The 76ers are now 13-28 at the halfway pole of the 2009-10 season and after last night’s uninspired performance against the Portland Trailblazers, we here at Philadunkia have officially raised the white flag on this season for the Sixers.
There will be no turn around, no winning streak that has the Sixers climbing the standings and no push for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff race. Nope, not this year and certainly not with this group. They don’t have the heart or the X&O’s required for such a drastic revival.
Last night we finally conceded that a turn around will not happen in 2009-10 because after their embarrassing loss in Minnesota on Monday, arguably the worst L of the season, the Sixers should have come out inspired, hyped, jacked up, looking for blood; then gone out and shut down Andre Miller and handled their business vs. the Blazers. Whatever you want to call it, the Sixers didn’t have it last night and even after Blazers phenom Brandon Roy left the game with an injury, Philadunkia’s home team still couldn’t find it. The result was a 98-90 “so many missed opportunities” loss.
The best part of it all (sarcastic overtones here), was that Andre Miller absolutely worked the Sixers last night and in the process kicked some dirt in Ed Stefanki’s face.
Here’s all you need to know about last night’s game…
The Sixers came out in the 1st quarter and played decent, but again uninspired basketball. The result was that they trailed opening the 2nd quarter 22-21. The Sixers inability to come out and jump all over the Portland allowed the injury depleted and travel weary Blazers to find their legs and get things going in the 2nd. They held a 10 point lead with two minutes remaining in the Q and led at half-time by five.
In the 3rd Quarter it was, as our headline reads, “Miller Time”. The 33-year old former 76ers point man single handily kept Portland in the game by scoring 14 of his 24 points in the 3rd Q. Except for Jrue Holiday, not one Sixer had the skills or the stones to stop ‘Dre during the period. But some crazy substitutions and the Sixers constantly switching defense didn’t allow Holiday to guard Miller exclusively and so Miller frequently found himself with Iverson or Louis guarding him. MISMATCH. Miller’s final line : 24 points (8-17 on FGA), 3 assists and 4 turnovers. For the record, Louis Williams, the man who was crowned by the 76ers brass as Miller’s replacement, had 11 points on 4-10 shooting and handed out 7 dimes, but did not play a single tick in the 4th Q. Those minutes went to rookie Jrue Holiday who finished with 10 points (4-7 on FGA) 3 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 turnovers. When you combine their numbers, the Sixers PG tandem of Holiday and Louis may have an edge over Miller’s performance in last night’s game, but it sure didn’t seem like the case as you watched the contest live.
Portland’s Jerryd Bayless owned the 4th quarter. Of course it helped that he was being guarded by a still gimpy Allen Iverson. Bayless scored 14 of his 18 in the 4th and was basically a blur to the Sixers defense. In fact, Bayless was so “hot” that the Blazer guard put up his own 10-0 run during a stretch in the 4th. It would have helped if Eddie Jordan had gone to a defensive minded backcourt of Willie Green and Holiday or possibly even Royal Ivey and Holiday in attempt to cool off the Portland back-court of Bayless and Miller. Instead Jordan decided to stick with the limping Iverson because, “Allen was within his minutes; Allen is here to make a difference,” said the Sixers head coach.
- The fellas over at the700level.com always do a great job covering Philly sports and late yesterday Matt P. posted an awesome eye witness account of Sammy Dalembert’s return trip from Haiti. It’s hard to believe that Sammy is playing the best basketball of his career given the situation in his home country. His tear filled post game press conference was truly gut wrenching television to watch.
- ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Sixers are “growing more determined to make a deal before the deadline” . That’s not surprising to us as yesterday we posted an interview with ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler and Legler said the Sixers absolutely will make a big move before the deadline. Legler also said that the Sixers miss Andre Miller badly, which was a point that was well supported by last night’s game.