying. Willie Green said he took 300 to 400 extra shots yesterday in an attempt to snap out of his funk. The shooting guard has connected on 13 of 61 field-goal attempts in his last six games.
Cheeks said he was not thinking of a lineup change regarding Green, although the guard played only 19:15 against Cleveland.
"Sometimes it's good to go through these little slumps, and [it] tests what you are made of," Green said. "For me, it's about getting out of it and being aggressive and confident."