NBA Playoffs 2012: Keys for Philadelphia 76ers to Continue Postseason Run

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IMay 15, 2012

NBA Playoffs 2012: Keys for Philadelphia 76ers to Continue Postseason Run

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    With the Philadelphia 76ers in the midst of a series with the Boston Celtics, an infamous rivalry lives on and the Sixers must work to continue their postseason run.

    After defeating the Chicago Bulls in Round 1 of the playoffs, the Sixers find themselves in yet another challenge they must overcome. With the current series tied at 1-1 and the Sixers coming off a win in Boston, Philadelphia must use the momentum to produce even better results.

    There are many keys to the game that the Sixers must keep an eye on if they want to continue their run in the playoffs.

Defense

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    This is how Philadelphia wins most of their games, since they lack a number one scorer.

    In fact, in their four wins against the Chicago Bulls, the Sixers held the Bulls to just under 82 points per game. Regardless of who they're playing, that's impressive to do against almost any team in the league.

    Facing the Boston Celtics this time around, they'll need to contain the scoring ability of Paul Pierce, stop Rajon Rondo's production and effectively guard the perimeter from Ray Allen.

    It's a lot to accomplish and certainly a heavy burden for a young team, but they need to strive for this if they want to move onto the next round.

Play by Possession

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    If one thing is for sure, it's that the Sixers need to take each game play by play.

    Since Boston is a more experienced and well-versed team, the Sixers need to play small ball, utilize the clock to their advantage and execute on the small things.

    Also, Philly wants to do all they can to stay within reach and not allow Boston to go on any runs during the game. They cannot let the Celtics run away with any game, especially on a quick scoring run.

    A major problem with the Sixers this year is they allow the opponent to go on runs, thereby putting themselves in a hole and finding themselves digging their way out of it for the rest of the game. They cannot let this happen to them in the playoffs.

Run the Court

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    The transition offense the Sixers have displayed this postseason has been nothing but productive. They must continue to utilize it.

    Running the floor will be one of the Sixers' few advantages in the playoffs playing an experienced team, because they are younger and have more overall energy. 

    This is something the Sixers have always been able to make effective and they must seize the advantage against an older squad.

Executing Roles

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    Every player on the Sixers plays a crucial role in both the offense and defense, and it's important that they all execute in it.

    Fans have unfortunately seen times this season where the Sixers just look flat-out sloppy. Sometimes they just fall out of sync; it happens to everyone. However, they cannot let it happen to them this series if they want to stay alive.

    The team chemistry flows when everyone is fundamentally sound in their role and this is when the Sixers can really thrive and pose a dangerous threat.

Play-Calling

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    Coach Doug Collins needs to take a leadership with such a young team at this point in the season, and one important aspect where he can step up is the play-calling.

    Although liked by many, some have been disappointed at his play calls and what he is able to come up with at vital moments late in the game. The 76ers tend to struggle in crunch time and he needs to help pick them up there by putting together more effective plays.

    Collins needs to pull through just as much as the players.

The Bench

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    The Sixers bench has been quite the secret weapon for a while now.

    In their five wins in the playoffs this season, the bench has contributed over 20 points each time and over 39 points once.

    Having an effective bench is a huge advantage because it gives the players and the coach confidence in the team. Whenever one player needs to be taken out or if a starter gets injured, there will be no doubt in the replacement because they know he will be able to produce.

    It's also very helpful when they are in a tiring game and they need fresh legs off the bench. Bottom line: The bench is trustworthy and reliable in times of need and it needs to stay that way.

Free-Throw Shooting

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    The Sixers struggled with free throws all season long, but they turned it around in the playoffs. Clearly, it has played a huge impact by winning them vital games.

    Last night, the Sixers sealed the deal with clutch free throws from Evan Turner and Lou Williams (not to mention Iguodala's series-winning free throws at the end of Game 5 against Chicago).

    Although they seem easy to attain, the Sixers must continue to execute at the line if they want to win games because when it's all set and done, a lot of times the game depends on which team fares better at the line.

Conclusion

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    The Sixers still stand a chance. They just need to execute and be on their A game at all times.

    When Philadelphia is sound and playing to the best of their ability, they can be scary. When this team is at its peak, it can take down almost anybody.

    It's just a matter of remaining consistent and following through with their abilities night in and night out.

    After splitting the first two games in Boston and with these keys in mind, the Sixers stand a legit chance at winning this series.