Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Attendance or not, Sixers excitement keeps building

After a long weekend of a great family event, the baptism of my son, I was tired and happy to sit back down on my butt and watch some sports.  It is championship week and there is a ton of college basketball on.  I did watch Villanova let go of a 16 point half-time lead and lose to USF 70-69.  I also caught the Flyers ending a four game skid with a 4-1 victory over Edmonton.  With all of the channel flipping, the game I was stuck on was the Sixers.  I know I said it before, but the Sixers have really gotten me back into the NBA this season.

The Sixers went into Indiana on Tuesday night and dominated the game from start to finish.  It did get a little too close for comfort at the end of the game with the Pacers pulling to within eight points, but the Sixers fended the Pacers off for a 110-100 win.  It was their third win in a row and they are now 8-2 in their last 10 games.  They sit a 33-30 and a half a game behind the Knicks.  The Igoudola story continues, he followed up a triple double in a win over the Warriors with a double / double 16 point 10 assist performances.  All five starters finished with double digit points, Brand 12, Iguodala 16, Hawes 12, Meeks 15 and Holiday 16.  Off the bench, Young and Turner made nice contributions of 18 and 10 respectively.

I am beginning to believe that with the team style basketball that Doug Collins has implemented, the Sixers could be a sleeper come playoff time.  There are injuries in Boston, they were depending on Shaq to play extended minutes when the playoffs come, but an Achilles injury to an older 7'2 center is not easy to overcome.  The Heat have lost 4 in a row and still have not figured out how to play together with all of that talent.  They did however learn to bond over tears in the locker room.  Orlando's coach, Stan Van Gundy is so busy preparing his team that he can listen to Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN and make fun of them in the press for picking on the Heat.  It just seems to me that at a time when NBA teams should be gelling and prepping for a playoff run the top teams in the East are distracted and are falling apart.

This leaves the door open for a well coached team oriented squad such as the Sixers.  Since starting the season 5-13 in October and November, the Sixers are 28-17.  They have improved every month, December 8-7, January 8-6, February 9-3 and March 3-1, so far. 

The Sixers are playing some of their best basketball in years, but their average attendance is at its worst since the 1995-96 season.  They rank 27th in the league at almost 14,000 fans per game.  I am not sure how they can improve that.  Maybe the national media can help out and stop talking about injured centers and criers and start talking about real basketball. 

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