Ever since the 76ers miraculous come-from-behind victory over the Golden State Warriors on March 2, Doug Collins’ club has dropped three-straight games and are back to their losing ways. Now, at this point in this season, it’s far too late to write posts saying what the Sixers can change in order to play better and win some games, but it’s never too late to analyze the team’s losses.
On this three-game losing streak, Sixers fans have seen a number of players in the red, white and blue uniforms go cold from the field. Surprisingly enough, the team’s lone All-Star, Jrue Holiday, has gone cold for a decent stretch of games for the first time this year. Not surprisingly, the ever-inconsistent Evan Turner — or “The Enigma” as we like to call him here at Philadunkia.com — hasn’t shot the ball efficiently as well.
On the surface, Holiday is shooting just 13-48 from the field (27.1 percent) and Turner has made just 11-39 field goal attempts (28.2 percent) over the last three games.
Unfortunately, looking at the shot charts for the Sixers starting back-court in those games doesn’t make the situation seem any brighter.
In the Sixers’ 90-87 loss to the Wizards last Sunday, Jrue put in a pretty poor 4-19 shooting night. When you look at Jrue’s shot chart from that game on ESPN.com, it gets a whole lot worse. Five of Jrue’s 19 misses were long two-pointers — the shot we all know is the least efficient shot in basketball. Of course we all know it’s also Collins’ favorite look for his offense. Jrue also missed four three-point attempts. Additionally, Jrue missed 10 shots from outside the paint. Only 5 of Jrue’s attempts in this game were in the lane and he was 1-5 on those FGAs. In short, a night filled with inefficient looks turned very ugly because Jrue could not find his stroke.
Against Boston, Jrue’s shooting numbers were slightly better — but still woeful — 6 of 17 shooting from the field. In this match-up Jrue was being hounded all game long by Avery Bradley one of the Association’s premiere perimeter defenders so that probably had a negative impact on his stats. To his credit, the All-Star did look to drive more when he realized his shot wasn’t falling (0-2 from 3PA in 1Q, 4-4 from FGA inside the arc). Jrue only took 5 FGAS from 10+ feet out after the 1st Q. So, what happened as the game progressed? It appears that a combination of Bradley’s tenacious defense and his own efforts to get to the basket frequently simply wore Jrue out. As the game went on he miss fired on numerous close looks — 2-9 inside 15 feet after the 1st quarter and looked gassed.
On the second night of a home-then-road; back-to-back set Jrue’s shooting issues were magnified when he sustained a hand injury against Atlanta. The result was a 3-12 outing during which his shot chart reveals that he was 0-6 from 14-16 feet. The chart also shows that Jrue only attempted 4 shots in the paint (2-4) . Jrue was clearly injured, exhausted and frustrated after the game as you can see in this post game interview.
Now let’s take a look at Evan Turner’s latest stretch of poor shooting. In Washington Turner posted a double-double (11&10), but shot 4-13 from the field. Turner’s shot chart from the loss to the Wizards is disturbing. “The Enigma” was 3-7 in the paint, providing further evidence that he can not finish in traffic. Turner was also 0-4 from the 15-17 foot range and attempted zero 3PAs against a Wizards team that struggles defensively on the perimeter.
When you look at the box score for the Sixer’s 109-101 loss to the Celtics on Tuesday, Turner’s 6-19 shooting from the field looks terrible in its own right as well. If that stat line makes you want to puke, don’t look at this shot chart. Many have praised Evan’s ability to take the ball to rack, but once again, he hardly converted on those drives against the C’s. ESPN.com’s shot chart has Turner converting just 4 of his 11 shots in the paint. That’s just pathetic.
While I do appreciate his efforts to take a little pressure off Jrue and to create his own shot, a 6-7 former No. 2 overall draft pick shouldn’t be shooting less than 40 percent from inside the paint. If you also consider the five free throws he attempted and 7 assists he dished out, Evan dominated the ball A LOT against Boston while Jrue worked off the ball. The problem is there were basically minimal returns for the Sixers from Turner’s increased usage.
Moving forward one game, Evan came off an atrocious shooting night vs. Boston with a, frankly, lethargic night against the Hawks. He shot 1-7 from the field and all but two of his FGA’s came from 8-23 feet out. When you come off a game where you get to the rim 11+ times and only get into the paint for two shots in the following contest, that’s just a terrible lack of effort and concentration. Collins saw that as well from Turner and only played him 23 minutes. If Evan wants a contract extension with this team, he certainly isn’t playing like it.
Now, this struggling duo — yeah, I’m having difficulty even calling them a backcourt — will visit the Miami Heat tonight and be expected to keep the Sixers competitive. Clearly the odds are not in their favor. However, with a day of rest and some corrections to their offensive attack ( Jrue and Evan can look to drive and finish strong at the rim more often or at least get to the line) there would be hope that the 76ers can compete and make tonight’s match-up in Miami a somewhat entertaining game.
Unfortunately only one of those two items is going to happen.