Meeks gives Sixers new look

Jodie Meeks has added offense and has put a spark in the other 76ers, too. The guard has started the last two games.
Jodie Meeks has added offense and has put a spark in the other 76ers, too. The guard has started the last two games.

The guard's long-range shooting opens things up for Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala.

Posted: December 07, 2010

The 76ers are playing better basketball.

Considering that the team's start was among the NBA's worst, that's not an amazing designation, but in the last two weeks, the Sixers have looked competitive in each game they've played.

On Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, they will attempt to win their fourth straight home game and fourth game in five tries.

On Monday, the team practiced at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and discussed all pertinent topics: the play of shooting guard Jodie Meeks, the effort of Andre Iguodala, and what's still missing for this team now that it is a quarter of the way through the season.

Meeks, who has started the last two games and made nine three pointers overall, is an expert at moving off the ball - a player unlike anyone else on this roster.

"It's a huge plus for us," said guard Lou Williams of Meeks' play. "I'd be lying if I said I was expecting Jodie to be in the position that he is right now. But I think it's a great thing for him and it's a great thing for us."

Sixers coach Doug Collins said that two players in particular benefit from Meeks' movement and shooting touch: Iguodala and power forward Elton Brand.

"With Dre, it gives him spacing to penetrate the ball, and with Elton, it gives him spacing in the post," Collins said, adding that Meeks "can come flying off those screens and make shots."

"He gives us another dimension now," Collins said.

In the starting lineup, Meeks replaced rookie Evan Turner, who struggled meshing with the starting unit once Iguodala returned from right Achilles tendinitis a little over three weeks ago.

"I think I've played just OK," Iguodala said of his game since returning. "A lot of solid games, I've been consistent as far as that goes. I just haven't had a great game where I've had it going. I haven't had that yet."

Collins seems more concerned with his swingman's defense and leadership than anything else.

"Very engaged, emotionally, and physically, terrific," Collins said of Iguodala. "High energy, his defense has been very, very good. To me, he's very engaged and I think when he's very engaged it has a trickle-down effect on everybody else."

Williams said Iguodala is more aggressive and talkative than he's seen him in a long time.

"He's been leading and I've been very, very pleased with that," Williams said. "We're playing catch-up right now and we have to have guys on the same page."

In evaluating his 6-14 team at the quarter-season mark, Collins said the only problem that concerns him is his team's end-of-game mentality when playing on the road.

"The only thing I feel like we're lacking right now is just the belief, on the road, to finish games," Collins said.


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.

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