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News » Poor three-point defense is crippling 76ers

Poor three-point defense is crippling 76ers

Poor three-point defense is crippling 76ers Thaddeus Young didn't sleep particularly well Tuesday night.

An embarrassing 105-74 loss to the Boston Celtics hours earlier had the 76ers forward tossing and turning.

"Any time you lose like that, it's definitely hard to sleep," Young said after yesterday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "You know that you are not 15, 20, or 30 points less than a team.

"We feel that we are one of the best teams in the league. We feel that we can [compete] with any team that we play."

That hasn't been the case in the early part of the season.

The Sixers (2-2) were victorious in games against Milwaukee and New York, teams with a combined 2-5 record heading into last night.

But in measuring-stick games against Eastern Conference elite teams Orlando and Boston, the Sixers lost by an average of 22.5 points. That's not a good sign for a team looking to battle Boston for the Atlantic Division title.

"Whenever you lose, it is definitely disappointing," Young said. "But when you fare good with those guys and you lose by one or two points, it's like, 'OK, we are doing something right.' Those are elite teams in the league."

As these setbacks show, the Sixers are far from an elite squad at this point.

Their Achilles' heel has been giving up open three-point shots. That often happens when defenders back away from the player they're guarding to help with another opponent. As a result, shooters are getting open opportunities when the defenders who were originally guarding them don't get back in time.

"We definitely have to do a better job of recovering," Young said. "We are doing a great job helping each other. But that recovering part is the hardest part right now."

Coach Eddie Jordan won't push the panic button, even though Boston's Rasheed Wallace and Eddie House combined to make 10 three-pointers Tuesday night.

The Sixers' first-year coach thinks the outcome was due to tremendous outside shooting, rather than lackluster three-point defense.

"Let's just see over another six or seven, let's take it 10 games, and see if we have horrible three-point defense or not," Jordan said.

Even though a lot of the Celtics' three-pointers appeared to come on open shots?

"Yeah," Jordan said. "I would think half of them were contested and half of them were not contested.

"And I don't know if you practice contesting a three-point shooter well beyond the three."

The Sixers have allowed 30 three-pointers in 49 attempts in their two losses. Those kind of problematic numbers are making it hard for Young to stay well-rested.

"It's always hard to sleep after a loss," Young said.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 5, 2009


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