Experiencing new ways of losing
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on November 25, 2007
Sixers could, and should, have won last night, instead the Golden State Warrios somehow pulled out a 100-98 OT win at the Wachovia Center. The seventh loss in our last eight games combined with Knicks’ W over Chicago puts us at the bottom of the Atlantic, with a 3-9 record (25%).
It was a weird, enjoyable, even fun game, that started very well and ended in the worst way. The turn was pretty impressive. Sixers first half was simply fantastic: in the first quarter we started knocking down 7 of our first 8 shots and at 19-6 all Sixers had already scored a basket.
I saw Dalembert assisting Reggie Evans for a lay up and Reggie Evans returning the favor few plays after that (!), I saw Sixers’ big men patroling the paint and intimidating the opponents blocking and changing their shots, I saw Andre Miller and Lou Williams leading the team and making shots like we would like to see every night, I saw Sixers scoring 14 points on fastbreaks (0 for the GSW), I saw Willie Green dishing out five assists in less than 24 minutes.
I repeat: I SAW WILLIE GREEN GIVING FIVE ASSISTS in the first half. It’s not a typo.
Our 57-45 half time lead was a result of all these facts combined. Of course the Warriors did their part, shooting 32% for the field (14/43) and being outrebounded 19-29 (but read until the end…). The only player to keep them in the game was Monta Ellis, who came off the bench to score 16 points.
The reality check came at the beginning of the third. A 15-2 Golden State run gave them the first lead at 59-60, with Baron Davis and the red hot Ellis doing most of the damage. Iguodala and Miller went to work then, and Sixers closed the quarter leading 76-75. Ellis had already 27.
I think the key factor in the fourth were Warriors’ offensive rebounds. Sixers simply forgot to box out, Biedrins scored 7 consecutive points and Golden State built multiple 4 point leads, at 80-84, 84-88, 86-90. Carney’s fastbreak dunk (his only basket in another pitiful performance…) cut it to 88-90, but Rod couldn’t complete the three point play, so it was Iguodala with a couple from the line to tie the game at 90-90, with 2.12 to go.
Neither team scored until the end. Dalembert, a 74% foul shooter last year, launched two scaring bricks from the line with 33.6 to go, Stephen Jackson missed a baseline jumper with 7.4 to play, and Iguodala misfired on a fallaway jumper at the buzzer. It was not the kind of play I would like to run to win a game, honestly. Sixers shot 3/16 in the fourth, Golden State 7/22….
In the overtime an unbelievable “up & under” circus shot by Baron Davis put Golden State up three, 90-93, then Andre Miller and Lou Williams replied. The two teams came to the last possessions with completey different state of minds. Confused and agitated the Sixers, calm and organized the Warriors.
It’s true Iguodala beat the shot clock to give us a 98-97 edge with 13.4 seconds to go, but this basket came after a poor ball management in the possession: Iggy made an “instinct” play to score on that tough runner. Before, and in the previous possession too, he nearly caused two turnovers trying unlikely assists: first a pass to Dalembert’s ankle, then a nonsense alley oop that Sam couldn’t catch.
You put these besides his last, forced shot at the end of the regulation and you could question his capacity of taking the right decision in clutch moments. (But hey, he finished with 26+11+4, so don’t be hard on him this time, he played very well overall).
Another question is: is there a coach on the bench to draw plays, or at least call them? It loooks like there is not. Or that players don’t listen to him. Maybe they don’t execute. I don’t know
The point is they seem to be lost when the game is on the line and don’t know what to do, with or without the ball. Lou Williams’ final shot (or attempt of a shot, in the picture) is another bad sign. I’m not blaming the young guy there, maybe he was pushed a little bit, but anyway… it would have been another improvisation and not a planned play.
Warriors, on the other end, always knew what to do, particularly Baron Davis. It took him only 4 seconds, and a STRONG drive to the basket, to score the 96-97, and another penetration and a kick out pass to Kelenna Azubuike in the corner for the deciding shot, the three that set the score at 98-100 with 6 seconds on the clock.
Guess who was supposed to guard Azubuike? Willie Green, who went towards the paint trying to help Miller, and left his man open on the perimeter. He didn’t learn anything from the Hornets game (remember? When his man, Mo Peterson, drained 6 three pointers on us…). You come to some conclusion.
The total of boards at the end is Warriors 54, Sixers 47. If you recall what I wrote above, this means we got outrebounded 35-18 in the second half + overtime. By the Golden State Warriors? Yes… Evans played only 22 minutes (9 boards), Jason Smith only 11. I have a problem with this.
We lost by two points and missed 13 free throws, shooting 65%. I don’t care that Golden State did only slightly better (21/31, 67%), I cannot describe how this gets on my nerves. And it costs us games.