As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.
With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Philadelphia 76ers, who played three straight from Jan 9-11.
The Sixers have been playing some of the best ball in the NBA, and found themselves during their three-play challenge at the top of the Atlantic Division. Could they maintain during this brutal stretch? Let’s find out!
Game 1: Sixers 96, Pacers 86 - The Sixers catch a small break as Pacers All-Star Danny Granger was out with food poisoning (Coincidence? Or was he pushed?), though with the way Philly is playing, it might not have mattered. Andre Iguodala led the way with 20 points and nine rebounds. 2 points (1 for win, 1 for +10 margin)
Game 2: Sixers 112, Kings 85 - So far the Sixers depth is really developing into one of the stories of the NBA season, a big reason for their surprise success so far. Case in point against the Kings, as Evan Turner came off the bench for a near triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Elton Brand turned on the wayback machine and put up 21-10, but he’s a starter, so that’s outside of the narrative. 4 points (3 for win, 1 for +10 margin)
Game 3: Knicks 85, Sixers 79 - This is more what we assumed the third games of these things would be like, as the Knicks got out to a big lead early and the Sixers’ tired legs just didn’t have enough to chase them down, So goes Philly’s six-game win streak, and so goes their chance at perfection. 0 points
All in all a successful stint for the Sixers, who took care of business at home with two double-digit wins before losing a tough game (regardless of rest) at the Garden. 6 total points for Philly.
Up next: The Toronto Raptors also played three straight Jan. 9-11.
I haven’t been tuning into much of the pre-game shows for the NBA Finals so far (I can only devote so much time to the television before my wife starts packing stuff), but I may have to rethink that after catching a snippet of the hilarious “Team Mating Game” on last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live pre-Finals show, featuring the Sixers’ Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala facing off against Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. Check it out:
Watch the final two segments, and see who wins, after the jump.
Missed the cut: Greg Oden, Trail Blazers (injured); Michael Redd, Bucks (injured)
Team synopsis: A very young Ohio State team is proof of the work coach Thad Matta has done in Columbus. This team would certainly be better if Oden or Redd were available, but neither has appeared in a game this season so they remain ineligible (though Redd says he’ll return soon). Conley is blossoming into a competent starting point guard, but Turner, a rookie, is still raw. Neither Koufos nor Mullens has made an impact on the league yet, although both have nice statistical rates for the limited minutes they have played.(more…)