For us this was arguably the worst L of the year for the 76ers and Eddie Jordan’s coaching deficiencies were never more obvious then tonight. Philadunkia’s home team blew an 18-point late third quarter lead against a Wiz squad that has struggled all year, had lost four straight and is knee deep in off-the-court drama thanks to Agent Zero’s gun carrying ways. Tonight’s loss is totally inexcusable and it should cost Eddie Jordan his job. Here’s why…
The loss to the Wizards tonight was significantly caused by the lineup and rotation decisions that Eddie Jordan went with in the second half. After a herky-jerky start to the game the Sixers starters (Iverson, Williams, Dalembert, Thad and AI9) settled in, played the bulk of the minutes in the first quarter and with some help from the bench late in the 1st Q, had the Sixers ahead 26-23 at the start of the 2nd. This is where the Sixers simply took over the game.
At the start of the second quarter, Jordan went with a lineup of Brand, Speights, Iguodala, Holiday and Green. That five quickly expanded the lead to 8 points (31-23). Jordan yanked Iguodala in favor of Carney at the 10:35 mark, a move we ordinarily wouldn’t agree with, but Carney has been so hot from deep lately tonight we thought, “What the hell, why not?” Sure enough that five of EB, Speights, Carney, Holiday and Green continued to extend the lead and when Holiday drilled a 3-ball with 6 minutes and change left in the 2nd Q, the Sixers lead was 13 points.
But coming out of the Washington timeout after Holiday’s three-ball, Jordan couldn’t help himself, he had to tinker and thus he sent Dalembert into the game for Speights. At the next timeout, Jordan continued his return to the starting lineup by putting Williams and Iverson back into the game for Green and Holiday. With a lineup of Brand, Dalembert, Williams, Iverson and Carney playing most of the remaining 2nd Q, the Sixers were able to maintain their lead but not really expand on it and led by 14 at the half.
Although the Sixers briefly held an 18 point lead in the early 3rd Q, this is where the crap hit the fan and the Sixers lost this game.
Instead of sticking with the rotations from the first half that built the Sixers a 14 point lead at the half, Jordan starting mixing and matching his lineups like he had never seen the Sixers play before. Brand played limited minutes in the second half and not a single tick after the 8:49 mark of the 4th Q. Holiday saw only about 4 minutes of action in the second half. Carney saw no run at all in the 2nd half. Finally, out of the blue, Jason Kapono made a rare appearance in the 3rd Q that lasted into the 4th. At one point during the late 3rd Q, when the Wiz were on the comeback trail, we looked up and the Sixers had a lineup of Iverson, Kapono, Green, Speights and Brand in the game. That unit redefines the saying defensively challenged.
Why did Jordan not stick with the lineups and players that had been so successful in the 1st half vs. the Wizards? We have no answer for you. Why did Jordan stay with terrible defensive lineups as the Wiz climbed back from the dead and the Sixers were in desperate need of stops? We don’t have a clue. Why did Jordan have Brand sitting on the bench late in the 4th Q when the Sixers needed easy buckets or trips to the FT line to stage a comeback of their own? We can’t figure it out.
What we do know is the series of bewildering decisions made by Jordan in the 2nd half of last night’s game was responsible for a huge comeback by the Wiz that featured a 21-6 run and resulted in a devastating loss for the Sixers.
Now he should be held responsible for those brutal decisons.