Does Philly Need A Lineup Change?





PHILADELPHIA – Just like you, Sixers coach Doug Collins (or at least someone on his staff) has access to NBA.com’s Advanced Stats tool. The Sixers coach noted Thursday that Kevin Garnett is shooting 71 percent (24-for-34) with Lavoy Allen on the bench and 47 percent (7-for-15) with Allen on the floor.

Philly’s rookie big man, who has made somewhat of a name for himself in this series, is listed at only 6-foot-9. But in defending Garnett, speed is more important than size, because KG gets his best post position when he beats his man down the floor in transition.

“You have to do a better job early,” Collins said of slowing down Garnett. “You can’t let him get such deep position. You can’t let him run to the front of the rim and turn and just stand underneath the basket. You’ve got to start maybe meeting him at the free throw line.

“He has the mobility factor over both of our starters. Both EB [Elton Brand] and Spencer [Hawes], he has the speed advantage. So therefore, he’s going to get down the floor, and that’s a problem.”

Not only is it important to defend Garnett early in every possession, it’s critical to defend him in early in the game. The Celtics have made it clear that their biggest offensive priority is establishing the post early and often. So the obvious question is whether or not Collins should make a change to his lineup and start Allen.

The Sixers’ starters were a plus-10 in Game 1, but are a minus-26 in a little over 15 minutes since then.

Collins did go to Allen early in Game 3, subbing the rookie and Thaddeus Young in for Brand and Hawes at the 7:18 mark of the first quarter, with the score tied at 10. But Allen played just six minutes against Garnett on Wednesday, mostly because he picked up three fouls by the middle of the second quarter.

Foul trouble or not, a change in the lineup would maximize Allen’s minutes on KG. Allen is a plus-25 in the series, the only player in the Sixers’ rotation with a positive plus-minus. We know that Collins pays attention to that stuff, because he also noted Garnett’s plus-47 on Thursday. We also know that he’s not averse to making lineup changes if things aren’t going well.

The Sixers’ problems in Game 3 went far beyond who was guarding Garnett. Their defense was pretty awful all around.

“I never take away from a team playing well offensively,” Collins said, “but I just didn’t think that we put up a lot of resistance.”

Game 4 on Friday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) is a chance for the Sixers to prove that they really belong in the conference semifinals. And their ability to rebound from Wednesday’s loss is more about their mental toughness than anything else.

But a lineup change could help too.

8 Comments

  1. celtics are gonna win. Philly can compete but not in big games

  2. Ed Feldman says:

    Not a good night in Philly for Boston Teams. K G, Big Poopy. Rest up, old guys, you’ll need all your strength.

  3. the celtics are going to win this series,

  4. marlon green says:

    It doesn’t matter what line up or playing style the sixers use. The celtics have 4 hall of famers and are too good as a team and on defense. All they run is pick and roll which hardly works over and over again. Their best shot is to play some hardnose defense and try to get some steals and get as many points from transition as they can.

    • HeadlockTripleJab82 says:

      4 hall of famers? That should have automatically given them a sweep. But it didnt. All those Hall of famers couldnt stop a run that would give them an 3-1 lead after leading by 18. They were winded. This is not going to be sweet.Hardnose defense is all thats needed? Comin right up! At least two more games for the Celts, and believe me, they did not want that At All.

  5. Sea Pea says:

    Doug Collins is basically saying Kevin Garnett can’t score on “Lavoy Allen”. What do think KG is gonna do now since he has heard that? Only chance now is to get KG double T’d up from anger. Doug should have kept his mouth shut on that one.

  6. spelkey55 says:

    Tell them to go ahead and make a line up change. This series is still going to end the same. What the Sixers need is playoff experience and that’s exactly what their getting. If the don’t self destruct from the losing experience this year they will grow and become a better team. The Celtics are feeding on their experience and heart comes through the making it through hard times and bouncing back. I think how they play in game four is everything. If they can pick themselves up and play hard like game three never happened there is hope for them. If they don’t well see you next year MAYBE?