One of the things that will go down as a trademark of the 2009-10 season for the Philadelphia 76ers (21-34) is how wildly inconsistent this team has been all year. We can provide no better example of the roller coaster ride we have taken with the Sixers this season then the back-to-back games from this weekend.
First there was the Friday night thrashing of a very good San Antonio Spurs team down at the Wachovia Center. Then on Saturday night the Sixers soiled the bed in Chicago during an embarrassing loss against an improving, but still very beatable Bulls team.
Here’s a look at the ying and the yang; the ups and the downs; the terrific and the horrific of the Sixers efforts over the weekend against San Antonio and Chicago…
The 76ers scored 46 points in the paint vs. the San Antonio Spurs (SAS) and only 32 vs. the Chicago Bulls (CHI).
The Sixers got 38 fast break points vs. SAS and only 27 vs. CHI.
On Friday night they shot 51% from the field against the SAS thanks to driving the ball to the tin, directing the offense through Elton Brand and using their running game. On Saturday night the team shot 38% from the field vs. CHI in large part because of forced jumpers and overall bad shot selection.
In direct relation to the above point, against SAS the Sixers attempted only 8 threes whereas they shot 19 threes against CHI.
Against SAS Louis Williams (25 mins) was 7-11 on FGA, scoring 20 points. Versus CHI (24 mins.) Louis was 4-11 for 10 points.
They hit at an 87% clip from the charity stripe vs. SAS and then a lowly 72% vs. the Bulls.
Elton Brand was a beast on Friday night scoring 18 points (9-14 shooting) and grabbing 7 boards. In Chicago on Saturday night, Brand had only eight touches and 7 points (2-8 FGA).
The Sixers won the rebounding war 45-39 against SAS and then got handled 53-49 by CHI.
The Sixers looked good on defense Friday, heck even Louis Williams played some D and the result was that they held SAS to 41% shooting from the field and got 8 steals. On Saturday night the Sixers defense was non-existent and allowed the Bulls repeated layups, dunks and easy looks and as a result Vinny Del Negor’s team hit at a 46.3% clip on FGA and the Sixers had one steal — ONE.
The Sixers backcourt kept a lid on SAS starting point man Tony Parker (1-9; 2 pts.) and on Saturday they allowed Derrick Rose to go for 17 points (on 7-16 shooting), his backcourt mate Kirk Hinrich to score 17 and reserve guard Flip Murray to get 12.
On Friday night rookie Jrue Holiday played a career high 44 minutes. On Saturday he clocked less then 24 ticks.
76ers power forward Elton Brand summed it up best when he said post-game in Chicago, “It’s like, which team is going to show up?”.
After the upset win on Friday night we exchanged email Graydon Gordian of the Spurs blog 48minutesofhell.com and here is something very interesting Gordian had to say about the Sixers win over SAS, “…I mean this as a bad thing for the Spurs, I’m not sure it’s actually a big upset. Maybe historically, but honestly, SA has so overwhelmingly underachieved this year that there are no easy wins, particularly on the road. Not to take anything away from your win, it’s one to be proud of. All I’m saying is that, as a Spurs fan, it’s not a surprising loss.”
Is it possible we were feeling too good about the win over the road weary and if we study it a little closer, the inconsistent Spurs and thus should have been less shocked by the outcome against Chicago?