Dominated and outmatched, our 76ers did not belong in the same building as the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the first round matchup. Mustering only 13 points in the first quarter, and 31 points in the first half, the game was over by halftime thanks to an insurmountable 49-31 Miami lead.
Before a 26-5 2nd quarter Heat run in Game 1, the Sixers held an impressive 31-19 start to the potential seven game war. Yes, you read correctly, 31 points in the first quarter of Game 1 and only 31 points in a whole half in Game 2. The slow opening quarter start tied our second lowest point production for the entire NBA year. And if your counting at home, the Sixers have been beaten in the last seven quarters 172-131.
It was the hopeless offense that was devoured by an enthused Heat squad which led to the 94-73 atrocity. Sadly, the score seems even closer than the game actually felt.
Unable to score in transition (8 fast break points), at the rim (10 points in the paint in the first three quarters) and missing contested jumpers (34.2 FG %), the 7-6 stood no chance as their offense was stagnant and immobile. There were plenty of jumpers taken and anyone that knows this ball club understands that’s not their strong suit. When Doug Collins’ ball club is unable to run ‘n’ gun — something Miami does more efficiently — they’re doomed.
The Heat’s biggest weaknesses: defensive play from their point guards, facing dominant opposing big men and effective half-court offenses can not be exposed by our young team. They lack the necessary players to compete with a star-driven roster. Our best hope to create a mismatch is Jrue Holiday, but expecting an immature, inexperienced 20 year-old point guard to lead us against three perennial all-stars is a far-fetched possibility. When LeBron James and Chris Bosh combine for 19 of 31 shooting, you’ve likely lost.
James finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and five assists to pair up with Chris Bosh’s 25 points and 12 rebound outburst. Their third amigo, Dwayne Wade, scored 14 points a day after not practicing because of migraine symptoms. In Wade’s halftime interview he looked exhausted, and only attempted one field goal in the second half which he missed. However, that didn’t matter against the Sixers, they stood no shot, LeBron and Bosh are too good.
Let’s take a look at each player’s night too assess the collective dismantlement beginning with the veterans:
- Elton Brand: I just had to look at the box score three times to make sure my eyes didn’t deceive me. EB took five shots and connected on one. Also, he got owned at every attempt to guard Bosh and looks phased out on offense. We have to get him involved in game 3, five shots for a player who averaged 15 points on 52.1 percent from the field is unacceptable.
- Andre Iguodala: Game 1: 4 points in 37 minutes. Game 2: 5 points in 36 minutes. I don’t care if he’s guarding LeBron James and still contributing on the glass and passing well, he needs to score more.
- Hawes/Speights/Battie: Spencer Hawes was so bad early on that he was benched by the 8:30 mark in the 1st quarter. Marreese Speights came in and went 0/5 from the field. Tony Battie played clean up minutes. Safe to say: we need a center.
- Jrue Holiday: Played average but really should be more assertive against the likes of Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers. His 12 points led all starters as the other four contributed for 18 measly points.
- Jodie Meeks: He’s struggling to find open looks on the perimeter thanks to a lack of pushing the ball offensively and dribble penetration from teammates.
- Lou Williams: Still cannot find his rhythm since returning from injury only hitting 1/8 shots. With the game out of reach, Collins tried to bolster Williams’ confidence with a one-on-one chat that occurred away from the huddle.
- Evan Turner: The rookie was a bright spot offensively hitting 13 points and three shots from beyond-the-arc. However, defensively he guarded LeBron James and Dwayne Wade periodically where he was schooled. Both James and Wade had a few highlight reel plays against the former Buckeye that will crack SportsCenter. Can’t really blame Turner since they are two of the best players in the Association but those are some tough growing pains for the young guard to experience in his first postseason.
- Thaddeus Young: Becoming a restricted free agent this upcoming offseason, the dynamic forward is looking for a big payday. Young was the best Sixer — not saying much — on the night scoring 18 points but needing 20 shots to do so.
On a night the Flyers (playoff game) and Phillies (one game of 162 but still more appealing than the Sixers’ display) were both on TV, I have a hard time believing many Philadelphia sports fans could bare to watch much of this one. The loss now makes it 5/5 for the Heat against the Sixers. A betting man wouldn’t put money on the Sixers to rally, but not all hope is lost.
The young core, with eight players under the age of 24, could gain monumental experience and confidence by stealing a game, and maybe, although highly unlikely, a pair of games. However, that’s what remains in the balance of this series, not a first round shocker, but more looking ahead to the future.
from teh ESPN Stats & Info folks we learn this gem…Since trailing by 12 points after the first quarter of Game 1, Miami has stepped up its play on the defensive end, not trailing since taking the lead midway through the second quarter. Over the last seven quarters the Heat have outscored the 76ers by 41 points, while holding Philadelphia to only 34 percent field goal shooting.