|Elton Brand, PF 32 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +4
Brand was one of the lone bright spots for the Sixers in this one. He played solid defense on Blake Griffin, forcing him to shoot 8-19 from the floor for 16 points. He also added a double-double for himself 12 points and 10 rebounds. The best stat of the night was that Blake the high riser was only held to one dunk and it wasn’t nearly as impressive as the one he had on Perkins a couple weeks ago. I could watch that all day:
|Andre Iguodala, SF 39 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 12 PTS | -4
After being selected to his very first NBA All-Star game I expected Andre Iguodala to come out and show his home crowd why he deserves to be there. Don’t get me wrong 12 points, 8 boards, and 7 assists is a solid stat-line, but it was his defense on Chris Paul in the final stanza that mattered most. Iggy was assigned defensively to Paul clinging to a 1-point lead in the final seconds of the game. Paul drilled the go-ahead bucket with 3.2 seconds to play over Iggy’s outstretched hands. LAC 78-PHI 77
|Nikola Vucevic, C 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3
Vuc was non-existent on the court. After getting the start, he only notched 12 minutes of PT as Collins decided to go with a smaller line-up. It almost had shades of the Denver Nuggets game earlier in the season. I’ll get to that later…
|Jodie Meeks, G 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -6
Meeks had a decent game at best. His defense left much to be desired as both Randy Foye and Mo Williams hit for double figures. Meeks hit for 10 points, but shot just 1-5 from beyond the arc. When Jodie hits three or more from deep this season the Sixers are 8-1.
|Jrue Holiday, PG 38 MIN | 2-8 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 8 PTS | +9
Jrue had a terrible game defensively in this one, and outside of his defense on Derrick Rose this season it seems as if good point guards have had their way with him. Deron Williams, Andre Miller, Dwayne Wade, and now Chris Paul have all exposed his weak D. He also missed a crucial free-throw at the end of the game that could’ve very well been the end for the Sixers if they hadn’t played flawless defense on the ensuing inbound right after.
|Lou Williams, PG 25 MIN | 3-11 FG | 5-8 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +23
3-11 shooting doesn’t cut it and his final shot attempt to win the game was ugly and embarrassing. When you’re being swarmed by two defenders you have to get the ball to someone else. Disappointing game from Lou on an otherwise great season.
|Thaddeus Young, F 26 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -13
Solid game from Thad. Great D on Blake, but was out-hustled by his former teammate Reggie Evans. We’ll get to that after the jump.
|Lavoy Allen, PF 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +8
Didn’t do too much in this game. More physical bodies in the post for the Clippers led to 15 offensive rebounds. It wasn’t as ugly as the Lakers game on the boards, but it seemed as if the Sixers didn’t do enough in this one.
|Evan Turner, SG 12 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -2
12 minutes? I’m not sure what went into coaches decision here. He was efficient on the offensive end and he’s one of the Sixers best perimeter defenders. If he had been assigned to Paul more in the game, maybe he wouldn’t have penetrated as well as he did.
|Spencer Hawes, C DNP SORE LEFT ACHILLES MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS |
With Hawes in the line-up the Sixers are 12-2. Without him they are just 6-7. It’s becoming more and more apparent how important he is to the teams success.
After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Last Night…
1. Paul in the clutch: Chris Paul is known around the league as one of the purest point guards to play the game. It was his scoring ability that got the best of the Sixers in this game. Paul scored 24 points, none bigger than his turn-around fade away over Iggy to give the Clippers a 78-77 victory. In Iggys defense, Brand claimed the play to be one of the strangest in his time around the league but there’s still no excuse.
