Sixers work on screen and roll

The Pacers' Darren Collison soars past the Sixers' Jrue Holiday in Indiana's 111-103 win Tuesday. Collison had 21 points.
The Pacers' Darren Collison soars past the Sixers' Jrue Holiday in Indiana's 111-103 win Tuesday. Collison had 21 points.
Posted: January 14, 2011

The 76ers spent time during Thursday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine working on their screen-and-roll offense and defense.

After Tuesday's 111-103 loss to the visiting Indiana Pacers, the screen-and-roll defense sure needed a refresher course.

A Pacers team that went its nine previous games scoring 95 or fewer points operated offensively at will, shooting 51.1 percent from the field (46 for 90) and 50 percent (8 for 16) from beyond the arc. For good measure, the Pacers sank all 11 free throws.

So the Sixers (15-23) hope they will be better in this area when they host the Milwaukee Bucks (14-22) on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.

"The reason teams run [the screen and roll] is that it is still the hardest game in the NBA to try to defend, especially based on personnel," Sixers coach Doug Collins said following practice.

Collins admitted that when the Sixers are soft playing the screen and roll, they aren't very successful.

"If you don't try to be pretty aggressive against it, you are sort of on roller skates, where that guard is taking the ball wherever he wants to take it."

Pacers point guard Darren Collison fit that description. He had 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting and added 13 assists and just one turnover in more than 36 minutes.

When asked if this were as good a job as any point guard has done on the screen and roll against the Sixers, Collins didn't hesitate.

"Yes, yes, yes," he said.

Then the Sixers coach elaborated.

"He was terrific," Collins said. "What makes it very difficult is when a guy can shoot the ball a little bit and now you have to defend against his shooting."

Defending Collison for much of the game was Jrue Holiday, who had 19 points, 8 assists and 2 turnovers. They were backcourt partners during Holiday's one season at UCLA.

"He got to the paint," Holiday said about Collison. "When you get in the paint, you can pretty much do anything, score yourself or look for somebody else."

Holiday said he didn't do much defending in practice at UCLA against Collison because the two were always on the same team.

Anyway, defending a screen and roll includes a lot of grunt work, as Collins pointed out.

"When you are hit with that screen, you need to be able to get over the top of it and you can't get velcroed - you know, when you stick," Collins said. "Because once you get stuck on it, we are playing four on five."

Which occurred countless times in Tuesday's defeat.

Notes. Andre Iguodala participated in practice, which included a full-court scrimmage. Iguodala returned to practice on Monday after a two-week layoff due to right Achilles tendinitis. He struggled in 33 minutes against the Pacers, scoring just one point. "He looked better," Collins said of Iguodala's work in Thursday's practice. "When you are out as long [as he was] you lose your timing." . . . Forward Andres Nocioni (dislocated and fractured finger) didn't practice to contact, but Collins said he was doing better and hopes he will be available against Milwaukee. . . . The Bucks remain without starting point guard Brandon Jennings, who had surgery for a broken foot on Dec. 20 and is expected to be out from four to six weeks of that date. . . . Milwaukee swingman Carlos Delfino is out with a concussion. . . . Forward Drew Gooden returned to the lineup in Wednesday's 91-84 loss to visiting San Antonio and played 10 minutes, scoring eight points. He had been sidelined with plantar fasciitis. . . . Former Sixer and Plymouth Whitemarsh graduate John Salmons is averaging 14 points per game for the Bucks.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or