In Indy from -26 to a turning point
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on November 15, 2008
That’s how you probably missed the final 92-94 W in Indiana (4-5, 0.444), a game that could be a small turning point in Sixers’ so far troubled season.
Well, I can’t entirely blame you this time, because the first period of last night was one of the sadest display of basketball I’ve ever experienced.
The pitiful “show” included: a wide open three allowed to Granger just after the tip off, 0/7 from the floor to start the game and contribute building a 22-2 Pacers lead (!), three turnovers by your starting PG, that once “forgot” to take a dribble after getting the ball….
More: your center that can’t inbound the ball after a basket by Indiana and steps onto the court (I almost threw up), less-than-pathetic defense with Pacers happily scoring on layups and open jumpers. The end of the period was memorable as well: an idiotic offensive foul just before the buzzer sounded.
By the numbers: on Sixers’ side 5/21 from the field, 3/7 from the line and 7 turnovers. On the other, 17/29, 4/8 from behind the arc, 12 assists. A lot of Sixers fans went to bed or switched channel, I guess.
The comeback was built in the SECOND QUARTER mainly by three guys: Royal Ivey (yes, sir), Reggie Evans, THADDEUS YOUNG. Yes, the second year forward will (deservely) get more credit because he almost singlehandedly carried the team on offense (12 points in the period, including a spectacular two handed jam off an offensive rebound), but Ivey and Evans made some hustle plays on both ends of the floor (Evans had a putback DUNK as well, go figure…) and provided that psychological spark that the team was needing. That’s how it was still an open game at the break (57-49).
HALF TIME STATS: To me, Ivey’s +17 in the +/-category was the picture of the team, even more that Thad’s 7/11 from the field. Iguodala and Brand combined for a ‘nice’ 2/12. Pacers shot 24/46 (52%), including 6/12 from three point land (Granger was 3/3), but committed 18 fouls. Daniels and Granger had 13 points.
Iguodala’s and Brand’s struggles continued in the THIRD QUARTER (it was 2/19 at a point), while we fell to -15 again (70-55, 5.46 to play). But the two Andres finally gave some signs of life, and with the first three of the night, by Willie Green, we cut the deficit to five (72-67). Brand had a nice play as well, with a block and a (slow) coast-to-coast concluded by a jumper from the free throw line: 76-71.
It was Willie Green’s turn in the FOURTH QUARTER: he knocked down another key shot from behind the arc, and scored… at will, on drives and smartly posting up the smaller TJ Ford. A “get out of my way” basket by Green, that pushed Ford and layed it up and in, was a sign that the momentum was definitely changing.
Iguodala tied the game at 90 splitting a pair from the line (3.15 to go), Miller put us ahead for the first time (90-92) and Thaddeus Young gave us the biggest lead at 90-94, with two PERFECT foul shots, 1.32 left. Granger’s jumper for the 92-94, with 43 seconds left, was the last basket of the game because both Brand and Daniels missed jumpers: the Pacer could have won the game with the last second (open) three. Basketball gods were on our side: they perhaps appreciated the effort.
The memorable comeback will hopefuly build some confidence and showed we learned the lesson of Atlanta (from +23 to the final loss). But it should’t make us forget some important facts:
1) many key players are completely out of shape, or below their level, or (apparently) not fitting in this system. I’m talking about Sam Dalembert (a shadow), Lou Williams (too selfish). And see the next point.
2) our supposed to be best players, Brand and Iguodala, are playing like shit offensively. Still, since I’m a half-full type of guy, I will enjoy the fact that we could pull out a W in a night when they shot a horrific 6/29 from the floor.
To be fair, Brand played some great defense on Pacers’ bigs, and also Andre worked well under the boards and had a couple of blocks down the stretch that helped us a lot. So, they contributed to the win, it’s not that we won despite them. Nice.
OPTIMISTIC FINAL NOTE: what will happen when ALL the pieces will hopefully fit together ?? This team already proved that has a deep bench that can change games, if only the starters could wake up…
SIXERS4GUIDOS’ BONUS STATS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS: Pacers shot 13/38 in the second half – The boxscore doesn’t tell that Kareem Rush played a good game, without forcing a shot and with a couple of smart passes – Thaddeus Young’s 25 points are his career high. Something tells me it will not remain unbeaten long… fantastic game – Granger’s final basket was his only in the second half – I always note that players on the bench partecipate, shout, scream, support, help who is on the floor. That must be the sweetest thing for a coach to see – Boston’s loss and Detroit win over the Lakers completed a great NBA night – Sixers play Oklahoma tonight, check OKC Thunder Balls for a Thunder fan’s perscpective.