Friday , Mar , 09 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Mo’ Better Blues: Cheeks has 76ers on right track

(Sports Network) – It took a long time but Philadelphia head coach Mo Cheeks
is finally getting his philosophy across with the streaking Sixers.

It’s quite apparent Cheeks doesn’t get sucked in with what certain media
outlets have to say about his current squad. I am also guilty for re-
hashing the idea that the 76ers should bag the season for a better lottery
pick, and Cheeks obviously doesn’t care with what has been discussed.
Even talks of Sixers executive vice president Larry Brown taking over as
head coach again at the end of the season have been brushed aside by Cheeks.

Despite still being one of the worst teams in the NBA, Cheeks has the Sixers
five games out of a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference with 21
games remaining on the 2006-07 schedule. Orlando, New Jersey and New York, all
teams capable of losing position, are ahead of the 76ers in the standings.

The three of those teams, though, are not riding the longest winning streak in
the East right now like Philly is. The Sixers have ripped off a season-high
five straight wins and will try to wrap up a perfect six-game homestand Friday
night against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The five-game winning streak is the longest for the franchise since a six-game
spurt from November 5 – 16 of the 2005-06 campaign. Philadelphia has also won
six in a row at the Wachovia Center, where it owns a 15-15 record this season.
The six-game streak at home is the longest since a seven-game burst from March
6 – 30 of the 2003-04 season.

After Friday’s game against LA, the Sixers will hit the road for two games
against Indiana and Atlanta. Philly will probably be without forward Rodney
Carney for the trip since the rookie has missed the last four games with a
torn right rotator cuff. Carney is averaging 6.3 points and 1.8 rebounds over
55 games this season.

In other team news, savvy point guard Andre Miller has recorded a double-
double in three of the past five games, and is averaging 13.5 points, 7.5
assists and 4.1 rebounds in 36 games (35 starts) as a Sixer. Since the start
of February, Miller is averaging 14.4 ppg.

The veteran Miller is a big reason for Philadelphia’s latest run and makes his
teammates better, something former guard Allen Iverson couldn’t do in his time
as a Sixer. Solid players went through the organization like fans through the
turnstiles at the Wachovia Center, but their stay in the City of Brotherly
Love fizzled out because of a tattoo-laden guard out of Georgetown.

Willie Green, meanwhile, has started the past four games for the 76ers and is
averaging 16.0 points on 49.2 percent shooting over that span. Green is fully
recovered from a devastating knee injury a few years ago and gives Cheeks many
options in the backcourt. In 18 starts this season, Green is averaging 16.4
points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

Often-criticized center Samuel Dalembert is posting 11.7 points, 10.9 boards
and 2.34 blocks over the last 29 games for Philadelphia, which has been
getting impressive numbers from star guard/forward Andre Iguodala. Iguodala
posted his third triple-double of the season (fourth career) in a win over
Seattle on Wednesday.

Iguodala has scored 20 or more points in each of his last six games, and is
averaging 23.5 ppg during that stretch. Since February he has posted 20.9 ppg,
7.6 apg and 6.9 rpg.

PHI