GM 5 RECAP: DOWN GOES ROCKY

Posted by: Philadunkia
04/28/11 10:43 am EST

For those of you with younger siblings, you’d understand this scenario:  A few of your friends are over hanging out, enjoying a few brews, talking about girls and occasionally dabbling in the sports discussion.  Your younger brother, too young to drink, is adamant about spending time with your crew while trying to fit in. 

No matter what you say, your brother wont leave, he continues to hang around.  That’s exactly what the Sixers did, they annoyingly hung around, consistently pestering the Heat during this five game series. 

The Miami Heat is clearly the better ball club and they knew that.  So when the Sixers continuously stayed in ball games it irked their elite players.  With three superstars in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, we all knew the 76ers didn’t stand a chance in a seven game series.  And despite the kind words they had had for our young Sixers in the media, the Heat knew they should dismiss the 7-6 with relative ease. 

Yet, admirably they fought for their outmatched lives in three competitive losses, one win and a blow out over the course of the series.  In the final Game 5 97-91 loss, the Sixers went down swinging like a boxer on his final leg.  Hanging around just long enough to scare the Heat with the possibility of a drawn out series heading back to Philadelphia.

With 36 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Andre Iguodala connected on a 21 foot jumper over LeBron James.  The bucket would close the gap to 92-91 and only put the 7-6 a stop away from a chance at the lead.  Thanks to high ball-pressure and double-teaming, the ensuing Heat possession was in the hands of Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony — 9/10 times this would be a blessing for the Sixersby keeping it away from the three all-stars.  Instead, Chalmers drove the paint, left his feet and found Joel Anthony under the rim.  Anthony went up for a lay-up but was fouled hard by Jodie Meeks. 

Down by a measly point, with the worst player on the floor — Joel Anthony — at the free throw line for the Heat, things were looking up for the Sixers.  There was no way in hell Anthony was connecting on both free throws … except shockingly, he did.  The 94-91 difference would be too overwhelming after an Andre Iguodala missed pull-up, 16-foot jumper.  Season over.  Whose to say we wouldn’t have lost anyway, but come on, I want to live in a world where Joel Anthony chokes under pressure. 

The Sixers outscored the Heat 44-26 in the paint, held LeBron to his lowest point total of the series (16), witnessed the best AI9 game thus far and only turned the ball over seven times.  Attacking the rim seemed easy against the Heat, finally we exposed their flawed defensive centers.  So where did the Heat win the contest?  From the three-point line.  Miami connected on 12 three-pointers compared to only a pair treys (2-10 on 3FGA) by  the Sixers.  The X-factor was Mario Chalmers who hit a playoff career best six three-pointers (20 points total) which ultimately catapulted the Heat into the second round. 

On the other hand, our beyond-the-arc specialist — Jodie Meeks — finally had his first double-digit scoring outburst for the postseason.  I’ve been waiting for a Meeks explosion, although this wasn’t it, it was nice to see him come out strong from the tip-off.  Jrue Holiday, Meeks’ backcourt partner, took a series-low nine shots, scored 10 points and dropped eight dimes.  Reflecting back on the series, the youthful Holiday will harness this experience en route to becoming a top-ten point guard.  His 14.2 points, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game are good signs from the 20 year old. 

Jrue is the future, but our guys of today played exceptionally in the final bout.  Andre Iguodala, potentially on the trade market once the labor agreement is settled, had his best game totaling 22 points on 10-14 shooting and snatching 10 boards.  It was the first time in five games where he continuously asserted himself in the offense, even attacking the intimidating LeBron James several times down the stretch.  Unlike Iguodala’s unsure future with the Sixers, were likely stuck with Elton Brand and his lucrative contract. 

Brand fouled out within the final seconds of the ball game.  On his way to the bench he received a hug, followed by what seemed to be some heartfelt words from head coach Doug Collins.  He tied AI9 for a team high 22 points and grabbed six rebounds.  For Brand, it’s been a year of resurgence.  Battling back from a plagued knee and a horrendous 09-10 season, EB unexpectedly led the Sixers in scoring and rebounding for the year.  His veteran leadership has been vital to this team’s postseason’s berth.    

Elton Brand’s surprising season represents the franchise as a whole.  A playoff berthand 41 wins was unforeseeable after a 27-55 year withlittle change besides at the head coaching spot.  The exciting season ended on a sour note in Miami, but as a realist you must appreciate the direction of the franchise.  With a young core of players under the age of 25 — including: Jrue, Jodie, ET, Lou-Will, Thad, Spencer, Speights — this team is bound to make noise within several years. 

Looking at the big picture, this season is a step in the right direction.  

