GAME 52: (HOPELESS) REACTS

Philadelphia 76ers 87 FinalRecap | Box Score 94 Minnesota Timberwolves
Lavoy Allen, PF 26 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -15At times in the second half I was actually ok with Allen’s physicality.  Yet, the 14-footer off his back foot to basically seal the game for the T’Wolves was one of the ugliest things I’ve seen all year. Grading on the Allen curve (due to his recent production increase) I’ll be nicer than usual.
Evan Turner, SF 36 MIN | 6-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | -8If a basketball game was 12 minutes, Turner played a hell of a game.  Turner sparked the Sixers comeback in the third, scoring 14 of his 17 points in the quarter.  He disappeared however in the fourth and I’ve gotten really tired of his act of lobbying calls.  On a couple occasions Nikola Pekovic clearly fouled Turner with no-call’s, but when you start whining it’s only going to make matters worse. If there’s one player who should be nervous on deadline day, it’s ET. (Crossing my fingers for a Josh Smith trade)
Spencer Hawes, C 32 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -827 points, 18 rebounds and 2 blocks.  That was the stat-line of Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic. Non the Destroyer flat out dominated Hawes in a prison cellmate kind of way.  Hawes didn’t even drop the soap!
Jrue Holiday, PG 35 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | -16In a rare occurrence Jrue struggled with foul trouble all game, which killed any chance the Sixers had at winning this game.  He sat for key moments of the third and fourth quarter and couldn’t be as physical as he wanted on the offensive end.  Jrue’s five steals were a season high, but it was also the first time he’s fouled out all season.  This cannot happen against a team like the Timberwolves. Wins are sparse for this team as it is.
Nick Young, SG 32 MIN | 1-7 FG | 4-9 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -9Swaggy wasn’t Swag-nificent in this game.  I’m happy that he attacked the rim though. His nine free-throw attempts is actually the second most by a Sixer this season.  Thaddeus Young attempted 11 back on November 27th against the Mavericks.  It would’ve been even better if Swaggy could’ve hit them.  When he was fouled on a three early in the fourth, he somehow missed all three attempts when it would’ve cut the Timberwolves’ lead to just seven with 8:04 to play.  There were a lot of those missed opportunities in this game, but that one was especially brutal to watch.
Dorell Wright, SF 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +5Making progress is a big thing for a players psyche.  This was Wright’s first game of scoring double digits since January 4th.  It seems like coach Doug Collins has taken Wright out of the Do(u)g House recently and let him roam free a little bit on the hardwood.  He’s averaged nearly 18 minutes a game in the past five games after averaging just under eight minutes in the eight games prior.  Now if only he could find his shooting stroke!
Kwame Brown, C 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3What can Brown do for you?  Well, in this one some solid defense on Pekovic in just six minutes of PT. What the heck?
Jeremy Pargo, PG 9 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | 0I would’ve liked to have seen a Jrue/Pargo combo at some point in this game.  Unfortunately it didn’t happen.  Pargo getting a deal for the rest of the season is one of the few bright spots that has happened for the Sixers in the past few weeks.  I’m hoping that eventually he will receive a lot more minutes than the next two people below him.
Royal Ivey, PG 19 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +8His defense was ok in stretches, but 19 minutes?  Really coach?
Damien Wilkins, SG 26 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +5Wilkins had a rare offensive performance in this game.  His 13 points were a season high.  He hasn’t registered 10 points in a game since January 4, 2012.  His play at the end of the second quarter and Turner’s third quarter turned this into a game in the second half.
Arnett Moultrie, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | An extra C’monnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Son to Doug Collins!  How the hell did Arnett Moultrie get a DNP when the Sixers were getting eaten alive in the paint and on the boards?  Collins is quickly coaching his way out of Philadelphia for antics like this.
Doug Collins“We played terribly I don’t know what else to say. It was terrible.  No energy, no life at all.  It was terrible.  I can’t candy-coat it any more than that.  The only thing we did in the second half was compete. We didn’t play well, we just played harder.”- Doug Collins…We agree Doug…Now what are you going to do about it?  How many times are we going to sit through the same speal?  You’re beginning to sound like another Philadelphia coach who was run out of town just last month.  Tick tock, tick tock.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Last Night

1.  Montenegrin Sensation: Playing inspired (possibly) by the Sixers’ mishandling of his native countries other son Nikola Vucevic, the Timberwolves’ Nikola Pekovic simply manhandled the Sixers front court all game long.  27 points, 18 rebounds and 2 blocks is an unreal stat-line and something the Sixers will have to get used to as long as Thaddeus Young isn’t in the lineup.  Thad could return to action as early as Sunday against the Knicks and the team could use him more than ever right now.

2.  All A(board): The Timberwolves out-rebounded the Sixers 51-39 in the game and held a 30-15 halftime advantage. Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams combined for 26 of them themselves.  It’s like a frozen iPod at this point, but as long as the Sixers are losing the battle of the boards then they don’t stand really any chance of winning basketball games in the absence of Andrew Bynum.

3.  Fluke 3rd Quarter: Evan Turner decided to put on one of the best quarters by any Sixer this season in the third quarter Wednesday night. Turner shot 5-of-9 in the quarter for 14 points.  He also hit 4-of-4 from the charity stripe while pulling down a couple rebounds and dishing an assist.  His shot which was blocked by Andrei Kirilenko at the end of the third must have changed him, because as soon as the fourth quarter started it was back to inconsistent Evan once again.

4.  Road Rage: The Sixers have now lost seven straight on the road and 15 of their last 17.  Their last road win came on New Years Day against the Los Angeles Lakers, before that was November 30th against the Bobcats.  They have the third worst scoring average in the NBA on the road at just 90.6 per game. 18 of the next 30 Sixers games are on the road. Things aren’t looking good right now.

5.  Rotation-ally Challenged:  Doug Collins just doesn’t know how to use rotations.  Last season it was Evan Turner, Nikola Vucevic and Lavoy Allen.  This season it’s been Arnett Moultrie, Dorell Wright and now Jeremy Pargo.  It’s really unbelievable to me how such a basic strategy of coaching can be botched so badly.  Moultrie should be getting close to 20 minutes a game right now.  This lunacy has got to stop right now.

6.  Trade Deadline Move?  For a team that’s looked as bad as the Sixers have the past couple weeks, it’s either make a move today or play for a high lottery pick.  With Andrew Bynum’s return date now looking like March 16th at the earliest, the Sixers have to make a trade today if they want to have any shot at grabbing the 6th or 7th seeds in the East. The current lineup just isn’t going to get it done.  If the Hawks are still offering Josh Smith for Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes I’d do it in a heartbeat.  The hope is that he’d be convinced enough to re-sign here in the offseason.  A core of Jrue, Thad, J-Smooth and Bynum would be one of the strongest cores in the entire league both offensively and defensively.  Get a guy like shooting guard Victor Oladipo of Indiana in the draft and the Sixers could be scary good for years to come.

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