Tuesday, March 8, 2011
[SI.com] The Sixers are an East-best-tying 12-4 over the last 16 games, they are arguably the deepest team in the conference and they have a versatile shutdown defender in Andre Iguodala, who also has performed with the command and efficiency of a point guard since coach Doug Collins flipped him the keys to the offense last month. The center tandem of Spencer Hawes and Marreese Speights is the weak link in the rotation, but the length and quickness of their wing and perimeter players (including Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner, as well as Iguodala) often compensates. Everyone gets out in transition -- their controlled, three-quarter-speed fast break is superb -- and their interior passing is a real advantage against weak defenses, as Golden State discovered Sunday. If the trends continue -- the Heat, Hawks and Magic fragile, the Sixers steadily improving -- Philadelphia could become a first-round dark horse.
Folks, this team is officially good. No, they aren't great, but they don't have to be. As SI.com writer Britt Robson says above, there isn't a team in the East that wants to play them right now. They are deep (they seem to consistently have at least six guys in double figures each night) and are playing the kind of team basketball that isn't flashy but sure is effective. Our ballers are 14-4 in their last 18 games, including victories against playoffs teams like the Spurs, Knicks, Hawks and Nuggets. And while the fans haven't necessary come back yet, as the John Smallwood pointed out today, they will if this keeps up. Philadelphia doesn't want flash, we want winners. If the Sixers keep this up, especially in their next two games against the Thunder and Celtics, people will notice.
They'd be silly not to.
[photo courtesy Michael Conroy/AP]