The 76ers blew at 17 point first quarter lead, wasted a another balanced scoring night (AI9 – 24, Brand – 19, Iverson – 20, Thad – 15) as well as a solid night on the glass (Sixers out rebounded Houston 52-40) and dropped their 12th straight game (3rd straight home loss), 96-91 to the Houston Rockets.
Just a couple quick thoughts on last night’s L as it’s getting too depressing in Philadunkia nation to write much about it anymore :
- The 76ers came out with great energy and jumped all over the Rockets thanks to what appeared to be a dedicated effort to score the ball in the paint. Buckets on the blocks, alley-oops, short pull-ups and drives to the tin combined with numerous trips to the FT line pushed the Sixers out ot a 27-10 lead with 2:44 left in the 1st Q. That’s exactly the game plan we hoped the Sixers would come out with against the smaller Rockets and it worked.
- Then the Sixers went 1 for their next 8 on FGA and included in that cold spell were ill advised Js as well as several missed bunnies. That stretch provided the Rockets with the glimmer of hope they needed to claw back into the game and that’s what they did slowly but surely through the 2nd quarter. Good teams, especially good teams playing at home do not blow 17 point 1st quarter leads. That’s because good teams realize when they have their foot on an opponent’s throat. They turn up the effort, crush their competitive spirits and deliver the knock out blow. However, one problem with the Sixers is that they don’t have a nasty streak like all good teams do. Some athletes also refer to it as “a killer instinct”. Outside of Iverson, who has not asserted himself as a leader on this team yet, the Sixers are collectively a bunch of nice choir boys and that typically doesn’t equal success in the NBA. There’s no Paul Pierce, no Bruce Bowen, no Kobe Byrant on this team. It’s not about skill level here or run-ins with the law either. We’re talking about the intangibles: attitude, desire, heart and competitiveness to name a few that seperate good players from great players. That unique something inside an athlete that makes him hate losing more then he likes winning. That edge that tells everyone you don’t want to just win, you want to embarrass your opponent. That look that tells your opponent you’re willing to do whatever it takes to win this game. The Sixers don’t have that edge and good teams do. Iguodala all but admitted it in his post game comments when he said, “We’re not mad enough (about the 12-game losing streak). We need to get mad and then go out there and play mad.”
- The string of jumpers that Willie Green hoisted up and missed (1-7 on the night) between the 2:30 and 1:11 marks of the 4th quarter were horrific. In both cases, the Sixers were down 5 points with the ball and had a chance to make it a one possession game. A veteran with WG’s experience has to know time, score and role in that situation and realize there are better options on the floor then himself.
- But it’s not all Green’s fault. Eddie Jordan deserves a big share of the blame. Green never should have been in the game at that point. Jordan kept Green in the game instead on inserting the hot shooting Thaddeus Young (7-11, 15 points) into the lineup during clutch time. Why was Young on the bench? Who knows!? Does anyone have a clue how or why Jordan makes the lineup, playing time and substitution decisions he makes on a nightly basis? Does Jordan himself have a clue? We doubt it and that lack of consistency is another big problem for the Sixers. None of the players on this team knows their role because there is no consistency in Jordan’s substitution patterns, his distribution of minutes and his lineups. On successful NBA teams, every single player knows their role which is dictated to them by the decisions of head coach.
- On the final Houston possession, Aaron Brooks absolutely committed a self-pass violation. No Sixer touched the ball after Brooks went air born, threw away the rock and then picked it up again in order to the hit the game sealing shot. Philadunkia nation, we got robbed on that one.
- The Sixers bench, a shining light during 2009-10 until the last couple of games, got out scored 46-6 last night. Interesting to note that Carl Landry (20 points) who we warned you about in the “Fo’ with the Foes” preview piece we posted on Houston and Chase Budinger (15points) a rookie several draft experts thought the Sixers would select at the 2009 draft were key to that huge gap.
- Gutsy effort by an obvioulsy not yet in game shape Iverson in the fourth (12 points), especially considering he has a stress reaction in his shin.
NBA.com has the highlights of Sixers vs. HOU