Can the Sixers take a game? Can anything stop the Heat? Or will the Miami team that failed in key situations in the regular season show its ugly head?
Posted by Matt Moore
The Narrative: This is the end, my only friend, the end. The Sixers have been overwhelmed in Games 1-3. In first-round defined by intensity, close games, and upsets, the Sixers are the one team that didn't show up to the party. They've been outmatched in this series and have shown no ability to figure out a solution to the Heat's Big 3. When Chris Bosh is owning you, you're in trouble. This isn't the same as Pacers-Bulls, where the Pacers have held leads for long stretches. The Sixers have held a lead now and then, but eventually the Heat run them out of the building. This thing's over. Maimi may slack off and let the Sixers get one in, but it'll be a gentleman's sweep (a sweep with a win thrown in to be polite to the other team). For the Heat, this is now about getting rest and continuing to build the sense of team definition they've been struggling to find all season.
The Hook: Chris Bosh was dominant in Game 1, LeBron James in Game 2, Dwyane Wade in Game 3. Who's going to take over in Game 4? Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Mario Chalmers? Mike Bibby? Joel Anthony? Probably not. The most likely scenario is the Big 3 each putting in contributions, the Sixers folding up the tents and this thing ending in a grind-it-out style like most of the series have been. It's true that the Triad has been in rare form in this series, but it's really been the Heat's defense which has done the work. They've shut down Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, frustrating each with matchups and hard switches. They've looked consistent, communicative and smooth. There's just not much you can see in the way of an adjustment that the Sixers could make. Unless...
The Adjustment: It's time for the zone. It can't hurt, right? Making the Heat into jump-shooters is a much preferable end than watching them slice and dice through anyone and everything in their way. The Sixers might as well throw this out there. Sure, it's one step short of the full-court trap in the gimmick department, but the Heat do have a penchant for settling for jumpers when things get tough. They've been nailing them in this series, but again, what does Philadelphia have to lose? They've got to play with pride, but they also need to commit to stopping the Heat from spinning their heads around. Aggressive doubles on Bosh in the post, and hard fouls on LeBron would help, but in reality, the only thing that looks to stop the Heat right now are the Heat. Zone will at least induce them to think about doing what will trip them up.
The X-Factor: The wounded animal syndrome. The Pacers fought through about 70 bad breaks to beat a very good Chicago team. There's no reason the Sixers can't take one, especially at home. It'll take a monumental amount of pride and some fiery coaching from Doug Collins, but we've seen crazier things. Hey, the Spurs are down 2-1 to Memphis. Surely the Sixers can get one at home.
The Sticking Point: The Heat look like the best team in the East right now. But it's just the first round. They could use the rest, and they could us the mental edge of taking out a team that can't challenge in a sweep. Will we see the killer instinct? That seems like the only thing between Philadelphia and the brooms.
Series Reset: Sixers' last stand
Posted on: April 24, 2011 2:24 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:54 am