There’s really not much to say about the embarrassment the 76ers (22-37) suffered through on the court last night against the Orlando Magic. Willie Green summed it up best when he said post-game that last night was, “an old fashion butt whoopin.”
The depleted Sixers looked tired and disinterested vs. the Magic and the result was a debacle of a loss. Their defense was horrible last night. In fact it was so bad that somehow defensive standout Jrue Holiday contracted the “ole’ virus” that has plagued the Sixers locker room this season. The offense went completely off the rails as well, as the Sixers unwisely tried to match Orlando 3-ball for 3-ball. The coaching, well it was at its usual suspect level. In short all of the ills that have destroyed this Sixers season had key roles in the blowout loss to the Magic last night.
But what happened on the court Monday evening is not the real story that came out of the Wachovia Center last night. No the real story is the drama that unfolded when Eddie Jordan decided he was going to throw his players under the proverbial bus and then grab the keys to that bus and run his team over a few times for good measure. It was a desperate move by a head coach that is desperate to hold onto his job or at least save face. In the end, we are willing to bet that the only thing Jordan’s tirade did last night was move up the date of his eventual dismissal.
“Defensively, when they made shots, we just didn’t respond in a passionate way. We lost the passion to compete. We saw some poor body language and in a couple of timeouts we addressed it. I wasn’t going to have it. I addressed it a couple of times, I addressed it just now [after the game]. It’s leadership, or lack thereof…”
That quote appears to be a not so well disguised shot at Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand who have been propped up by this organization as the leaders of the 2009-10 Sixers. Against our hopes, wishes and dreams, but to his credit, Andre Iguodala took the high road when asked about Jordan’s comments, saying,
“If you start to play the blame game, it really leads to a dead end and doesn’t really go anywhere. I just go out there and keep doing what I’m doing my whole career, which is playing basketball the right way.”
To us this was a wise but disappointing response from AI9. Iguodala has always been a leader by example rather then words and we have no problem with that type of leadership as it works well in many basketball aspects. However just this once we’d like to have seen AI9 verbally defend himself and his teammates against the critical comments of a lame duck coach. Something as simple as, ‘This team made the playoffs last year with the same players and leadership. This year we have a new coach and we’re 15 games under .500.’, would have gone long way towards earning some creditability with his teammates, us and Sixer fans in general. But Iguodala passed on the chance to bury Jordan, maybe because keeping it classy is his style or maybe because he knows a dead man walking when he sees one.
Jordan’s post game gems continued with this comment…
“It’s contagious . . . When one guy’s miserable, it’s contagious throughout the team. You just can’t have it. Someone has to stand up and rally the troops, the teammates. The coaches are certainly trying to do it every timeout and every time we get a chance. But it doesn’t come from the coaches. We saw the same thing last year during the playoffs. We saw it the first game of the season. It’s just a carbon copy.”
This one is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it was inspired by a play in the 3rdquarter when AI9 did not get a call from the refs on the offensive end during a play where he felt he was fouled. Iguodala stood a that end of the floor with his hands up in the air gesturing “I got fouled” to the refs as the Magic went the other way 4 on 5. Iguodala was very frustrated with the “no-call” and after that point he was pretty much worthless for the rest of the 3rd . Jordan did not play AI9 at all in the 4th. So again Jordan has targeted Iguodala with another highly critical comment.
Second, Jordan is not wrong when he hints that “miserable” attitudes can undermine any basketball team, that’s a proven fact. However, despite the chaos and losing that has surrounded the Sixers this season, we have to say that in general we believe the players have maintained rather positive attitudes. At times this season there has absolutely been some pouting, specifically by Iguodala, Brand and Louis Williams. However, the majority of that pouting has been caused by Jordan’s unusual coaching ways and his lack of concern for defense. Still, we have not witnessed anyone sporting a “miserable” attitude consistently. Again, at times various players have looked “miserable” after a series of bad plays during a game or after a loss, but what competitive NBA player is happy in those situations? Overall we have liked the energy from the Sixers on the court and those cheering on the bench this season. So we think Jordan is off the mark on this one to say that anyone on the Sixers has been “miserable”. Although we could be wrong here, as being on the Sixers in 2009-10 would make almost any player “miserable”.
Lastly, Jordan was not at the helm of the Sixers during the 2009 Playoffs, so what is he basing his comments on regarding the series against the Magic last summer? Also why in the world would he cite last year? This is about as random of a comment as an NBA coach can throw out there, but it is the kind of gibberish we have come to expect from Jordan in his post game pressers.
Jordan concluded the rant section of his post game press conference with yet another shot at the leaders of this team…
“We try to get them with some more spirit and some more positive energy. It’s just hard when you don’t have that sort of internal leadership.”
Willie Green was asked for his analysis of Jordan’s comments and said, “I think that is his opinion, and he is entitled to view this team whichever way he wants to.”
We think after last night’s comments the best view of this team for Jordan would be from Broad Street.
- The “boos” and “Fire Eddie” chants started during the 3rd quarter last night when the Magic were on a 25-11 run.
- Jameer Nelson’s 2ndQ alley-oop to Dwght Howard was simply ridiculous. The ball literally bounce into the stands once it struck the floor. That play was just part of the point guard exhibition that Nelson put on last night as the St. Joe’s alum abused every Sixer guard who attempted to defend him.
- Where the hell was Jodie Meeks last night. Obvioulsy he would not have turned the tables on the Magic, but in a 25-point blowout the guy you just traded two players and a second round pick for cant’ get a single minute of action?