If anyone needs more evidence of how maddeningly inconsistent the
Philadelphia 76ers has been the season, look no further than
Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls and their contest from the night before against the San Antonio Spurs as proof.

Following a dramatic 103-100 overtime win over the world champions at the Wachovia
Center on Wednesday night, the Sixers responded with an even more spectacular performance.
failure on Thursday night, losing to the Chicago Bulls, who barely registered a pulse per
33 points

That’s right boys and girls, 33 points.

These Sixers are mediocrity personified. One night they’re hitting the world
fields at home showing defensive grit, teamwork and another world
Performance by Allen Iverson. The next night, they’re leaning against the
The last place team in the Central Division.

He’s just doing.

Most professional sports teams ride a wave of momentum. if it is good or
bad, teams in all sports ride that wave and ride it to success or failure. Goal
not the Sixers. These Sixers play as Eastern Conference title contenders one night,
then follow it up the next night with an effort the Charlotte Bobcats would be proud of.

Why can’t these guys do it together? Why can’t they keep up the level of play they
shown against the Spurs for more than one night? How can they go from beating
world champions one night to unload on the court against one of the
The worst teams in the Eastern Conference the next night?

The main reason is defense. When the 76ers play defense like they did against the
Spurs on Wednesday, they can beat almost anyone. However, the nights when the
The Sixers play defense as often as a Dick Cheney press conference. You
I can probably count on my hand the number of times these guys have put together four
quarters of solid defensive effort this season.

Chris Webber, Allen Iverson and Kyle Korver are abortions on defense. These guys
he couldn’t protect a player in a wheelchair, let alone most NBA stars. Iverson does not provide
pressure on the opponent’s base, allowing the other team to establish their
offensive with little or no resistance. Chris Webber’s knee prevents him
of jumping more than two feet in the air at any given time, let alone bouncing
or dismember anyone in the lower blocks. And Kyle Korver’s got the lateral movement
by William Perry Refrigerator. Nobody beats the dribble like Kyle Korver.

Mo Cheeks has to take much of the blame for this mess. Granted, he doesn’t
he has a lot of great defensive players on his roster, but he shows up most nights
that the Sixers didn’t even bother trying to defend people. and that’s the
accusation on him.

The 76ers seem to always be going through the motions. cheeks were supposed to
to be a coach that the players appreciate and respect, someone they can root for. Goal
it looks like they play like five separate guys on the court instead of like
a cohesive unit. It’s a collection of random guys thrown onto the court trying to
to make something happen for themselves. Half the time it works, half the time
It is not.

One thing it does is create some pretty inconsistent basketball.

One of the Sixers’ big concerns has to be Andre Iguodola’s play. iggy
it was supposed to come up in year #2, but it just hasn’t happened. Here’s a guy with
all the talent in the world, the team’s only true blocked defender, but he hasn’t yet
to take it to the next level. Like the great black bear, Iggy’s offense makes a
brief cameo appearance, then just as quickly as it arrived, it goes back into hibernation.

Perhaps Allen Iverson’s penchant for hogging too much of the ball is the cause of
Iggy’s failure to make the “leap”. But it seems to me that a real great player can
make something happen every time he touches the ball, and Andre hasn’t shown
the ability or desire to do that yet. If the Sixers are going to be playoff contenders,
they need Andre Iguoldola to be another offensive threat.

But more than the X’s and O’s, it’s the personality and effort of the 2005-06 76ers.
That is the biggest problem. On nights like Wednesday night against the Spurs, you
I could see a fire in his eyes and a competitive spirit in his game that made you
think, “maybe this is the tipping point.” Then, on nights like Thursday night against
the Bulls, you see it was a one night freak, a mirage, something that couldn’t

The 76ers effort reminds me of my golf swing. From time to time,
It all comes together I keep that left arm in, I keep my head down on the ball,
Follow along and watch that baby fly high and far in the sky. but my muscle
the memory is still not there. So I’ll follow that beautiful shot by hitting my next
shot from the side of someone’s house or into a pond the size of New Hampshire.

Effort is a lot like that muscle memory. Once you get into the habit of turning off
maximum effort each night and doing the little things necessary to play to win
basketball, you can’t help but succeed. The 2000-01 Sixers are proof of that.
Effort is a habit, one the 76ers haven’t tried to learn.

So, at the mid-season mark, the Sixers are pretty much where they’ve been since
opening night, around ,500 at 25-27. They are currently celebrating the eighth and last
berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs. And sadly, there’s really nothing that GM
Billy King can do to fix things. Chris Webber is non-tradeable. And there’s no way that
The Sixers could get the same value for Allen Iverson. There’s no one out there in the
trade block that would improve things.

The Sixers are stuck with what they have; a collection of somewhat talented boys
They can’t seem to play with each other.

Mediocrity and the 76ers… they get used to it.


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