SportsNation Blog Archives Philadelphia 76ers
Andre Iguodala got a standing ovation during a video tribute played Wednesday night in his return to Philadelphia. And with that courtesy out of the way, Philly fans went back to booing Iguodala every time he touched the ball. The former 76er, traded to Denver during the offseason, joins the large club of Philly boo-bird targets, including Mike Schmidt, Kobe Bryant and Santa Claus. Did Iguodala, who led the Sixers' surprising playoff run last season, deserve the serenade? Or was it just a case of Sixers fans trying to get under the skin of the opposition's best player? Comment and vote!
The Celtics and 76ers will match up in a Game 7 after Philadelphia pulled off an 82-75 win at home. Allen Iverson's presence energized a crowd that Kevin Garnett had earlier criticized as lackadaisical and fair-weather, but that likely won't be a factor when the series returns to Boston. What might be a factor is the possible absence of Avery Bradley, whom the Celtics could lose for the remainder of the playoffs because of a shoulder injury. We'll find out what all of this means Saturday night.
Which team wins?
The Celtics missed several opportunities to put this series away, as their horrible shooting percentage doomed them in Game 6.
Contenders without Bradley?
Avery Bradley has been the Celtics' secret hero on more than one occasion this season. His absence could be huge.
Could Iverson come back?
Allen Iverson's most recent stint playing basketball in Turkey ended when he underwent calf surgery. Could he still play in the NBA?
The NBA playoffs so far have been characterized by significant injuries to big-time players. Dwight Howard was out before the postseason began, Derrick Rose went down in the waning minutes of Game 1, and several other players (Baron Davis, Amare Stoudemire, etc.) have fallen victim to on- and off-court maladies. Consequently, we're seeing a lot of series that definitely will not go the distance -- there are six 3-1 series in play right now, along with two that have already been decided. The Nuggets in particular have had fits dealing with the new-look Kobe Bryant -- he's been more of a distributor late in games than he has in the past, where the game plan was simply "give it to Kobe."
Kobe Bryant's role in the fourth quarter is usually that of a force of nature, but these playoffs have seen him rely more on his teammates.
Thunder or Spurs?
The Spurs and Thunder have already taken care of their two opponents, but it's still a long way to go before either team makes it to the finals.
The Bulls and Magic find themselves in the same 3-1 hole as the Nuggets and Hawks, although Denver and Atlanta didn't lose their franchise players early on.
It was supposed to be the Bulls' year -- or at least the best chance the Bulls have had of winning a championship since the Jordan years. Derrick Rose's torn ACL has likely put an end to Chicago's title hopes, unless the team discovers a sudden reserve of strength available only when their superstar is off the court. Some fans are questioning the decision to keep Rose on the court with the game very nearly won in the fourth quarter, but coach Tom Thibodeau isn't apologizing for playing his star.
Rose injured himself with 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bulls up by 12 points.
The Bulls are still quite a good team, and oddly enough had a winning record without Rose, although it's never a good thing to lose your star in the first game of the playoffs.
Rose or Howard?
Neither the Magic nor Bulls will have their star players available for the playoffs, a situation that puts both of their title hopes in jeopardy.
Derrick Rose was to be a key factor in Team USA's Olympic plans, but he'll likely miss the London Games this summer.