It's been a while, so this might get ugly. I'll probably spurt off into a couple of tangents. Bare with me.
Today, December 11th, marks the end of my finals which means I have a month free of papers, exams and all the stuff that goes along with college. Yes! The past week or has felt like hibernation. I've barely turned on my TV. I've barely used my computer for pleasure (I love to re-read my post to find dirty sounding sentences, and leave them in regardless). I've been buried in papers, finals, work and working out. Last night I weened my way back into the sports world and it was like I never left. The Sixers continued their disappointing season with another loss (which I'll get to in a second) and today I reluctantly turned on ESPN and find out Romo and T.O. are having a conflict. Awesome. I don't like ESPN anymore and I have my reasons.
Anyway, today begins the four-week vacation I've been anticipating forever. My work hours will be bumped back up to 40 a week and I'm going to try and hit the gym before the holidays, so I'll still be a busy dude, but not nearly as busy as I have been for the past week or so. Why do you care? Well, you might have noticed Liberty Ballers has been lonely during finals, but I'm here to tell you that I'm going to be posting much like I was before finals and I'm going to do everything in my power to improve the site before school starts again. I'm going to attempt to add new features, possibly a new writer (Please don't ask me; I'll ask you), a skilled graphic designe who's also a Sixer fan (That's going to be difficult) and whatever else I can think of along the way.
The only bump in the road during next four weeks will be the week of December 21-27. I'll be in Connecticut, yeah Connecticut, celebrating Christmas with my family. I'll probably bring my laptop, but I know from experience, every year, the week that I'm there usually means no TV, computer or sports for me. I'll do my best to update the site everyday, but I can't promise anything. This could possibly be an audition for a writing position with Preview/Recap FanPosts. The games I'll miss are @ Boston and @ Denver.
Now to the Sixers, who sit at 9-13. Here are some observations I have what's been going on lately.
Andre Iguodala has really been rounding into form as of late. His line for the month of December looks like this: 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 53% shooting and 79% from the foul line. He's still turning the ball over too much and shooting poorly from beyond the arch, but I'll take 21-8-5 from Iggy any day. His last game was the most impressive. He nearly played a perfect game, guarding LeBron, taking smart jumpers, making smart passes, limiting the turnovers and rebounding the basketball. Hopefully this trend continues.
(Random: I still haven't turned off ESPN, and Thank God I didn't because I just got marriage advice from Michael Wilbon, "Threesomes keep it interesting." Thanks Wilbon.)
Andre Miller is looking like the player who balled himself into a career year last season. I'd bust out some numbers for you (actually I probably wouldn't because I'm lazy), but why do that when I can just hook you up with a link from my boy, Brian's website. Miller's getting his legs under him.
Cheeks is fighting for his job by changing rotations and changing starting lineups. He's done a few things I've liked, like moving Thad to the bench and Willie into the starting lineup. Don't get me wrong, I'm the biggest Willie Green hater there is, but this lineup is beneficial because it allows for the Lou-Thad combination to come off the bench and provide spark to the second unit and it allows Andre Iguodala to play his natural position. And I don't know if you've noticed, but Iggy at small forward is a lot better than Iggy at shooting guard. I'm also a fan of Cheeks playing Donyell more. He's shown he can rebound, play solid defense and shoot the three. He deserves to be in the rotation. 15-20 minutes should do the trick.
Speaking of Thaddeus, he's really struggled lately. He's finally starting to look like the 21-year-old, second year player that he really is. In December Thad is averaging 8 points, shooting 33% and 14% from downtown.
Elton Brand has been injured and I hope that's the reason he looked like Reggie Evans last night. Six points on 27% shooting and seven turnovers is not going to cut it. He keeps saying he's healthy, but he looked far from it against Cleveland last night.
Sammy D sucks and is slowly losing his job.
Lou Williams is back to the old Lou Williams. He's scoring, he's playing a better point guard and he's doing most of his damage in crunch time--the fourth quarter. He's shooting 48% and scoring 14 points a game in December. He's not necessarily shooting jumpers better, but he's getting to the hoop and finishing around the rim. His free throws attempts have also doubled.
Speights fever has tailed off. He's still a monster talent, but he's going through some growing pains. I'm not too upset about his playing time, but he should definitely get the nod over Theophilus Ratliff in most scenarios.
The Sixers are 9-13 after 22 games and I've revised my season expectations. My expectations are now much like last years. If we get in the playoffs we do and if we don't we don't. If we get in and make some noise, I'll be geeked, but I don't expect the Sixers to contend for a championship anytime soon. For the last 3/4 of the season I want to see growth from players like Lou, Iggy, Thad and Speights. I want to see the coaching situation to be resolved. I want to see one of Ed's "plans" put into effect, whatever that might be. And I want to see the Sammy D, Andre Miller situations resolved.
Tomorrow night they get another shot at King James and the Cavs, in Cleveland. Good luck Sixers; your going to need it.