The Sixers caught a break prior to the game when the Charlotte Bobcats announced that Tyrus Thomas would be unable to play.  Thomas took a nap after pre game shoot around and when he woke up, his knee was swollen.  It was later discovered that Thomas magically suffered a torn meniscus and is now scheduled to be out up to two months.  He’s averaged 11.1 points and 5.8 rebounds this season while being an effective defensive post presence. 

When these teams met on Monday, Thomas was out due to a League mandated suspension and the 7-6 snuck by with a win.  In Charlotte however, the absence of Thomas did no good for the Sixers because DJ Augustin went bananas in the first half and then Gerald Henderson closed out the game for the ‘Cats, who handed the Sixers (17-25) their second straight L, 100-97.

The loss gave the 76ers their eighth consecutive loss on the road.  The last three have come against the Pistons, Magic and now Bobcats.  All three of those games could’ve been won had it not been for a late game collapse.  Against the Magic and Pistons, we lost in overtime after blowing a lead in the final minute.  Against the Bobcats the contest was in our grasp but got away late thanks to the late heroics of Gerald Henderson.  With the next two road games in Toronto and New Jersey, the Sixers will likely climb out of their funk. 

The loss could be a product of fatigue as the 76ers conditioning has been tested.  In the last four days they’ve competed in three ball games and the first two went into overtime.  Add to the fact that they traveled from Philadelphia to Orlando to Charlotte in such a short span, and you can understand why the team struggled to fend off the Cats last night. 

The Sixers biggest failure came at defending D.J. Augustin who went off for a career high 31 points on 11-17 shooting.  We attempted to apply some full-court pressure on him in the first quarter and had little success.  Augustin made Jrue Holiday look like a medicore defender and Louis Williams could not stay with him at all.  Twenty five of D.J.’s points came in the opening half as he set the tone for the rest of the ball game.  Augustin has had a strong showcase in the month of January averaging 17.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.  He’s truly capitalized off playing for new head coach Paul Silas, who recently replaced Larry Brown. 

Guard D.J. Augustin isn’t the only player whose been successful under his new head coach.  Henderson, a Philly native (Episcopal Academy), was the hero on the night despite Augustin’s impressive showing.  In the fourth quarter Henderson knocked down nine points.  At one point he scored six straight in the final two minutes of the ball game.  The shots he hit were tough contested pull-up jumpers, but nevertheless he didn’t miss a beat going 4-4 from the field in the final quarter. 

Silas has continued to see mild success with his new squad.  With the 76ers win the team is now 17-24 and 8-5 with him holding the reigns.  An improving Bobcast squad is not a good sign for the 76ers.  With the Bobcats emerging as a potential playoff team, that may leave only one spot for the 7-6 to make a run at for this postseason. 

Thaddeus Young had a star-studded performance in the fourth quarter scoring 15 of his 21 points on the night.  However, in the final minute-and-a-half, Thaddeus was nowhere to be found, in part because Doug Collins was drawing up diagrams to let Igoudala take over. 

Andre Igoudala was second in scoring for the Sixers behind Thad, tallying 19 points on 7-11 shooting.  Igoudala also had four steals, five rebounds and two assists. 

However, with the final minute winding down, Igoudala missed a free throw and jump shot which could’ve tied the ball game.  

Seems like a recurring theme this season with the team failing to deliver in the clutch. 

Philadunkia Notes:

  • The 76ers lost this game despite out rebounding the Cats (45-40); scoring more fast break points (13-7) and fighting to a near draw on points scored inside the paint (46-48).
  • The Sixers were ice cold from deep last night (3-14).  Louis Williams was 0-4 and ‘Dre was 0-2.
  • Speaking of Louis…Last night he scored 11 points (4-9 shooting) in 23 minutes of burn.  That broke a 3-game streak in which he had seen no less then 28 minutes of action a night and was hitting for 22 ppg.
  • Of course has highlights of the Sixers second straight road loss.
  • Going forward the Sixers are lucky to have fiveof the next seven ball games at home.  Currently sitting a half game behind the Bobcats and Pacers for playoff seeds, it’s a great opportunity to jump back in the post season discussion.  Their next seven opponents look like this: Jazz, Suns, at Raptors, Grizzlies, Nuggets, at Nets and Knicks.  The two road games are against lighter competition, but there’s no doubt they’ll be tested at the Wells-Fargo Center.  

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