The Sixers are tough to watch.
When they win, it’s ugly. The same can be said when they lose. This is what happens when the offense can’t score in a close game. That has been a problem all year. Remarkably, the Sixers made the playoffs despite their flaws.
The thought was the Sixers would not advance past the first round once they got there, but they are three wins away from advancing to the Eastern Conference finals after an 82-81 victory over the Celtics last night at the TD Garden. It helped the Sixers are in that position thanks to Bulls star Derrick Rose suffering a torn ACL in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against them.
The Sixers are known to grind it out. They rely on their defense to help them be in a position to win a tight game, and they capitalize on other team’s turnovers in scoring points. They somehow make shots in the end after missing them for most of the game.
In the playoffs, the Sixers have mastered the way of winning ugly.
Last night was a great example. The Sixers were begging to lose Game 2 by not hitting shots that could have put the game away midway to the fourth quarter, and that paved the way for the Celtics to eventually tie it. Yet, the visitors somehow earned a victory by forcing the Celtics to miss shots, and Evan Turner provided a spark by making free throws and making shots. That was the story of the game.
Another example came last week. The Sixers blew a lead against the Bulls, and they were in danger of losing Game 5 until Omar Asik missed free throws for the BullS and Andre Iguodala made the free throws that won the game by being in a position to be fouled. That was luck at its finest. They had no business winning that game, but they did.
The Sixers are winning in spite of themselves. It’s a fair assessment. They have done nothing to vow anyone. At some point, one has to wonder how long this is going to last. This is not a recipe of winning championships. It is good enough to win games in the regular season, but playoff games require a star to take control of the fourth quarter.
The Sixers are getting by, and they know it. That may not be a guarantee to advance in the next round by playing that way. The Celtics will eventually figure it out. They have too many good scorers to continue to stink down the stretch as they did last night and a good portion of Game 1.
They have to know how to execute on offense properly. That means not relying on jumpshots to win games. They need to know how to develop an interior presence in the paint, which is where they can score. They also must find a way to break down other team’s defense and attack the rim. This is where Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes must be a factor in the paint.
The Sixers have to figure out a way how to get points. This is not cutting it. That’s on Sixers head coach Doug Collins to exploit matchups, which his players can be successful. After all, he is lauded as a coach who knows how to put his players in a position to be successful.
Collins has not figured out how to get the most of his offense. That’s why he has been criticized by some Sixers fans and WIP’s Angelo Cataldi. Based on the head coach’s press conferences, he does not have any answers.
Collins is hoping luck shines for the Sixers. That’s what it comes down to. Anyone would feel the same after watching the team executes on offense this year.
It would be nice if either Jrue Holliday or Turner make shots like a superstar is supposed to do. It would be awesome if Iguodala would be the gunner for the Sixers. It shouldn’t require luck for that to happen. It should be about those guys knowing how to get it done, not pray it goes in.
Unfortunately, what Sixers fans see from their team is what they get. It’s about surviving, and that’s what the team’s playoff wins have been all about. It is working, so it’s hard to complain.
It’s not going to work in the long way, though. It may not even work against the Celtics. The Sixers have to hope their best players figure out how to run an offense. They can’t let their defense be the story to them winning games.
They have to figure it out. Wins like last night is something that Tim Tebow can only love. It’s great for the short-term, but it does not work for the long-term.