When you look at the list of issues the 76ers (15-30) had to overcome last night to have a chance at tying their game vs. Milwaukee with :08 left on the clock, you’ll realize it’s a stinking miracle they were able to stay in the game that long.
Despite a very sloppy 1st quarter, questionable personnel decisions by Eddie Jordan, a poor shooting night by Andre Iguodala (4-11; 1-5 on 3PA) and Allen Iverson (3-10), Jrue Holiday’s first bad night in forever, 18 turnovers and horrid three point shooting (2-14 for 14.3%); the Sixers somehow managed to keep this game close and had a chance to tie or win on their final possession. That’s when the final knockout blow was delivered to the Sixers hopes of winning this game and it came in the form of an Elton Brand missed bunny.
RECAP via Philadunkia Notes:
Honestly it’s a damn shame that Brand missed an easy two and then took an ill-advised follow up shot, thus sealing the Sixers fate last night. Up until that moment, EB had been an absolute beast. Brand scored a season high 26 points on 12-20 shooting and swiped 10 boards as well. We’d argue that if the zebras had not let last night’s game turn into a wrestling match down on the blocks (both ways) that Brand easily would have scored 30+, thanks to a few more trips to the charity stripe. Brand bulled his way to the hoop at times, hit soft 12-footers and crashed the boards with authority. Last night, EB looked like the All-Star caliber played that ran the floor for the Clippers years ago.
More on the last Sixers possession…Was anyone else shocked that the Sixers came out of the timeout and ran a set play at clutch time that produced an easy inside look instead of a long range jumper? We were stunned. It was the first time we can remember Jordan going that route all year. Which is what makes EB’s miss even more painful.
The Sixers out rebounded the Bucks by a large margin (51-35) and got better production off the bench (34-29), yet still lost this game.
The Bucks did a great job of controlling the pace of the game vs. the Sixers and turning it into a half-court contest. Last night the Sixers only scored 12 fast break points.
The Sixers interior defenders did a nice job of keeping Andrew Bogut in check. Bogut who is having far and away his best season (15.9 & 10 per night), was limited to 11 points on 3-9 shooting against the Sixers last night.
Again the Sixers shot 2-14 on 3PAs, but what’s even more disturbing then the lack of made buckets is that the fact that most of those 3PAs were wide open, uncontested looks. Jrue Holiday made the Sixers first 3PA of the night at the 6:23 mark of the 3rd Q.
Speaking of Holiday, the rookie did not have his best offensive game of the year as he struggled with his shot and had 3 turnovers. However there were two things we did like regarding Holiday last night. First was the idea of having him post up the much smaller Brandon Jennings (6-0 tall) during the 1st Q. We’d like to see more match-up style “set plays” like that from Eddie Jordan. The other thing we liked about Holiday last night was his defense on Jennings. Holiday held the Bucks rookie scoring machine to zero points on 0-3 shooting in the first quarter.
Which lead us to our next two points…Why was Jennings frequently being guarded by Allen Iverson in the 3rd quarter, the quarter in which Jennings really got cooking and scored 8 points. Why on the Bucks final possession did Jordan remove Louis Williams from the game and insert Willie Green to guard Jennings? We agree with Jordan that you need to make a defensive substitution for Williams at that moment and Green is an upgrade over Louis, but Holiday is your best on ball defender and that’s the player you send in on that situation, not Green. Jennings promptly blew by Green and put in a floater for the go ahead bucket (90-88).
The Bucks shot 30% from the field in the first Q and then 50% or better in the 2nd, 3rd and 4thquarters.
Andre Iguodala had a nightmare game last night. We already talked about his 4-11 shooting (9 points), but did you realize that AI9 did not even attempt a shot until the 5:00 mark of the 2nd Q. He fired up three jumpers from that point until the half and missed all three. The Sixers even called a few iso post-up plays for Iggy when he was guarded by smaller Bucks defenders, but AI9 was unable to do anything with those mismatch opportunities. Iguodala finally got his first bucket with 9:50 remaining in the 3rd. How does that type of scoring drought happen to the front office’s self proclaimed “star player” against a bad defensive team like the Bucks?
It’s often been said that the NBA is a game of runs and that was proven true again last night. The Sixers had a 14-2 run in the 2nd Q. The Bucks had a 12-2 run to start the 4th and the Sixers reeled them back in late in the 4th with an 8-0 run of their own. That run was a direct result of some decent defense the Sixers played in that portion of the 4th.
We would have liked the idea of inserting Jason Kapono into the game during the 3rd Q better if he had played a single tick in the last three weeks. At that point in the game, the Bucks had started collapsing on the hot-handed Brand in the post and as we mentioned earlier the Sixers were missing wide open looks, so Jordan’s theory behind sending Kapono into the game was solid. Unfortunately Kapono was rusty (0-2), which Jordan had to know, so why he didn’t come back with Thad for that stretch is beyond us.
Neither Jrue Holiday nor Allen Iverson played in the 4th quarter and Thaddeus Young received only 18 minutes of burn despite shooting 6-6 on FGA.
With the Sixers down two at 87-85 and 2:12 remaining in the game, Iguodala who as we stated was ice cold on the night, launched an off-balance, guarded three ball. It was a perfect example of the poor shot selection that has plagued the Sixers all season.
How about the crowd of face painters and flag wavers underneath the one basket last night in Milwaukee? We have to give them credit for their energy and dedication, but the Euro-soccer-horns they were using are so annoying. You can thank the Bucks internationally flavored roster for that nerve racking sound you heard all night.