The 76ers are all the rage at the moment. They've only lost twice in the month of March and are climbing quickly up the standings. They played the Bulls at home tonight and absolutely ran them out of the building. Now, I know it was just the Bulls who have imploded as of late but still, the 76ers are looking very impressive indeed.

The fast break and 3-point shooting as everyone else has pointed are the main reasons why the 76ers have been so successful. But it is the way they are doing it on the defensive end that allows them to run their break. The 76ers don't run early offense, instead they rely on steals and rebounds to get easy possessions. They allow their defense to become their best offense. Here are a few possessions from the first half,

One of the things about early offense is the tendency to become lackadaisical on defense. If you watch Denver or Golden State, you'll know what I mean. The 76ers instead, almost only run off a rebound or steal exclusively. The advantage being that on a steal or rebound, it is much easier to score on the primary break and also safer than playing too fast and forcing plays in early offense.

In this screenshot, Andre Miller does a great job to save the ball to his teammate. The rest of the 3 players are already running the break,

Rebounding is key for any fast-break team. Here, Andre Miller rebounds down, pivots and makes a great outlet pass to his teammate who has leaked out on the play,


In coaching, you hear the saying that the team plays like its coach. 76ers Coach Maurice Cheeks was all about the defense, especially steals. So it is fitting that the 76ers play like their coach. The 76ers forced 14 Bulls TOs, 12 were steals. You can bet that most of those steals ended up as baskets.

Your team won't be a good fast break team unless your players practice it. For a brand new video that might be worth a good look check out Joe Mihalich's DVD on Practice Drills for the Fast Break. Joe Mihalich is the head coach at Niagara University. Be sure to head over to the X's and O's Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.