Good game, bad loss in Minnesota
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on November 21, 2008
Then I realized that we just lost (102-96, .455) to a less than mediocre team, that not coincidentially had dropped eight straight games before matching up with us.
“They wanted it more than us” explained Willie Green at the end. “It was obvious”, he added. Well, not so obvious, since we were coming from three consecutive wins, just reached .500 and needed this win MORE than the T’Wolves, that will not make any use of it.
But yes, Minnesota wanted it more. At the end of the day the small things made the difference down the stretch, and shifted a close game in the opposite direction.
Al Jefferson scoring back-to-back almost identical layups against Dalembert in the low post (92-89, 94-91), Mike Miller knocking down a long three (98-94) off a double team on the same Jefferson, Andre Iguodala missing two, the first when he was open (Brand had a good off rebound and a putback for the 98-96), the second contested, with the score at 100-96: clank, game over.
The play when their Miller knocked down the trey is the same play that we should automatically run on clutch possessions, and sums the kind of offense we brought Brand in Philly for. Ball in the low post to a good scorer —> double team —> ball on the perimeter again —> jump shot by (insert name of a decent shooter here), or —> ball down low again —> 1-vs-1 play for the big man.
Minnesota won the game with that play. Good execution, even better conclusion. We lost: good execution, conclusion failed.
Last year in similar situations we could have had Evans in the paint, and, in the best case, Green on the perimeter. Not exactly an encouraging scenario, I know.
But this year we could have Brand and Iguodala/Williams/Rush/Green. It should be the prototypical “pick your poison” situation for defenses, but Iguodala is shooting 23% from behind the arc and 38% overall, Williams 26% and 35%, Rush is buried under the bench, Green is playing well but usually sits in the final quarter. Comments?
Plus we often take HORRIBLE decisions down the stretch, resulting in forced shots, turnovers, bricks: static offense, no circulation, I said it many times before. We almost never run plays. When we do, and take a good shot, like yesterday night (Iguodala’s aforementioned first three was an excellent shot, nicely built), we miss it. So if you want at least to see an improvment in this, you could do it.
What else could we rank as “positive” from an unexpected loss that brings us back under .500?
1) some great, aggressive defense at the beginning of the fourth, that started the comeback that eventually took us within one (from 88-78 to 95-94)
2) Iguodala making a pair of big, tough baskets down the stretch, one drawing a foul
3) our Miller playing a good game offensively (but in the pic he’s just getting blocked, and read below…)
4) Sam patroling the paint
5) Thaddeus Young. Two words for you.
6) rebounding. We won the battle under the boards, 40-33, and allowed only six offensive rebounds.
What went wrong?
1) Sam getting schooled all night long by Jefferson, with his complete set of fakes, hooks, jumpers, step backs, using the pivotal foot very well. Last year Sam had a fantastic game vs T’Wolves, with nine blocks, this time he was Jefferson’s b#*§°h.
2) ONE three pointer made and Rush playing less than three minutes… I wonder what we signed this guy for…
3) our usual 13 point-quarter (this time it was the third, with MIller doing another unnecessary Iverson impersonation)
4) Brand taking too many jumpers
5) FUCKING FREE THROWS. Iguodala missed FOUR from the line in the first quarter, letting Minnesota getting back in the game and recovering from a crappy start (6-19 after the same Iggy connected from behind the arc off a dish by… guess who? Yes, a double teamed Elton Brand ! Next time, do it in the fourth, guys). If there is a thing that really makes me mad, is watching my team missing free throws.
Let’s hope that we will want to win more than the Clippers on Friday…
SIXERS4GUIDOS BONUS STATS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS: Ollie was in a suit, Carney was a DNP CD and Booth was… well, surely ugly like always, but nowhere to be seen yesterday. Injured, probably. Anyway, we DON’T miss you, guys, sorry - Hair of Mike Miller’s father looks actually normal – First shot of the night was a nice TURNAROUND AIRBALL by Elton Brand – Craig Smith, WTF ??????? – Both Speights and Brand scored at the buzzer to end the first and second quarter – During the game a stat showed that Sixers were third in the NBA for points in the paint per game, with 44.8. First is Golden State, second come the Lakers – Andre Miller is averaging 13.7 shots per game… enough said - Check Steve’s Clips Nation for the best coverage about my 2nd fav team. Either that, or Clipperblog – Guys from T’Wolves blog are deservingly enjoying the win - At least we were wearing the red uniforms.