Looking like a team. A hot team.
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on January 16, 2009
The last time we met the Blazers at home, it ended like this. One of the most exciting and incredible comebacks I ever saw.
Last night, it was a larger, encouraging win, 100-79, our fifth consecutive (18-20, .474), a season high – just like the ELEVEN THREES SCORED. And the 21 point margin marks the worst loss of the season for Portland.
Those are all good signs.
Evidences of a team that has (hopefully) turned a corner in its season, that is starting to play with confidence, as a unit, having added some new weapons and having re-discovered other, older, ones, that looked lost just some weeks ago.
Since Di Leo gave his players “the green light” to take more threes – an apparently idiotic move for the franchise that has been dead last in the NBA for months in this category, at 30% and even below that mark - shots suddenly started to fall.
The guido Sixers’ coach stated he would have liked to score five threes a game, and his players knocked down EIGHT on seventeen in the first half alone vs Portland. The score said 55-33 by then. That’s + 22, baby.
But that fantastic, and even shocking, half time lead wasn’t built only on threes. It was the defense, the deflections, the steals, the ability to run whenever there was the chance, the usual lift provided by the guys off the bench (Williams, Evans, Speights…), the intensity, the unselfishness by everyone.
You know, all those things that good NBA teams put on the floor to win basketball games, and that were Sixers’ trademarks last season.
We had an horrible third quarter, though, playing static, predictable offense, with poor circulation and some unforced turnovers. The first field goal came just after 6.30 minutes played, a dunk by Speights for the 59-48, to stop a 15-2 Blazers run.
On the following possession, Portland cut the deficit to only eight (59-51 on a three by Batum, 5.17 left) but we immediately went up sixteen after that (69-53) and put the game definitely out of reach for the Trail Blazers at the beginning of the fourth (83-63) in a stretch that included two threes by Young and a three point play by Ivey.
It can’t be a coincidence that our young players and substitutes OFTEN have those key baskets and plays in the key moments of the games: Speights knocked down also a nice jumper after the dunk descripted above, when the pressure for their comeback was rising. Sweet.
Spurs coming to Philly on Friday. The 1-5 road trip and those unbelievable losses @ Denver and @ San Antonio look so far now.
Elton Brand is close to make his comeback. Many think it could be a problem, I say “Welcome back dude, we need you”.
STAY TUNED ON S4G AS WE HAVE A GREAT INITIATIVE COMING UP IN FEW DAYS and we will need help from all of our readers and Sixers fans worldwide.
SIXERS4GUIDOS’ BONUS STATS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS: Forget those eleven threes, the most surprising stat to me is Evans’ OPEN (!) streak of NINE CONSECUTIVE FREE THROWS MADE, and his 63% for the season. He finished last year with 46% !! – Speaking of threes, we rose in the standings and are currently ranked 27 out of 30 teams with 32% – But, hear this, we shot 34/70 (49 % !!) from behind the arc in the last five, won, games – Iguodala was simply fantastic in the first quarter, closed with 14 points, connecting on a couple of threes – Two words for all of you: Shavlik. Randolph. - He played. And scored. Garbage time, yeah.