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The Sixer Sense Chimes In

Doug Collins has been great this year in leading Philadelphia back into the playoffs

Sean O’Connor, lead writer for SixerSense.com, does a great job covering the Philadelphia 76ers for the fansided network.  He took the time to answer some questions concerning the Heat’s first round match-up with the Sixers.

AUCH: How healthy is Lou Williams and how important is he to Philly’s success?

Sixer Sense: That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? He hasn’t practiced since the injury, and apparently today (Tuesday 4/12) hit the court for some shooting for the first time since being injured a week ago. I don’t expect him to be back in time for the beginning of the series, though. Hamstring strains usually take more than a couple of weeks to recover from, and Collins hasn’t sounded confident about his return. As for his importance, he’s the best player the Sixers have at creating his own shot, and he gets to the line about 5 times per game in under 24 minutes on average (and makes most of them). While he shoots a low percentage overall, the Sixers struggle to score without him. Big time.

AUCH: Is Doug Collins the coach of the year?

Sixer Sense: No. I really like Doug, but think his impact has been overstated somewhat. People forget just how bad Eddie Jordan was and how early the team quit on him. He’s also benefited from having maybe the healthiest team in the league for most of the year. Plus, he plays Andres Nocioni over Evan Turner for some unknown reason.

However, he somehow got this roster to be an average rebounding team and has done wonders with the defense. I’d put him third behind Popovich and Thibodeau.

AUCH: How does Philly plan to contain Miami when they go small with LeBron at 4 and Bosh at 5?
Sixer Sense: I’m not sure how any team could contain Miami, but the Sixers match up about as well as a team can in this situation. The Sixers’ best lineup has Thaddeus Young playing the 4 and Elton Brand playing the 5. They’ll keep Iguodala on LeBron and put Young on Jones/Miller/whichever perimeter player gets on the court, as he’s quick enough to defend smaller opponents. The Sixers won’t have any rim-protectors in the lineup, but they normally don’t have them anyway.

AUCH: Who is Philly’s most important player in this series?

Sixer Sense: Jrue Holiday. The Sixers backup point guard right now is Antonio Daniels. Miami has maybe the worst defensive point guard in the NBA, Mike Bibby, starting against him. Iguodala’s been playing hurt since January but will still bring it defensively, and Brand will give the Sixers the same, consistent production he has all year. Jrue’s been anything but consistent, and with Lou Williams’ questionable status for the series, Jrue will determine how many games the team will win in the series – if he can cut down on the turnovers and play well offensively, the Sixers can steal a couple of games. If not, the Sixers, well, might be blown away.

AUCH: Who wins and in how many games?

Sixer Sense: I’ll be optimistic and say the Sixers get 2 games, so the Heat will win the series in 6.

Follow Sean on twitter @SixerSense for more coverage throughout the series.  Also be sure to check out thesixersense.com for more information on the 76ers.

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