After meltdowns, Sixers looking to solidify team defense

Posted: January 22, 2011

Just as they have had to do at other times this season, the 76ers need to dust themselves off and try again.

After winning a couple of down-to-the-wire home games, the Sixers coughed up both games of a midweek back-to-back and find themselves, once again, searching for answers.

The Sixers did not practice Friday. With his team coming off consecutive losses to the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats, coach Doug Collins decided to give his team a quick rest before Saturday night's home game against the Utah Jazz.

The Sixers will play four of their next five games at the Wells Fargo Center, where this season they have a record of 12-7.

On Thursday night against the Bobcats, the Sixers allowed 25 first-half points to guard D.J. Augustin, battled back, but then lost, 100-97, after some poor end-of-game execution.

"I told our coaches that I knew fatigue was going to be a factor," Collins said after the loss, noting the team's overtime loss the previous night. "We were within six at halftime. I thought in the second half our defense was much better, but we couldn't get the critical stop on them."

In the fourth quarter, Charlotte scored 26 points, including converting on their final six offensive possessions of the game. Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, an Episcopal Academy graduate, scored 11 points, including a trio of jumpers in the final 1 minute, 40 seconds.

"He wouldn't have even thought about taking those shots in the past, but he's open and shot them with great confidence," said Charlotte coach Paul Silas. "That's the way you want all of your players to react. He did a really great job."

He'll be back. Forward Andres Nocioni, who fractured his right middle finger against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 7, is expected to return to the lineup for Saturday's game. Nocioni played in the second half against the Bulls, also played in the team's next two games, but then missed the next three games in order to let the injury heal.

The schedule. The Sixers play five games in the next eight days: against the Jazz, against the Phoenix Suns, at the Toronto Raptors, against the Memphis Grizzlies, and against the Denver Nuggets.

What's Wrong?

Find out why the 76ers are fundamentally flawed when it comes to end-of-game critical situations at

Plus watch Sixers videos you won't find anywhere else.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at, follow on Twitter at, and read her blog "Deep Sixer" on


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