Last night the 76ers wasted several things down at the Wachovia Center that should have produced a momentum building W for the home team instead of their 10th straight loss.
First they wasted a gutty effort by Allen Iverson, who after not having touched a basketball in over thirty-days, hauled a ridiculous 37 minutes of playing time last night. The Sixers wasted a 31 point night by Andre Iguodala who is playing some of his best ball right now. We wasted a rare off night by Carmelo Anthony, who was 5-21 from the field. Philadunkia’s team also wasted their first real home court advantage of the season as 20,664 strong were in full throat down at the Wachovia Center. Finally, the 76ers wasted a nine point 3rd Quarter lead and boy did that disappear in a hurry.
Who or what is to blame for all of the wasting that the Sixers did last night? Well it’s the same culprit that has been loosing games for us all season and if you read Philadunkia on a regular basis, then you already know the answer…the Sixers nonexistent defense killed us again.
The Sixers ole’ on-ball defense allowed the Nuggets, specifically Chauncey Billups and Ty Lawson, to knife through the lane like it was their God given right. The Sixers inability to cover Denver’s outside shooters one-on-one or through solid defensive rotations allowed the Nuggs to knock down 61% of their 3PAs (11-18). When they needed stops in the third quarter to preserve their lead and end Denver’s 17-0 run or in the fourth quarter to cut into the Nuggs lead, they simply didn’t have a clue how to make it happen.
Allen, for our lack of defensive prowess which ruined your big return to Philadelphia we must apologize. You deserved better. Unfortunately defense has been an issue here in Philadelphia for the last two seasons and in 2009-10 it’s hit rock bottom. So you may want to get used to seeing opponents with uncontested lay-ups and wide open 3PAs, as defense does not appear to be a priority with this organization right now. Additionally, players with the heart and guts to make lockdown-D happen on their own, guys like Aaron McKie, George Lynch, Theo Ratliff and Dikembe Mutumbo are NOT as Rick Pitino once said, “walking through those doors.”
- We’re not down on Jrue Holiday and we like his long range potential, but we believe now as we did on Draft Day 2009, that Ty Lawson would have had a bigger immediate impact on this Sixers team. Lawson’s effort (12 points, 6 rebs., 4 dimes) off the Nuggs bench last night only strengthened that belief.
- We believe the 76ers organization blew the player intros last night by not announcing Iverson last. The crowd did not get to give AI the salute they wanted to and that he deserved. Plus by going last, AI9, who is playing out of his mind right now, was completely overshadowed by the warm welcome Iverson received. The sequence wasn’t fair to either player.
- Even though he was gassed at times, Iverson’s mere presence on the floor provided numerous open looks for Iguodala (31 pts.) and Thad (21 points). The even better news is that both players capitalized on those new opportunities as both shot close to or above 50% from the field.
- It was nice to see Elton Brand getting significant minutes last night (38). He responded with a double-double, 10 points and 13 rips. EB’s extended minutes and Sammy D’s monster night helped the Sixers win the rebounding battle (47-41) for once.
- Last night’s packed house was the first sellout crowd in Philadelphia all season.
- The Sixers owned a 65-60 lead with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter. The Nuggets went on a 17-0 run to take a commanding 77-65 lead with 8:27 left in the game. The run was keyed by the Nuggs hitting 10-for-11 shooting to open the fourth quarter and by Ty Lawson who scored 10 of his overall 12 points between the 1:57 mark of the 3rd Q and the end of the game.
- Samuel Dalembert was great last night with 8 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots, but we still marvel at his ability to turn the ball over in big moments.
- Chauncey Billups is one of the best point men in the League, we all know that, but what is so amazing about Billups is his versatility. He can beat you with his quickness for easy buckets or to drop a dime. He can hit the 3-pointer at an alarming rate. And as he showed last night vs. the much smaller Iverson, he can simply manhandle smaller guards with his back-down game. We question if he gets the recognition he deserves as an elite NBA PG.