By Spike Eskin and Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A season that that showed so much promise and success, now appears to be hanging on by a thread. Surrounded by questions about the rotations, playing time, and coaching decisions, the Sixers (26-21) now sit only a half game ahead of the Boston Celtics (25-21), and with a loss, will surrender first place in the Atlantic Division.
After losing seven of nine games, Doug Collins inserted Evan Turner into the starting lineup. A run of three straight wins started with a victory over these same Celtics just over two weeks ago. The story over those three games was the play of Turner, who averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. His minutes, as well as his production have decreased since then, as questions about both have grown louder.
The Sixers have struggled to find a winning rotation in recent games, at one point playing Thaddeus Young at center and Andre Iguodala at power forward in Wednesday’s 82-79 loss to the Knicks.
Sixers guard Jodie Meeks, who lost his starting spot to Turner, today told KYW Newsradio that they are fully aware of the importance of tonight.
“Every game is a big game in the division, but tonight’s definitely big because they are only a half-game behind us. So we need to focus in and get the win any way possible.”
Listen to the entire interview with Jodie Meeks:
It has been a struggle for the Sixers as of late as they have dropped four of five, but Meeks says they aren’t going to let the recent stumbles linger.
“This team has confidence in one another and the coaching staff, we’re very happy how our team has shaped up this year, we just have to keep believing,” he said.
They led from start to finish in their last game against the Celtics. “We came out with great intensity at the beginning. We just have to focus on that and play like that for 48 minutes. Lately we haven’t been doing that for whatever reason, but I think this team is very resilient and can do it on a consistent basis,” Meeks said.
Meeks is averaging 8.3 points a game this season and shooting 39% from behind the arc.
The Sixers and Celtics tip-off tonight at the Center at 8:00pm. The game can be heard on 94WIP.