Sixers look for answers against Heat in Game 3

Thaddeus Young and the Sixers have mined the tape of Game 2 for answers.
Thaddeus Young and the Sixers have mined the tape of Game 2 for answers.
Posted: April 21, 2011

While flying back from Miami late Monday, 76ers forward Thaddeus Young watched that night's lopsided loss.

Upon boarding the flight, each player received a DVD of Miami's 94-73 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Most guys carry laptops on which they can watch the game, but portable DVD players are available for anyone who needs one.

Young watched on his laptop. He noticed Miami's defensive scheme. In particular, he noticed how much emphasis the Heat placed on their interior defense.

"This team won't let you get all the way to the rim," Young explained.

But the Sixers do believe - with Game 3 of this opening-round series set for Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center - that dribble penetration into the lane will unlock a variety of offensive options.

"Our defense gives us a chance," Sixers coach Doug Collins said.

And so the last two days have been spent with an eye on injecting life into the offense, which hasn't scored more than 21 points in the series' last seven quarters.

Miami will enter Thursday's game with a lead of two games to none in the best-of-seven series.

What the Sixers noticed from Monday's game film is that the Heat made it nearly impossible to take the ball all the way to the rim. The Sixers were too passive off pick-and-rolls, didn't see the open perimeter shooters once they were in the lane, and too often forced a difficult interior shot inside instead of making the simple kick-out pass.

Miami's defense has been like an accordion: easily sucking in. What the Sixers aim to do is test how quickly Miami's defense can expand.

"They're just trying to pack it in and make sure they protect the basket and make us shoot jump shots," Young said. "As long as we get wide-open looks, we feel we can knock those shots down."

From beyond the arc, the Sixers are hoping guards Jodie Meeks, Lou Williams, Evan Turner, and Andre Iguodala will slide to the open spot and take advantage, while power forward Elton Brand will be charged with finding the gaps in the 12-to-15-foot range.

"We were able to go through some of our stuff and continue to try to find a few wrinkles so we can steal a couple of baskets," Collins said.

The Sixers feel their defense has been solid, and because defense is more energy and effort than anything else, they aren't worried about its disappearance.

"We just have to find a way for our offense to give us a chance," Collins said.

There's even the hope that the baskets at the Wells Fargo Center, more familiar to the Sixers, will cause some early buckets to drop.

"I think for our guys, if they can just come out and see the ball go in the basket a little bit, it would be such a lift for us," Collins said.

During Monday's loss, the Sixers shot 34.2 percent from the floor, a number actually boosted by some late-game, scrub-time baskets.

"You don't think about it," Young said when asked how you forget about a blowout loss like Monday's. "You know it happened, but you put it past you."

And you mine the game's DVD for all its worth.

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


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