New guy Young could gain during loss of Iguodala

Posted: March 28, 2012

FORWARD Andre Iguodala missed his second straight game Tuesday night as he continues to be plagued with patellar tendinitis in his left knee. Also for the second consecutive game, Jodie Meeks took Iguodala's place in the lineup against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.

"He came in [to shootaround Tuesday morning], got some treatment, got on the bike to warm up a little bit and then we were doing our walkthrough and he went back and got some more treatment," coach Doug Collins said.

"He's got jumper's knee, which is a tendinitis. How long it takes to get knocked out, I'm not sure. Dre, obviously, a big part of his game is his speed, his quickness and his jumping. When he's limited with that, that's the kind of thing when you get that your leg feels weak."

While Meeks has taken over Iguodala's spot in the starting lineup, and scored 12 of the team's first 16 points in Tuesday's 103-85 win, recently acquired Sam Young is the one player who probably will benefit most from Iguodala's absence. Young, who came over from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline, is expected the see his workload increase as the only big swingman to come off the bench.

"It comes now to a five-man rotation [off the bench]," Collins said. "He and Lou [Williams] now become the two guys off the bench on the perimeter. A lot of it is the matchups on a night-to-night basis, who's playing particularly well at that point in time.

"He's a guy who, when we were watching tape, he's been speaking up and talking. He's a guy who started for a playoff team. He knows what being in the playoffs and preparation is all about. He's tough and he just wants to win, and so I'm really happy that he's on our team."

What made Young so attractive to the Sixers at the trading deadline was that he possessed a characteristic sorely needed on the team - toughness. But can that be relayed to teammates? Can someone become toughter just by watching a teammate?

"I think he can, because I think our guys really respect him," Collins said. "To me, anytime a message, when it's sent, whether it's received or not is the respect of the person sending the message. And I think they respect Sam. In a short period of time they've seen him come in and on the road, he's out with our guys and he's made a nice transition. The thing I like about it is he's very happy to be here. And that's what he keeps talking to all the guys about. He says, 'Guys, we've got a good team. We can do a lot of good things.' He's happy to be here in Philadelphia. He likes the players and he likes the coach."

Making a connection

Following Sunday's lackluster effort in a 93-76 loss in San Antonio, Collins said his team wasn't connected. Tuesday, he wanted to point out that being connected and having good team chemistry do not go hand-in-hand. And now with the pressure of playing for the playoffs upon them, Collins hopes his team can find that connection it had earlier in the season.

"To me, pressure is like pain. I wish that I could take your pain, but I can't," Collins said. "I always told my kids all the time when they got hurt and felt pain - I wished I could take that but I can't. That's something you have to learn to grow with, because it's a constant part of life. That's what it is. And when you play for things that are important, stakes get higher. We don't want to put extra pressure on them as a coaching staff, but the pressure remains, and I love the fact we're playing for something. I told the guys that, 'Two years ago, you went 27-55. How much fun was that?' I think it's pretty exciting that people are talking about us and what's at stake.

"I know I keep using that word [connected] but that's when we're good. I don't think connecting and chemistry are the same thing, because we have great chemistry, so that's not even the same thing. Chemistry is, do your guys get along? Our guys are great. They really enjoy each other. But connected, that's another step. That's when you're talking and that's when all the things that are happening to where you know everybody's got your back. I don't want there to be any miscommunication between chemistry and connection. That's not even in play."

Thad's Rx

Collins revealed last week his concern for sub forward Thaddeus Young, whose weight dipped to 209 pounds from a recent illness and overall wear and tear. So, the coach's remedy?

"I told him to just eat and rest, eat and rest," Collins said. "Thad brings so much every single night, and we're asking him to play a guy 25 to 30 pounds heavier than him almost every night. He's the guy who really makes our defense go, because he's got the speed and quickness to guard pick-and-rolls. He's got the energy to get in the open court and give you that speed out in the open court on that four-man fastbreak.

"He got sick and he got tired and all, and we're hoping now that he's going to be feeling better. I don't think there's any elixir. I just think you've got to rest and eat and try to be ready. I know Thad's going to be ready. I just want him to get his energy level up a little bit."


Contact Bob Cooney at cooneyb@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobCooney76. Read his blog at www.phillynews.com/sixerville.

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