After nearly two days of reading comments and emails from readers and listening to sports talk radio, it has become clear that the Philadunkia scribes are not the only 76ers supporters who feel the team let one slip away from them on Saturday night.
For those of you who doubt the validity of the above anlaysis, go back and look at the tape again. We bet when you are done reviewing the evidence, you’ll ragree that the 7-6 lost a golden opportunity to draw first blood in this series when they pissed away Game 1. But this post is not about dwelling on the negatives that came from the 92-91 Game 1 loss in Boston.
This post is about what we took from Game 1 that gives us hope for a Sixers victory tonight in Game 2…
(Editor’s Warning: Some of you may feel the following was written with our red, white and blue glasses on. It was.)
The Sixers lost by 1-point in Boston…and got almost nothing (8 points) from playoff standout Jrue Holiday (18 ppg. vs. CHI). “The Jruth” shot a horrific 3-13 from the field, including 0-4 from three-ball territory. Jrue is not going to shoot that poorly on a nightly basis in this series and if one or two more his shots rattled home on Saturday night, the Sixers win Game 1.
The Sixers lost by 1-point in Boston…and blew several fast break opportunities. Whether it was a bad pass, a missed easy bucket or simply poor ball handling, the Sixers fumbled away at least 5 (by our count) open court scoring chances. Obvioulsy if these FB ops could have been converted into buckets, we’re talking about a different result for Game 1. The Sixers typically do a very good of taking care of the ball as they transition from defense into their fast break offense and they have the players who can finish — Dre, Thad, Jrue, ET and even Meeks — so we don’t expect this to be an issue again in Game 2.
The Sixers lost by 1-point in Boston…even though the Celtics got a huge night from Rondo (triple-double) and a performance of historic proportions from KG. We’re not sure if there is anything that can be done about Rondo — he’s simply that good — , but KG played like he was back in his Minnesota days and we don’t expect that to continue. Of course Collins could help slow Garnett down by putting a younger and more athletic defender on him instead of Hawes. Preferably one who can close out on a jump shooter.
The Sixers lost by 1-point in Boston…and Thad sturggled. He came out agressive, showed a few signs of life and got to the FT line, which are all good things. Unfortunately, Thad went 1-4 on FGAs and 3-6 from the FT Line. Do the math — 2 more FTs or another bucket out of Thad and the Sixers hypothetically speaking would have stolen Game 1. We don’t expect Thad to continue to struggle as the match-ups in the series are much more favorable for him then they were vs. Chicago.
The Sixers lost by 1-point in Boston…and the FT line was a major factor. The Celtics were on fire from the FT line — 18-19 on FTAs. For a team that shot 77.8% from the charity stripe during the regular season, that’s a ridiculous improvement. Meanwhile the Sixers shot 14-20 (70%), which is a tad below their 74% on the regular season.
The Sixers lost by 1-point in Boston…and Louis Williams was dreadful in the 4th Q (1-4 on FGAs & a TO). Most of us here at Philadunkia as well as a great number of our readers despise the way Collins turns the Sixers 4th Q offense over to the streaky LW and Saturday night those critics were most likely throwing things at the TV. Still Louis usually hits one or two more of those ill advised late game shots and if he had done so on Saturday night, well, the Sixers win.
The Sixers lost by 1-point in Boston…and they did not run nearly enough isolation offense for Jrue or Turner. The Sixers had great success vs. Chicago when they went to Jrue and Turner in mimatch situations. There were no iso-plays called for either of these players in Game 1 vs. Boston. Why is Jrue not allowed to back down Rondo on one or to trips? Why are we not clearing out one side and trying to get Turner isolated on the blocks vs. Bradley? These “NBA-style” sets surely would have netted us one or two more hoops and possibly the W. Hopefully Collins calls Jrue’s and/or Turner’s number a few times in Game 2.