Posted by: Jeff McMenamin
12/27/11 1:25 pm EST

As I watched the final shot hoisted by Andre Iguodala clank off the iron (like I’ve seen too many times), I felt almost satisfied by the result of the Sixers season opener against the Portland Trailblazers on Monday.

The Sixers didn’t deserve to win this game from the start of the game, they didn’t deserve to win this game by halftime, and they definitely had no reason to win it by the end.

I am all for stealing wins during the course of a season, but this game in it’s entirety felt like complete dominance by the Portland Trailblazers as the Sixers looked like a team in complete disarray.

For the past few seasons, the Sixers have been defined as a team that lacks interior and perimeter defense.  This game it almost felt as if the ghost of Sixers past had come to pay a visit. In the first half, the Sixers looked completely out of sync.  Lamarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace literally had their way with anything the Sixers had to offer on defense.  Alley oop after alley oop, rebound after rebound, and open lane after open lane the Blazers fought their way to an 11 point lead by the end of the first quarter.  By halftime that lead was cut to only a four point margin by the Sixers, but the way in which Aldridge and Wallace had taken over the game due to the Sixers disregard for any kind of interior defense didn’t give me any sense of contentment heading into the second half.  Aldridge and Wallace combined for 28 of the Trailblazers 48 first half points and many of those points came in the paint.

 In the second half, the Sixers did their best to contain the Trailblazers interior game, but by doing so it opened up looks on the perimeter.  The Trailblazers caught on as they hit seven of their teams nine three point baskets in the second half. Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum took advantage of every opportunity they were given. With just over seven minutes left in the game, Matthews hit a three to put the Blazers up 92-77.  For sports fans, this was one of those turn off the television and turn over for the night type moments but to my surprise the Sixers actually started playing something they hadn’t all game: defense. The Sixers slowly clawed their way back into the game, and after two huge makes from downtown by Lou Williams the Sixers found themselves with the ball and a chance to tie with fourteen seconds left on the clock.  Common sense says that you give the ball back to Lou who has the hot hand and who has shown time and again that he can make the big shot for this team, but no once again like Sixer fans have seen too many times before the ball goes to Andre Iguodala who takes an ill-advised three which although looked to have a chance you knew would never fall. Final score, Portland 107- Philly 103.

The biggest storyline throughout this game for the Sixers was the play of Jrue Holiday.  Normally a bright spot on the team, Jrue was missing passes and bringing the Sixers down where we’re used to seeing him lift their game to higher levels.  Having six turnovers and fouling out is inexcusable if you want to be considered a franchise player.  Evan Turner also didn’t help his cause for getting more playing time as he fouled out of the game as well and looked slow on defense the entire night.  For the Sixers to go anywhere this season, these two players have to be effective on a nightly basis.  Although he was only one assist away from a triple-double, Spencer Hawes played worse then his stat-line shows(10 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists).  His start to the game defensively is what put the Sixers in a position to lose.  Lou Williams’ team high 25 points is what kept the Sixers in this game and it should be noted by coach Collins going forward.

So one game is officially in the books and it was definitely not this teams best basketball.  Apparently when Elton Brand is in this game the Sixers are atrocious as the team was -20 with him on the court.  Doug Collins has to hit the film room and figure out the best starting five this team has to offer and put it on the court because it wasn’t on the court last night.  Next stop, Pheonix.


9 Responses to “GM 1 RECAP: WHAT CONTINUITY?”

  1. Loren
    27. December 2011 at 14:27

    I agree that Lou Williams should have been given opporunity to shoot the last shot. He is a better offensive player than Iguodala

  2. stophating
    27. December 2011 at 15:22

    I will admit that the defense was awful at times… but you are being entirely too negative. Despite Jrue having 6 turnovers (20 for the team) and making poor decisions (which won’t happen as often as last night by the way), the team giving up way too many open 3’s, being clueless against the pick and roll, and being outshot 97-83… they only lost by 4… and were down 3 with the ball with like 15 seconds left. I blame Doug Collins on that last possession. He should have called a timeout and drew up something for lou and had jodie meeks out there as another option.

    There were a lot of positives in this game. Like shooting 48% from the field compared to your opponent’s 41%. Or Evan Turner showing confidence, being aggressive, and getting to the rack on a few nice moves. And most importantly, just the sheer fight this team showed to stay in this game against a team with more talent. Every time we got close, they seemed to make a run and hit some three’s and yet we still played our hearts out and still had a chance in the end. How can you really knock that? AND the fact that you can possibly be finding fault with Spencer Hawes’ performance is absolutely unbelievable to me. The guy had the game of his life, one assist shy of a triple double, and you’re slamming his defense!?!? That just shows you’re either extremely biased against him or delusional. The world where Spencer Hawes is a good defender is the same fantasy land where Iggy decides his 30 footer over over 6’11 Lemarcus Aldridge is the best shot for us at the end of that game.

