76ers Magic BasketballThe Sixers Achilles heels — terrible 3-point shooting and soft perimeter defense — reared their ugly heads tonight and the result was a big fat 91-78 L. The Sixers shot an unbelievable 4-18 from deep in this game. That for the record equates to 22%…22% !!!!! On the flip side, the Magic’s Rashard Lewis found himself open all night and was finally able to get it going from the outside — 3-5 from deep and 24 points total.

Additionally, the Sixers need to come up with an offensive game plan that will prevent the Magic’s Dwight Howard from shutting down the lane. For the second straight game, the Magic effectively used Howard to “rush” any Sixer, but especially Andre Iguodala, who put the ball on the floor and drove to the hole. The results for the Sixers were a flurry of off balance shots with a high degree of difficulty.

We just felt sick after this loss because the Sixers looked tired and disinterested at times and we do not have a good feeling about Thursday night at all.  

Some quick notes and thoughts :

DiLeo and the Sixers staff have done a nice job of designing a weak-side help strategy for Dwight Howard. They’re waiting until Howard puts the ball on the deck to send the weak-side help defense and apparently no one on the Magic is communicating with DH that the double-team is coming because Andre Miller stripped Howard of the ball several times and Willie Green also had some nice defensive plays from the weak-side.

Speaking of Willie Green…We had a Willie Green sighting! Green hit for 16 points and the Sixers wasted his efforts. If Willie G gives you 16, you have to get the W. The League’s competition committee should look into making that an actual rule.

We know Iguodala finished with 26 points on only 17 shots, which is a very solid night, but he did not score his first bucket until 9:01 left in the 2nd Q. You can not wait that long to get your star player going. DiLeo has to make an effort to get Iggy some easy buckets early in Game 6.

Scary moment when Theo’s leg got rolled up on from behind. Thoughts of Dikembe Mutombo’s injury from the other night ran through our heads.

Two missed shots stuck out in our minds tonight…The first came at the very end of the 1st half when DiLeo designed a play to get a 3-point shot Marshall whom he had just inserted into the game. The other came at the start of the 4th Q when the Sixers ran a set play to get Ivey a look from three. Ivey was also in the middle of his first trip down the court in some time. Both Marshall and Ivey were “cold” off the bench as they say and yet DiLeo called set plays for both of them. Those are  simply low percentage X&O moves in our opinion. We’d rather of have seen Young get both of those plays called for him in hopes of getting him going.

The Sixers did a nice job of getting to the rim early in the game tonight. When they went away from that early in the 3rd Q, the Magic made their run and pushed the lead out to 14 points.

Whatever is being said or done in the Sixers locker room during halftime needs to be halted ASAP. In this series, the Sixers come out of the halftime break flat and fall further behind every game.

How can Iguodala, Young and other younger, faster, more athletic Sixers not do a better job of guarding of Hedo? He’s a slow footed white guy with a weak handle, tw0 dribble moves in his arsenal and a tendency to fall in love with his jumper. Get up in his grill and stay there. Don’t bite on the ball fakes and stay on your feet. If by some crazy chance he manages to get by you, just chalk it up and hope that someone rotates to help. it seems like every time we turn around, Hedo has just clowned another Sixer. Thank goodness he still has not found his stroke and if he does we are toast.

Why haven’t the Sixers gone right at Howard in hopes of getting him in early foul trouble? Going right at a dominant big man like Howard and drawing fouls works in every level of basketball and yet the Sixers have not made a real effort to expose Howard’s tendency to at times commit stupid fouls. Howard was just amazing tonight (24 7 24) and we’re only going to see more of it in Game 6.  Thus far Howard sitting on the bench saddled with foul problems has proven to be the ONLY way to stop him. So we not go agressively at him and see what happens.

Dalembert is just awful. He commits ridiculous fouls, he is a mediocre rebounder, he’s soft, he gets called for goal tending too often and has no offensive game what so ever. It really is shame that he has not developed much at all. That elbow Howard gave him rattled big Sammy bad and he’ll be even more worthless (if that was possible) for the rest of the series. By the way we put the odds at 2-1 that Howard gets suspended for that blatant elbow. We think he should absolutely be suspended. However, Godfather Stern needs Howard andthe Magic in the second round, so it will be interesting to see if the League’s choir boy draws a one-gamer for that elbow.

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