After the loss on Saturday night to Portland I decided to pass on the usual Rapid Reacts analysis of the game because I had nothing positive to write about the 76ers. In a string of bad L’s, the loss to the Blazers stood out as simply embarrassing – possibly the worst of the season.
And then last night’s debacle in Brooklyn happened, and the Sixers established a new low for this tanking team. So again, with nothing constructive to say, I will skip the Rapid Reacts format and go straight into rant mode.
Just to be clear, I remain firmly committed to the tanking process. I realize that the key to a better future for the 76ers relies heavily on securing a top 5 pick in the 2014 Draft. So I was prepared to lose a ton of games in 2013-14.
Still, I didn’t sign up for the garbage I have witnessed from the Sixers in their last two contests.
Three statements before I begin this rant:
1) I realize the Nets and especially the Blazers are a much, much better team than the 76ers.
2) I realize that MCW – arguably the Sixers’ best player – did not take the floor in either of the last two losses. (FYI… The 76ers are 1-10 without the rookie point guard, who remains sidelined due to a skin infection on his right knee. I guess Neosporin isn’t available in the Sixers’ training room.)
3) I realize that trade rumors around this roster have kicked into high gear and that process is probably having an impact on the team’s play.
But to be honest, even the combination of all three of those items cannot fully explain or excuse just how bad the Sixers have been in their last two outings.
Now, on with the rant…
When we look back at the 2013-14 season, Philadunkia nation may remember the second half of Saturday night’s game vs. the Portland Trailblazers as the point where the season of the tank officially took a nose dive into unwatchable territory.
Anyone who has been following this team closely could see this cliff dive coming. Since the “injury” to Michael Carter-Williams that has kept him off the court for the last 7 games, the Sixers level of play has steadily gotten worse. Horrific defensive play, as well as a stagnant, and turnover prone offense have been the main issues.
The defense, one of the worst I can remember since I started watching the NBA twenty-five years ago will be the whipping boy for this post.
Coming into the Blazers game on Saturday night, the Sixers had lost five in a row, 9-of-their-last 10, and own one of the worst D’s in the League. So I wasn’t expecting that the Sixers would go out and upset Portland, one of the best teams in the Association. However, I was expecting the home team to compete at both ends of the floor and they didn’t even come close to meeting that expectation on Saturday night.
The Sixers surrendered the League’s highest point total this season in a 139-105 loss to Portland at the Wells Fargo Center. While kicking the crap out of the 76ers, the Trail Blazers set a franchise record with 21 3-pointers and hit 56.8% of their shots from deep. Portland had wide open, I mean WIDE OPEN, looks all night. They capitalized on those opportunities.
“This is one of those games where they were making all their shots and all we can do sometimes is throw our hands up,” Thad Young said after the Blazers game. “It’s like, `What else is there to do?”
Thad — We love you here at Philadunkia, but I have to strongly disagree with your analysis. The problem wasn’t that the Blazers were “hot” or “in the zone” on Saturday night. The problem is that the Sixers’ defense is beyond awful and thus every team that plays against Brett Brown and Company “makes all their shots”. Hell, my 5th grade CYO team would light up the Sixers from deep.
As evidence of this idea I present last night’s game against the Nets in Brooklyn. I thought that after getting humiliated by the Blazers, that this young and at times tenacious roster would show some pride and put up a good fight vs. the Nets – a team that ranks 22nd in the League in scoring (96.8 per) and 19th in three pointers made (7 per).
I was wrong.
The Sixers fell quickly behind 6-0; then 12-5 and at 23-11 in the 1st quarter this game was over.
However, in the 3rd quarter last night’s game went from over, to U-G-L-Y. Brooklyn guard Joe Johnson put on an AND1 mix-tape style shooting display in the third quarter that exposed the Sixers for what they are — completely and utterly clueless on defense (In scheme, personnel, technique and fundamentals.).
Johnson, who is averaging 16 points per game this season, was unconscious in the 3rd quarter. He scored 29 in the period (most of his career) on 8-of-10 3-point shooting. The Nets other players were deferring the rock to Johnson on every offensive trip in the 3rd quarter. Thanks to Johnson’s hot hand, at one point the Nets led by 42 in that stanza.
Did anyone on the Sixers step up and attempt to lockdown Johnson? Nope.
Did any member of the Sixers roster attempt to slow the Brooklyn guard down by delivering a hard (but legal) foul on Johnson? Nope.
Instead, the Sixers had swallowed their pride and mailed this one in. Just like they did against Portland.
Overall Johnson finished with a season high 37 points on 10 3-pointers, most in the NBA this season.
As I mentioned previously, on the season Brooklyn is a team that averages seven 3PM per game (SEVEN!!!). Last night the Nets finished 21 of 35 from behind the arc (60%) against the 76ers pathetic defense. Both are franchise records for the Nets.
As a team the 7-6 are allowing 10+ 3-pointers per game. That’s dead last in the League and on a pace that would easily set an NBA record.
Here are some more fun facts on the Sixers defense…
This one is from ESPN Stats and Info: The Sixers’ last two opponents have scored 269 points and hit 42 3-pointers — the latter an NBA record. In consecutive games, Philadelphia has allowed its opponent to set a franchise record for 3s.
I wonder where I have read about the trend of opponents establishing franchise records and personal “bests” against the 76ers before?
Oh yeah, right here on this site.
Also from ESPN Stats & info…The 2013-14 high mark Johnson passed last night passed of nine 3-pointers made this season was established by Jeremy Lin and Stephen Curry. Guess which team those players set the former season mark against?
That’s right, the 76ers.
So congratulations Sam and Brett, the franchise is on its way to losing a slew of games this season. The plan is working just as you designed it. Again, I don’t mind the losing as I understand the bigger picture. The issue for me is that if the Sixers keep playing in the manner they have the last two nights, they’re going to lose a lot more than games.
If they keep mailing it in like this, the 76ers are going to lose the interest of Philadunkia nation as well.
Follow us on Twitter @philadunkia.