While the buzz of Allen Iverson’s return to Philadelphia on Monday has definitely worn off, the Sixers and those in the stands last night appeared to be suffering some lingering effects from the three day Iverson-palooza that has been going on here in Philadelphia. Wednesday night the 76ers came out flat, played inconsistently and dropped their 11th straight game in front of a weak 12,000+ fans who were so quiet you would have thought the Wachovia Center was a funeral home.
We really can NOT begin to express our frustration level with last night’s loss. During this 11-game losing streak, the Sixers have lost six games by five points or less, so there absolutely have been some Ws that have disappointingly slipped away from the Sixers. But we don’t remember being more confident that the Sixers would break this awful streak then we were right before last night’s tip off and that’s what rips our guts out about last night’s L.
The Pistons who were already missing Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince became further depleted when during warm ups, sharp shooter Ben Gordon decided that his ankle was bothering him too much to give it a go. We liked the Sixers chances when the Pistons were missing just Rip and Prince, but with addition of Gordon to their injured list, our confidence soared and we put a bottle of champagne on ice. The streak was about to end.
Only no one told Rodney Stuckey of our cork popping plans. Stuckey single handily kept the Pistons in the game all night with drives to the tin that either led to an easy bucket for him or a Piston teammate (DET scored 40 pts. in the paint) and / or trips to the FT line. Detroit’s third year guard from Eastern Washington blew by Sixers defenders like he was on the AND 1 Mixtape Tour, shredding the home team’s ole’ defense for 27 points (10-19 shooting) 8 dimes and 5 boards. He scored 10 points in the 4thquarter and at clutch time he basically demanded the rock. On his final drive to the hoop, he got stuffed by Andre Iguodala, but then Stuckey hustled to pick up the loose ball and poured in a short J with a little over 8 ticks left in the game to give the Pistons an 88-86 lead.
Down the other end of the floor, Iguodala’s wide open, deep 3-point attempt to win the game bricked of the back iron. A couple of FTs sealed the 90-86 win for Detroit.
The L was simply devastating, as on paper and in reality this game was there for the Sixers to win and kill this horrific loosing streak.
- Eddie Jordan insists that these end of game, do-or-die 3 PAs that the Sixers keep hoisting are drawn up plays. Since we can’t remember a game where one of those drawn up 3-ball attempts went in, maybe it’s time for a new plan of attack. Here’s a thought — When you’re down two at home and you have the ball let’s look to go inside to Brand and get an easy bucket or a sure fire trip to the free throw line. Better yet, let’s draw up a play that enables AI9 to get into the paint for a chippie lay in / runner or a trip to the FT line. Our point is let’s get into the lane and increase our chances of at least tying the game up.
- If as our head coach is going to continue to insist on 3pA in the above situation — down 2 with the ball & time running out — then the play has to be designed for Thad or Kapono who both shoot over 40% from 3-ball territory. It should be noted that Kapono wasn’t even on the floor for the Sixers final possession last night.
- Stuckey’s sidekick last night was Swedish sensation Jonas Jerebko. Who you ask? Well, we bet the Sixers all know his name now. The 2009 second round draft pick who has played pro ball in Sweden and Italy hit for 17 & 10 last night thanks to his nice mid-range game and ability fill the lane on the break. Jerebko would be great in the Princeton offense.
- Iverson looked fatigued last night from the jump. He was fading away on his J’s, he blew a lefty lay in the 1st half, he made only one of his first six FGA (3-10 overall) and he was slow to go after the loose ball that led to Stuckey’s winning bucket.
- The Sixers had a very balanced scoring attack last night as the entire first-five hit for double digits: AI9 (18), Brand (17), Sammy (17), Thad (11) & Iverson (11). However, we thought the team settled for a lot of outside J’s — especially Iguodala and Brand. Brand who had 13 in the 1st half, simply disappeared in the 2nd half as he was 1-4 with his jumper and 2-5 from the field overall.
- Detroit did a great job of controlling the pace last night. The Sixers were never really able to get their running game going (only 15 fast break pts.) and that’s exactly what the plan was for the Pistons – make this a half-court game and play tough defense.
- Jordan needs to stop with the “small lineup” of Green / Ivey / Brand / Kapono / Young that he insists on using. If you are going to play small, you can not have a back-court of Green and Ivey. Yes they are solid defensively, but that tandem doesn’t scare anyone at the other end.
- How about Sammy’s effort coming out of the half? A bucket, followed by another bucket plus the AND 1 to start the 3rdQ?!? Where did that come from? Also it is obvious that Sammy and Iverson have wasted no time getting back in sync on the court. In the two games Iverson has played so far, we believe he has thrown 6 lobs to Sammy, who has converted every time.
- The Sixers got crushed on the boards last night 45-32 (including 16 offensive rebs by DET), but that should not surprise anyone as rebounding has been an issue all year for the Sixers and in their first meeting in Detroit back on November 8th, the Pistons out worked the Sixers 51-39 on the glass, including 21 offensive boards.
- After the 6 minute mark of the 3rd Q, Detroit went on an 8-0 run that they were able to extend in to a 14-3 run. However, the Sixers did a decent job of surviving that stretch and only trailed by four (67-63) going into the 4th Q. They then opened the 4th with a 5-0 run to take a 68-67 lead.
- The Sixers were 2 for 7 on 3PAs in the 1st half and 6-18 overall.
- Kwame Brown had a season high 11 points last night largely thanks to 7-8 shooting from the FT line. Just as an FYI…Brown is a career 58% FT shooter and three times in his career has shot below 45% from the line for a season.