    You need to lower your expectations and appreciate this team for what it is really is… In my opinion, the team with the most heart and character in the league. 40 wins, a 5th seed, and a second round loss with the young players showing growth and improvement will be a successful season to me.

  3. Dan
    27. December 2011 at 17:01

    a four point loss against a playoff team. Not great, but not nearly as awful as you are making it seem here. Typical Sixers cynicism here.

  4. joe
    28. December 2011 at 11:09

    aldridge killed us early and your blaming hawes?? elton brand was on him the whole game with occassional looks from thad young. hawes was only on him if there was a switch. aldridge is taller and faster than brand and it was a nightmare matchup from the start. Also the enviroment they were playing in was a playoff enviroment, so the fact that this young team was mature enough to handle it proves that we grew alot from last year. The kings got blown out by Portland last night and they beat the Lakers. Portalnd is a top 5 team in the league and we put up a good fight in their house. I’m perfectly fine with how the team looked.

  5. Jeff response
    28. December 2011 at 12:03

    I am not a hater of the Sixers by any means. I’ve been a fan of this team my entire life and want them to do well. I am just being honest, which has nothing to do with my expectations of the team. Was the real issue of the game that the Sixers played with “heart” or that the Sixers defense looked terrible and their offense had 20 turnovers? You talk about the Sixers shooting 48% compared to the Trailblazers 41%, but the fact of the matter is we lost the game even with that stat. If the Sixers played well that would have been portrayed in the tone of the article, but instead the Sixers looked like they have too often over the past few years and committed the same mistakes. I’m glad Spencer Hawes had an above average night passing the ball, but his defense was awful against Aldridge and he didn’t box out all night. We are a playoff team too and we were down 15 points with seven minutes to go in the 4th. Yeah it was only a 4 point loss in the end and I’m happy about how they played to close out the game, but a basketball game is 48 minutes…not seven.

  6. Sloetry
    28. December 2011 at 15:03

    yep, I’m with the anti-haters’ responses here. Way too much negativity on this website. Hawes should be given credit where it’s due because people are always on his back. The only thing that concerned me slightly was Evan Turner’s outside shot. I’m a great believer in ET being the future of this team, but I wasn’t feeling the trajectory on his shot…. didn’t look like a nice arc of someone who has supposedly brought a better shot to this season. But then again, first game out, and if you’re nervous or under pressure, outside shooting technique is easily affected, so I”m hoping he’ll still be bringing outside shooting into his repertoire, cos once he does, he’ll get some clear fake and drives to the hole.

  7. Talkin' 'Bout Hatin'
    28. December 2011 at 17:51

    For chrissake, it’s their first game! Opening up a short season with 5 games on the road–4 out west–is a difficult task for a young team with hardly any preseason action. The Sixers don’t see their home court until January 6th. Let’s see how the entire trip goes before we bury this team 6 feet underground. I’ll be happy if they can come out of this 2-3. Anything better is a bonus.

    The good news is that this opening trip is their only true west coast swing of the entire season. I guarantee that by the end of January, this opening 5 game stretch will be long forgotten.

    Interior defense will be a weakness all year, but the Sixers’ athleticism and youth can mask it, especially as we get into the grind of the season. If they can get their transition game to feed off perimeter defense, which should improve, and get Meeks to hit from outside, they can win a lot of games.

    Let’s not judge their season after one away game. Now if they’re 4 an 8 after their first 12, then yeah, we’ve got a serious problem. I think the odds are better that they’ll be 8 and 4 instead of 4 and 8. The schedule turns very favorable from Jan 6 – 16th.

  8. joe
    29. December 2011 at 01:22

    hawes had 14 rebounds… i think he boxed out camby who is a great offensive rebounder just fine. the pick and pop defense was shaky but cmon, you cant blame hawes at all for the loss. no one is talking about thad’s poor jumpshot in now both the blazers and suns game either.

  9. Jeff response
    29. December 2011 at 16:26

    When the opposing team shoots 41% and you are a 7’1″ starting center, you better have 14 rebounds. Camby, Aldridge, and Wallace combined for 12 offensive rebounds in the game. You can blame that on Hawes and Brand, but to say just because Hawes had 14 rebounds that he should get a free pass from criticism is a little outrageous to me. Those extra opportunities in the lane led to big-time buckets.

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