Los Angeles Clippers (47-25) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (18-54)
Wells Fargo Center
4:00 p.m. PST
March 27, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Let’s enjoy these again…
1. True or False: Brett Brown should win Coach of the Year.
Eric Goldwein, Hoop76, (@ericgoldwein): False false false. Brown has done a good job — better than his record suggests — with a roster full of castaways and second round picks. He’s built an above average defense and also helped some of the players (Noel, Grant, Covington) progress significantly. But let’s save the coach of the year talk for when he starts winning some games.
Brandon Tomyoy, (@dingyu): False. This is just a case of how the award is measured, and while I applaud Brett Brown for what he’s done to keep his team motivated and playing hard despite the writing on the wall that this team was not designed to win games, this isn’t an effort award. Also, there’s this matter of a new head coach in Oakland that’s been breaking all sorts of records for winning.
Law Murray, (@LawMurrayTheNU): False. The 76ers lose three out of every four games. It would be so disrespectful to give a Coach of the Year award to a .250 team when there are so many worthy candidates on good teams, such as Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer or Memphis’ Dave Joerger. That’s not to say I’m not impressed with Brett Brown as a head coach. This is the least talented team in the NBA, yet there is a system in place and a culture of high effort and strong defense, ranking third in the NBA in defensive efficiency post-All-Star Break (and after the trade of Michael Carter-Williams).
2. Who’s been the biggest surprise 76er this season?
Goldwein: Jerami Grant. There were concerns about how his skill set (or lack thereof) would translate to the big leagues, as some viewed him as a top notch athlete without a position. But the second round pick has been draining 3-pointers and blocking shots — things he never did in college — and that’s made him a productive rookie. The best part: he’s locked into a team-friendly four-year deal. His future looks bright.
Tomyoy: Some might say Nerlens Noel, and I can absolutely see a case that could be made for him to win Rookie of the Year. For me, though, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the play of reigning D-League Rookie of the Year Robert Covington. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a future appearance competing in the three-point shootout during All-Star Weekend, but for now I’m secretly hoping that he has a section in the Wells Fargo Center known as Covington Abbey. It would be an ideal location for Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith to catch a game.
Murray: There really are so many to choose from, but I have to stick with Nerlens Noel. Raw and injured coming out of Kentucky, I wasn’t sure what kind of player Noel would be this early, especially once his fellow New Englander MCW was moved at the deadline. Well, Noel is giving you a double-double on 49 percent shooting from the field with 2+ steals and blocks per game since the All-Star Break. He turns 21 next month. Holla.
3. Will this be the “Spencer Hawes Revenge Game”?
Goldwein: It wouldn’t shock me. Nerlens Noel and the Sixers frontcourt will be preoccupied with DeAndre Jordan, and that might result in a few open 3s for Hawes. If he’s on, look out.
Tomyoy: No. He’ll certainly have the opportunity to log more minutes should the starters rest during the fourth like they did against the Knicks, but given his struggles, it doesn’t seem at all likely for him to have a breakout scoring game. This is especially the case when he hasn’t had a game of 20 points or more all season. On the bright side, it’s a positive sign to hear that he was working with Bob Thate before the Knicks game, and it’s the small takeaways like this that lend a glint of optimism that he’s looking for ways to turn his fortunes around.
Murray: Sure, I guess we can call it that. We’re about to see how much better the 76ers are, because the last five meetings have been decided by an average of 27.6 points per game, all in favor of the Clippers. Hawes didn’t get a chance to play the 76ers after they traded him to Cleveland last year, but even in 20 minutes during the January 3rd blowout, Hawes only scored 7 points on 9 shots. And it’s not like he was special in his return to Cleveland (11 points in an 11-point loss), but he hasn’t scored double figures in a season-long 12 games, so that would be an accomplishment tonight in Philadelphia.