We chose today’s recap headline because if you watched SportsCenter last night or this morning you read a lot of the mainstream recaps of the 76ers (26-48) 111-93 loss to the Oklahoma Thunder you’d probably think that Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder swooped into the Wachovia Center last night and administered a solo beat down on the Sixers.
While there’s no doubt that KD was simply amazing (26 & 10) and made last night’s defeat very entertaining to watch, we’d argue that he had a ton of help in securing a W last night for the Thunder and ending the Sixers two-game winning streak. The problem for us here at Philadunkia is that most of the help KD received came from the Sixers.
The Sixers put in a solid effort again last night as they did in their back-to-back wins over Milwaukee and Atlanta which kept this game competitive (for the most part) and exciting to watch, but in the end, the team still ended up with a loss. So for NBA Lottery position stalkers like us here at Philadunkia it was a nearly perfect night. However, the basketball purist in us can’t help but suggest that this game was there for the Sixers to win and that while Durant was very impressive last night, we believe the Sixers gift wrapped the W for the Thunder. Here’s how Eddie Jordan’s team gave this one away…
- With Jrue Holiday in foul trouble most of the night, the Sixers perimiter defense was non-existent and the Thunder shot 50% from 3. The perimter D also got beat frequently with the bounce too.
- Of course the 76ers inability to provide help defense and in general to protect the paint was also terrible again last night. Thus the Sixers yielded numerous drives to the tin for dunks and layins (OKC had 46 pts. in the paint).
- Sammy Dalembert took a rare night off in all facets of the game. Slammin’ Sammy finished with 6 points and an embarrasing 3 boards. The Sixers can survive an off night scoring by Sammy, but they can never afford for him to go MIA on the glass.
- With Sammy sleep walking through this one, the 76ers got smoked on the glass by OKC…47-36, including 14 offensive boards by the Thunder.
- The Sixers were terrible from behind the arc last night and that’s nothing new in 2009-10. However that was before Jason Kapono started seeing a lot of run and draining 3’s. Kapono played significant minutes again last night, so one would think based on JK’s skill set and his hot hand over over the last 10 days (7-13 from 3 in his last 3 games) that the Sixers would have gotten some added scoring punch from deep last night. Instead Kapono was 0-3 on 3PAs and 0-5 overall, for zero points. The Sixers were 3-11 as a team from 3.
- The Sixers played simply awful in the 4th quarter. Trailing 84-74, they gave up a 17-4 run by OKC to open the 4th that buried this game. Most of the damage during that stretch was done by Thunder bench players Eric Maynor (6 points) and James Harden (5 points). During this stretch of the 4th, Eddie Jordan’s crew went 2-7 from the field and coughed up the rock 5 times. The Sixers got one bucket from the field between the 9:36 mark and the 4:13 mark of the 4th.
- More on bench play. The Sixers bench was outscored 36-33 on the night which is not that bad considering Mo Speights was 1-6 from the field and Jason Smith was an ugly 0-4. Smith’s 0-4 nightmare included several blown bunnies that a 6th grader would have converted on.
If the Sixers could have cleaned up two or three of the ills on this list, they could have won the game last night down at the Wachovia Center. On the other hand maybe the Sixers were lucky to only lose by eighteen points (111-93) last night, because if the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook is his usual self (3-12 from the field last night), the Sixers probably get a 30 point L hung on them.