Sixers' Playoff Preview

Philly SportsfanContributor IApril 19, 2009

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 17:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Donyell Marshall #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers on March 17, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The 76ers won 94-93.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It’s not pretty. Beer goggles won’t make it any more attractive or glamorous. Brad Pitt probably wouldn’t touch it with a 10 ft. pole—even if Angelina Jolie wanted to adopt it as one of her cute and cuddly foreign orphans.

Like the ugly cousin you’re Mom forced you to escort to prom after her boyfriend’s headgear mishap, defense is a hideous reality that the Philadelphia 76ers must face as they enter the 2009 playoffs.

After the Elton Brand signing flopped, it pretty much became universal knowledge that the Sixers would revert to what made them successful in their 2007-2008 campaign—force turnovers and run the floor until ice seeps through the wood panels. The hope of having any type of back to the basket, half court presence took the first R-5 out of Center City after Elton Brand’s season ending shoulder injury and hasn’t been heard from since.

So, as the Sixers look to escape the opening round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2003, they face a seemingly harsh reality. With defensive efficiency as the key component to their success, Philly’s basketball squad faces an Orlando team poised to make a postseason push, and with Dwight Howard lingering in the paint and sharp shooters Hedu Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis stalking the perimeter, the Sixers could be in for a draining series on the defensive end of the floor—especially with Samuel “Mr. Goal-tend” Dalembert listed as Day-to-Day.

Regardless of who the Sixers have on the floor, first year coach, Tony DiLeo, must demand high intensity defense on every possession—something the Sixers have lacked throughout their sub-par season.

If the likes of Willie Green, Thaddeus Young, and Louis Williams do not respond positively to the playoff atmosphere and the significance their defensive mentality must play in their success in that atmosphere, then the Sixers will experience a quick and uneventful close to their 2009 season.

So, like the ugly girl your friend met at the bar last night and inexplicably invited back to his place, defense is something the Sixers might have slightly overlooked when sliding towards the end of the regular season, but as the playoffs kick off, it’s an ugly reality they’ll have to stare at come tomorrow morning, just ask you friend.  


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