The Sixers will look to save some face and stave off elimination this afternoon as they face the Miami Heat in game four of their first round playoff series. Down 3-0, the Sixers are facing elimination in their own building but they say they aren't ready for the season to end just yet.
"You don’t want to get swept," Elton Brand said. "You don’t want to be out. We’ve had a fun season enjoying each other and we want to keep growing. We don’t want to go home. Nobody wants to go home."
Lou Williams echoed the sentiment, "We realize that Sunday is do or die. It’s either win or go home and we want to stretch this thing out, so I think we will probably have our best effort on Sunday."
I'm not totally sure what is a more disconcerting thought. That the Sixers haven't put forth their "best effort" yet or that maybe they have... It's not as if the Sixers have been completely played off the court, they were in games one and three, but in crunch time the gap between these teams have been painfully evident.
Heading into the fourth quarter of game three, the Sixers were actually up two. However, the Heat went on outscored them 27-19 in the final frame and cruise to a fairly comfortable win. On one hand, they just have no answer for the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade duo, but the Sixers also simply fail to make shots when they need to. Lou Williams said that they "went cold in the fourth in both games" and he's right.
Arguably no one is colder than Andre Iguodala, who is shooting just 28% and averaging just over six points a game in this series. That's nearly half his season averages and easily the worst numbers of his playoff career. If Iguodala had been at his season averages, there's a chance that the Sixers could have been up 2-1 in this series. If they're going to stave off elimination this afternoon, Iguodala is going to have to put points on the board.
The other obvious area of improvement for the Sixers is rebounding. They were beat on the glass in embarrassing fashion in game three as the Heat pulled down 20 offensive rebounds. Elton Brand admitted that part of the reason the Heat dominated on the glass was their defensive scheme.
"When you trap it is a perimeter player. It’s not like the post player where you are trapping him and you can get to the boards," he said. "You are outside the paint and that’s a big guy trapping, so they have an advantage on the boards. We just all have to get in there and gang rebound."
So do you let one guy try to guard Dwyane Wade or LeBron James on the perimeter and play for rebounds or do you give your defenders help? It's an almost impossible decision for Doug Collins.
We'll see what happens at 1 pm on ABC.