Iguodala off to a good start from three-point range for 76ers

Andre Iguodala credits his early success this season to health. Last season, he was afflicted with painful Achilles tendinitis.
Andre Iguodala credits his early success this season to health. Last season, he was afflicted with painful Achilles tendinitis. (MATT YORK / Associated Press)
Posted: January 04, 2012

Doug Collins understands that Andre Iguodala won't likely continue to shoot 66 percent from beyond the arc even during an abbreviated NBA season. And the 76ers coach would rather not discuss the quick start of the eighth-year swingman from the perimeter.

Yet the numbers, even in a small sample, are difficult to ignore. Iguodala is shooting 12 for 18 (.667) from three-point range and the Sixers are off to a 2-2 start, all on the road.

The team was able to practice a few days at home but departed Tuesday for Wednesday's game in New Orleans against the Hornets.

Collins hopes Iguodala continues with his hot hand, although, maybe fearful of jinxing the matter, when asked to talk about the shooting success, Collins replied, "I hate to."

Collins then laughed and expanded on the topic following Tuesday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

"When things are going well, I sort of don't like to talk too much about it, but it's all the hard work he has put in," Collins said.

Iguodala says he has always put the work in, but one key is that he is feeling healthy. Last season, he missed 15 games, mostly due to painful Achilles tendinitis. In the six seasons before that, he had missed a total of six games and had played all 82 in five of them.

Now Iguodala feels good physically, and it has translated on the court, where he is averaging 16.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.25 steals.

"My body feels good, and I am just getting up and down the court and not having to worry about anything," said Iguodala, who entered the season as a .323 career three-point shooter. "I have a free mind and am able to relax, and that is good."

Besides being healthy, shooting is all about confidence.

"I am just confident when going to shoot the ball, just knowing it will go in before you let it go," Iguodala said. "I have been taking some tougher threes and playing with confidence."

He says he still needs to be more aggressive offensively and vows not to just rely on the trey. Iguodala and Lou Williams have been the Sixers' most lethal bombers. Williams is 9 for 18 from beyond the arc.

The outside shooting will open even more offensive opportunities.

"It allows us to space the floor, and teams have to play us honest," Williams said. "It's something we always wanted to add to our team because all we heard is that we weren't a good shooting team and couldn't shoot three."

Notes. New Orleans (2-3) has lost three in a row. . . . Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon, who is sidelined with a knee injury, hasn't played since scoring 20 points in an opening 85-84 win at Phoenix. Acquired in the Chris Paul trade from the Los Angeles Clippers, Gordon is listed as questionable, and a team spokesman said his availability will likely be known at Wednesday's shootaround. . . . The Hornets' Trevor Ariza is also questionable, with a strained groin suffered in Monday's 94-90 loss at Utah. . . . After Wednesday, the Sixers will play 18 of their next 22 games at the Wells Fargo Center, beginning with Fridays' home opener against Detroit.


Doug Collins talks about Andre Iguodala's improved three-point shooting.

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Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com, or @sjnard on Twitter.

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