Video of the shot:
2. Reg-gie Reg-gie: Reggie Evans was a crowd favorite during his years with the 7-6 for his toughness and tenacity. I did a story on the man when he was shipped out of town for one of the most hated Sixers in their organizations history, Jason Kapono(http://philadunkia.com/?p=1338). Reggie Evans sparked energy into the Clippers with that same tenacity. In one series late in the fourth the Clippers had five opportunities for a basket because of four offensive rebounds, two of which came from Reggie Evans. Evans finished with no points, but had 10 rebounds and a steal. Exactly the kind of stat-line you want from a player like him and the type of player that you can’t measure by stats.
3. Groundhog Day? For anyone that hasn’t seen the movie Groundhog Day, it is a classic comedy movie starring Bill Murray about replaying the same day over and over again. In the movie there’s a character Ned Ryerson who annoys Bill every morning with the same question, “Now don’t say you don’t remember me because I sure as heck-fire remember you?”(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkW_ZkMtmlQ). In comparison to three close Sixer losses this season, Ryerson has been Andre Miller, Deron Williams, and now Chris Paul(thorns in their sides that wouldn’t go away). If the Clippers game had gone into overtime, then the Sixers would’ve relived the same games exactly. In each game the Sixers lost due to poor rebounding, opposing point guards who took their game to a higher level, missing crucial free-throws, and being without their starting center. Having Andre Iguodala guard these point guards in the clutch and failing was also a common occurance. To me this game sure felt like Groundhog Day, because I knew what was coming before it happened. Outside of Derrick Rose, great point guards have killed the Sixers. It looked a little something like this:
So what do you think…Groundhog Day or what?
4. 4-3 on Death Row: So the Sixers finish their toughest stretch of the season going 4-3 with very convincing wins against the Magic and Bulls to start of the stretch, and two tough losses against the Spurs and Clippers to end it. The most positive thing to say is that the Sixers hung in there in all of their losses and were a defensive stand away from going 5-2. The Sixers played the Heat close for three quarters before another great point guard(Dwayne Wade) blew the game open in the fourth. In the loss to the Spurs(continuing now what is a common trend) yet another great point guard, Tony Parker, had his way with the Sixers defense for 37 points. Keep in mind that five out of the seven games were played without Spencer Hawes, and the two games he did play were Sixer wins. So what’s next for the Sixers? We know this is a good team that still needs a stronger post player to make them serious contenders. There also needs to be a new game plan for defending opposing point guards. What is happening for the Sixers now is that there is so much attention being put on defending the post that it’s leading to a lack of attention on the perimeter. Good teams have found the Sixers achilles(not trying to poke at Hawes, but it’s hard not too).
5. Terrible final shot: When it comes to final shots in basketball, you want to see the team you’re following to throw up a shot that at least has a 30 percent shot of falling. For the Sixers, the shot Lou Williams attempted at the end of the game had zero chance of falling. Williams essentially was trapped by the Clippers defense on the perimeter as soon as he received the ball with 3 seconds and threw up a double contested air-ball as time expired. It was one of the most pathetic displays I’d ever seen in all my years of following basketball. As an in-bounder in that situation you have to anticipate the trap before you throw it in, and as Lou Williams you have to pass the ball off to the most open guy you can as soon as you can. A lot of this can be blamed on Collins’ play design, but as professional basketball players there’s a certain point where you just have to take things into your own hands. Last shots are always drawn up, but more often than not the design goes out the window and players take things into their own hands. In that situation, as much as I hate to admit it, it should be Andre Iguodala getting the ball. Lou Williams isn’t strong enough to free himself from physical defenders the way Iggy is. Lou is by far the Sixers most clutch shooter, but only when he’s given the chance.
6. Collins on the game itself…”That was an incredible defensive game by both teams. We couldn’t run a play. They went to a big lineup with Kenyon Martin as a small forward and Reggie Evans was out there with…I forget who,. I don’t know if it was Blake Griffin…They just physically were so strong for us around the basket. We just couldn’t come up with some rebounds. Look down at the stat sheet. They shoot under 39 percent. They shoot 11 percent from three with 14 assists and win the game. It’s a shame.”
Follow us @philadunkia or me @SixersBlog