Phillyburbs.com’s Tom Moore on the Sixers’ costly win: The 76ers’ third win in a row came at a cost. While Monday night’s 78-61 victory over the shorthanded Magic marked just the third time they’ve taken three straight this season, Sixers starting power forward Thaddeus Young strained his left hamstring while diving for a loose ball midway through the second quarter and didn’t return. Young is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday. The Sixers should have a better idea of how long he’ll be out at that time, but Doug Collins acted as if Young could be sidelined for weeks. “He’s going to be out for a while,” Collins said. “The only positive about that is the all-star break (Feb. 14-19) is coming up, so that hopefully will help a little bit.”
Liberty Ballers’ Brandon Lee on the Thad injury: He’s clearly the best member of an otherwise terrible Sixers front court, too. With Thad out, we’re facing the possibility of a Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown (OH GOD) starting rotation. May the Basketball Gods have mercy on our souls. The pairing of the Tin Towers (shout out to dweebowitz for the nickname) would be catastrophically bad. Other apt adjectives to describe how terrible that front court pairing would be are: abysmal, atrocious, brutal, damnable, deplorable, detestable, disastrous, dreadful, execrable, horrendous, horrible, stinky, rotten, abominable, vile, inadequate, scurrilous, villainous. For the Sixers sake, hopefully Lavoy Allen, who’s been kind of “meh”, can step up and prevent this horrible pairing from happening.
In Philadunkia, Jeff McMenamin writes that things could get ugly without Thad: The Sixers are in big trouble. Without Thaddeus Young, the Sixers frontcourt has gone from bad to non-existent. As undersized as Thad is for a power forward, at least his aggressiveness and athleticism could bail him out. Now? A heavy dose of Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen with a sprinkle of Arnett Moultrie. This is going to get ugly.
The700Level’s Andrew Unterberger: If this is a full tear, though, and Thad is out for two months (as Howard Eskin predicts he would be), that’s bad. Even if our long-promised All-Star center comes back after the Break as once anticipated, making a playoff push without Young would be a tremendous challenge, and one I imagine the team probably isn’t up for. Thad has replaced Iguodala as the Liberty Baller who does all the little things and whose contributions you can’t even fully appreciate until he’s out, and then you realize “Oh yeah, it was nice how he dove for all those loose balls, finished on the fast break, bodied up that opposing power forward, and such.” He’ll get an MRI today, which should tell us how bleak the outlook is for young Thad.
The Delaware County Daily Times’ Cristopher A. Vito compiles player reactions to Thad’s injury: Jrue Holiday: “Somebody’s got to step up. Obviously with the energy and intensity he brings, everybody’s got to step up a lot. I think Arnett (Moultrie) coming off the bench is going to give us a big lift. We have bigs like Spencer (Hawes), who played really well tonight, and Lavoy (Allen), who played really good defense. We all have to come together a little more.”
CSN’s John Gonzalez says trading Nikola Vucevic was a mistake: A year ago, Vucevic averaged 18.7 minutes in February. In March, his minutes dropped to 15.2 per game. In April, he was down to 13.9 minutes per game. And in the playoffs he played three minutes. Not per game. Three minutes total. Three minutes over 13 games in two postseason series. By the end of the year, he was buried so deep on the bench that a priest should have read him last rites.
And now look at him. Vucevic doesn’t just play every night, he plays well. He excels. He said he never doubted himself last year. He said he always knew he could play. Too bad the Sixers didn’t know it, too.