The return of Jodie Meeks to the starting backcourt for the stretch run might not have been the big move that 76ers fans were waiting for.
Many of them still want to find out what the team has in Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft.
But as the Sixers try to lock down the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference over the remaining four games, don't expect coach Doug Collins to tinker much with the lineup.
Going into the weekend, the Sixers (32-30), who play at hot Indiana (41-22) Saturday, hold a three-game lead over idle Milwaukee (29-33) for the final seed. While it is still possible that the Sixers could overtake New York (33-29) for the seventh spot, the Knicks hold the tiebreaker over the Sixers.
A win at Indiana would lock up a playoff berth for the Sixers, winners of just three of their last 10 games after a Wednesday win at woeful Cleveland.
Now would be the perfect time for Meeks to find the range on his jumper, which has been missing since he returned to the starting lineup alongside Jrue Holiday on April 10. In those six games, Meeks has made just 9 of 32 field goals (.281 percent). He has been even worse from long range, making just 1 of his last 17 three-point shots.
Collins continues to point to Meeks' ability to space out defenders with his shot as the reason for starting Meeks, and Meeks is important to the offense. The Sixers are 17-7 when he makes two or more three-pointers in a game. When he makes one or none, they are just 14-23.
"He gets us some spacing on the floor, something that we don't have if we start Evan in that spot right now," Collins said Friday after practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "So, you know, I'm going to hang with what I'm doing here. It might be that I might have to go to the bench a little bit sooner. If I have to do that, then I'll do that. But I don't want to change what we're doing right now."
The 41st pick by the Bucks in the 2009 draft, Meeks, traded to the Sixers on Feb. 18, 2010, started 64 games last season for the Sixers, averaging 10.5 points on .425 shooting. He has appeared in all 62 games this season with 46 starts, averaging 8.1 points on .413 shooting. He's making .373 percent of his three-pointers.
Meeks said he was surprised when Collins notified him that he was going back into the starting lineup a little more than a week ago. But he added that he's confident that he can provide the Sixers with the offensive threat the team needs him to be.
Collins has drawn criticism for his reluctance to pull Meeks from games when he struggles. However, Collins sounded as though a cold-shooting Meeks could find himself on a shorter leash these last few games.
"The key is relaxing," Meeks said. "I don't need to worry about my shots. As long as they are good shots I have confidence that I'll make them. Whether I miss 20 in a row or make 20 in a row, I don't really think about it. I just try to get as many shots as I can, which is hard to do sometimes in my role. But I try to play my role as hard as I can.
"We have four games left, and we are trying to win as many as we can to try to make a good playoff run. I'm embracing this. I'm a guy that is looked upon to knock down shots, and that's kind of how I'm judged. If I'm not knocking down as many shots, then obviously my minutes are going to be down."