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Tuesday, May 6
Dr. Jack's Breakdown: 76ers vs. Pistons

By Dr. Jack Ramsay
Special to

Editor's note: Dr. Jack Ramsay, whose Hall of Fame head coaching resume includes making the playoffs in 16 of his 20 seasons and winning an NBA title with Portland in 1977, breaks down the playoff matchups for Throughout the 2003 postseason, Dr. Jack will analyze each series all the way through to the NBA Finals.

Philadelphia has the edge because Allen Iverson is so difficult to defend. He averaged 34.8 points per game against the Hornets and can do the same against the Pistons unless they switch up their defensive schemes. The Pistons have to keep the ball out of Iverson's hands as much as possible. On March 20, they held Iverson to 2-of-11 shooting and only five points, so the Pistons know they have the ability to stop AI. The only problem is Iverson won't let that type of game happen in the playoffs.

Ben Wallace is so active and quick that he has a decided advantage over Derrick Coleman. But this is all about defensive matchups. The addition of Kenny Thomas to the starting lineup for the 76ers is huge. Thomas will be defended by Cliff Robinson which will leave Michael Curry to defend Keith Van Horn. Van Horn's length should pose considerable problems for the 6-foot-5 Curry. If Van Horn can contribute as he did in the deciding game of the Hornets' series, when he scored 18 points and had 18 rebounds, the 76ers will have a much easier trek.

Both teams need their bench to make a meaningful contribution to win. The 76ers have the type of no-name guys who don't strike fear in your heart but play well in Larry Brown's system. Both teams have a lot of depth, but the Pistons' bench has played extremely well as of late. Tayshaun Prince's contribution in the first round helped get Detroit to the second round.

The Pistons need some kind of job limiting Iverson in four games to win this series. Iverson will have his moments and there's nothing that they can do to stop that. The Pistons have to counter by controlling the boards and getting big games from Wallace. Also, Prince needs to continue his strong play for Detroit to stay in the series. The 76ers need Iverson to score and share the ball as much as possible. Eric Snow has to stay consistent and Van Horn has to be a big player.

76ers in seven. This will be a knock-down, drag-out series that will feature too much Iverson for the Pistons to handle.



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• Dr. Jack's breakdowns: Celtics vs. Nets

• Dr. Jack's Breakdown: Lakers vs. Spurs

• Dr. Jack's Breakdown: Kings vs. Mavericks

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