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Monday, January 19, 2009

Three Point Shooting: The Reason Behind the Sixers' Latest Success

The Sixers' three point shooting woes date farther back than just the beginning of this season. It can be attributed to when they traded Kyle Korver to the Jazz in what appeared to be a straight salary dumping. Korver was, and still is, one of the best three point shooters in the NBA and his departure left the Sixers without a true scorer from outside.

Therefore, it was no surprise this season that the Sixers were last in the NBA in three point shooting through the first few months of the season. It was also little surprise that because of their lack of shooting from the outside, they were losing a lot of games. The top three point shooting teams are also some of the best teams in the NBA: Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Hornets, and the Portland Trailblazers.

Meanwhile, joining the Sixers at the bottom of the team three point shooting category through December were the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Washington Wizards, teams that are at the bottom of the barrel as far as records are concerned.

But as of late, the Sixers have changed there ways. They have started winning first of all, as they currently ride a seven game winning streak which has improved their record to 20-20 and are .500 for the first time since late November. But they have also started shooting the three ball a lot better.

The Sixers have raised their three point shooting percentage from 29% through December to 33% through January 19. Instead of being last in the NBA in three point shooting, they are now tied for 25th.

Andre Iguodala has been the main player igniting this three point scoring surge. On the season, he is shooting just just under 30% from behind the arc. But in his last five games, Iguodala is 14 for 23 for almost 61% from three point land. This includes three of four against the Atlanta Hawks on January 11 and four of six against Portland on January 14.

Iguodala has scored at least 20 in 10 of his last 12 games and has raised his scoring average from 13 points per game through December to 17.5 points per game currenty.

But the three point shooting success cannot just be contributed to Iguodala. Lou Williams has made 6 of 17 for 35% in his last five games and four of eight for 50% in his last two games. Royal Ivey has made three of eight in his last five games getting limited minutes off the bench.

To those worried about how Elton Brand's return will affect the surging Sixers, his play should only help the Sixers newly found three point shooters. If he is able to attract double teams inside it should leave an open jump shooter on the outside. But the difference between the beginning of the season and now is that instead of missing the shot, the shooter will sink it.

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