Philadunkia Notes:

  • We were not big fans of the 4+ minute break that Collins gave Holiday to start the 4th quarter.  For us, the season was on the line and Holiday – arguably the best 76er in this series – should have been on the floor throughout the final quarter.
  • The above statement is especially true for us because Collins had Williams in the game for Holiday.  Williams was clearly having an off night and was 1-7 at that point.  He finished 2-8 on FGAs overall.  We needed a bigger night out of Louis to stand a real chance in this elimination game.
  • The Sixers missed 4 straight FTs in the 4th Q and were 11-17 on the night.  Those type of stats simply kill underdogs in elimination games.
  • Joel Anthony had two huge blocks during a 1-minute span of the 4th.  The first came on Holiday at 5:30 of the 4th.  Holiday looked to have a sure lay-up and Anthony rejected the attempt at the last second.  The other came on a Tuner chippie with 4:20 remaining.  At the time of the each block, the Sixers trailed the Heat by only 6.   
  • Obviously we were not big fans of putting the ball in AI9′s hands on the last possession.  We’ve argued against this X&O concept all year.  But give Collins credit for staying consistent.  Right ?!?
  • From the ESPN Stats and Notes Department we learn that…the Heat shot 46.4 percent and outscored the 76ers by 17 points when Chalmers was in the game.  The Heat shot just 24 percent from the field and were outscored by 11 points when he was on the bench.
  • Of course NBA.com has highlights of the Sixers final game in 2010-11.

 
 
 

4 Responses to “GM 5 RECAP: DOWN GOES ROCKY”

  1. Sloetry
    28. April 2011 at 13:51

    An exciting season. It will be interesting to see the development of players over the next 2/3 years. Many say that we have no star/go to players, and that is true of now, but what we have is the potential of some players to grow into excellent players, or even better. And I hold ET in that conversation. His potential as a pg is overlooked, and I hope he really works on getting a sweet jumper over the summer… if he does, he’s going to become a go to player in this league.
    The question is AI and his role on the team… would a cheaper defensive role player be a better option than his big contract. I’m not going to belittle what AI has done, he’s a good player, just over priced. Maybe we could get a couple of quality role players for his price.

    I’m actually from London, England, but I fell in love with the Sixers when I started watching in the NBA (the little we used to see over here) back in ’83. I just fell in love with the Doctor and have been a Sixers fan from afar ever since (76ers tattoo proudly on display when I ball!). I’ve had to take whatever games ESPN showed over here, rarely the Sixers, so this season I bought NBA League Pass and have seen nearly every Sixers game during an incredible season. The joy of watching the team I support, getting to know the player’s games, has been so much more fulfilling than just watching any NBA that ESPN granted us in the UK. Yes I’m a basketball nut, but watching MY team (hope those in Philly don’t mind me saying that) has been so much better, and what a season to be able to do it!!

    Respect and love from the UK
    Peace.

  2. Loso
    28. April 2011 at 21:29

    Glad to see sixers fans worldwide, specifically out in the U.K., Dr.J huh, got a little more history in ya than I do, I’m only 19, been a fan Since the Iverson era, but a sixer fan from ANYWHERE can do no wrong in my eyes. Totally agree with you on evan, disappointing season, but you saw him step up in that game 4 win over the Heat? he was tearing the Heats Interior D UP! great potential, boy oh boy if he develops a jumpshot! and the Jruth! a young Gary payton man! sixers have a bright future, can tell ya that right now, hopefully we can solidify out frontcourt with some improved additions of big men! GO SIXERS, can’t wait to see what surprises our in store for us this off season.

  3. toady_buddha
    29. April 2011 at 22:14

    Nice to see the 7-6 get back to relevancy. I too am excited by the prospect of the future for this franchise. However, I use the term franchise and team for a reason. This team finally displayed what most seemed unaware of for some time, this roster is loaded with talent. That being said, it also displayed the undisputable fact that this team’s talent is largely redundant and mismatched. The thing to remember is that you could have the most talent laden roster in the league, but if the talent isn’t complimentary then it is all for not.
    Understand that I am a huge fan of Iguodala, but with the weaknesses on this team being what they are, we need him to be the one thing he is not, a prolific scorer. I also am not convinced that Turner is that different from Iggy. I really think it was a mistake when we drafted him. Mind you, I think Turner is going to be good (perhaps even great) just not in the way we need him to be. I still say we should try a three team trade with Wash. and OKC with Iggy and Rashard Lewis to OKC, Wash. gets Turner, Speights our first, Nick Collison and ? from OKC and we get Harden, McGee and maybe Seraphin. We get a really young, but proven legitamite SG as well as a defense and rebounding first C and an athletic project to groom behind Brand. Imagine OKC with a line-up of Westbrook, Iggy, Durant, Lewis and Perkins- really good mix of defense and scoring as well as slashers, bangers and shooters. Washington gets Turner to pair with Wall (instant upgrade over Nick Young) and Speights (young servicable backup C) and Collison (veteran mentor type with versatility) along with some salary relief and another first to manuever in the draft (building through the draft they indicated is what they prefer). The only challenge is making salaries work.

  4. Jasone
    1. May 2011 at 20:55

    If there’s one thing for sure in the NBA, it’s that there are no guarantees. Philly has a chance to do something nice in the next few years, but it’s going to rely on the front office not messing things up. Entirely possible, but not guaranteed.

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