A hectic end of 2007
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on January 2, 2008
1) taking advantage of Ricky’s absence, Sixers traded Kyle Korver (in the picture) for Gordan Giricek and a first round pick
2) Sixers lost at Portland 72-97 (13-17, .433) “thanks” to a memorable fourth quarter collapse
3) Sixers won at Seattle 98-90 (14-17, .452) after a far-from-memorable game
After having spent the whole New Year’s evening reading all the news and watching the two games, I have to say the level of interest of those three facts is just reverse:
3) The Seattle game was simply bad. To me it showed few things, that I want to mention very quickly.
* we have to work on our killer instict. We let a Sonics team without Durant, Wilcox and Ridnour (!!! and they weren’t good even with them…) stay in the game too long. Seattle cut the deficit to three twice in the fourth, (86-83 and 89-86) both on jumpers by Delonte West, and the same West misfired on an open three that could have made it a two point game with 2.16 to play… we should have closed it earlier and with a larger margin… to sum it up, there were all the conditions for a blow out, basically.
* Lou Williams is amazing at the offensive end (13 points with 11/12 from the line in the fourth) just as much as irritating in the defensive end… he let Earl Watson AND Delonte West score repeatedly over him, and could NEVER defend a pick and roll… at times, it seemed the Knicks game all over again, when Jamaal Crawford scored 16 consecutive points on him… it looks like Lou can turn any opponent into an offensive threat (LOL): I expect Eric Snow dropping threes on us or Dan Dickau exploding for a career high soon… but he really helped us win this game so I’ll give it a cut
* Iguodala scored two terrific baskets when we needed it the most, one off an alley oop pass from Andre Miller (spectacular dunk + foul: 89-83, 3.29 to go), the other on a tough jumper to basically win the game (95-88, 26 seconds left): his confidence is rising and rising and rising… add also a nice three pointer at the 3rd quarter buzzer for the 73-62.
I’ll take the W + some other good things – Dalembert’s six blocks, Giricek’s solid debut, Andre Miller’s long three !! – and forget the rest (starting from the 9/19 from the line we had at a point…)
2) The Portland game was another one to remember. It seems like these two teams can’t play “normal” games when they meet. You saw by yourself that we got outscored 35-9 in the fourth, that Blazers went on a 21-0 run, that we were up 11 at the beginning of the third (47-36) bla bla bla, so I would add only few considerations:
* we played a poor first quarter, giving up four threes and shooting 7/21 from the fiield. It’s no coincidence that Andre Miller was horrible offensively, 0/6 including a couple of lay ups and many “easy” mid range jumpers
* our second quarter was simply perfect, and again it’s no coincidence that Miller was very good in the period (11 points)… I have only some doubts about the “three point guards” line up that Cheeks used for a while, with Miller, Williams and Ollie on the floor at the same time (??!!)
* to me the key in the third (and perhaps in the game) were Brandon Roy’s three “and one” plays that gave the Trail Blazers new life and ignited the crowd
* the fourth quarter disaster is simply unexcusable, just as much as the 4 technical fouls we collected in the stretch (Cheeks, Williams, Dalembert, Miller)… how about taking care of the ball and slowing the tempo down instead of trying idiotic alley oops or rushed shots when the other team is clearly on fire ??? How about knocking down shots (0/7 to start, 2/14 at a point) instead of getting blocked and/or bitching with the refs ??
1) I have mixed feelings about the Korver trade (you perhaps remember I’ve been a great Korver fan since he came here… I will go on following and rooting for him, by the way) . I think it would be also stupid to judge it now, since it’s clearly a move to free cap space.
From a purely technical point of view, we could even not miss much with Giricek: the croatian is a great shooter too, maybe just not as deadly as Kyle is behind the arc, but close. Giricek is four years older but a little bit more athletic and slightly stronger, while defensively they are more or less at the same level, below average (Korver) vs garbage (Giricek).
The loss of Korver will mean more minutes for Young (finally !!) and Carney (…) in the rotation, something I definitely like. I don’t expect Giricek getting more than 8-10 minutes per game, and no one does, I think.
Gordan’s most appreciated “skill” is his expiring contract, though, be sure of that.
That’s why I think that we will have to wait this summer to weight Stefanski’s first move (it didn’t take him that long to pull the trigger for the first time, uh ?): right now Sixers are the franchise with more money to spend in the free agent market (insert drooling smiley here…), being 10 millions UNDER the cap, according to the same GM.
Whom we will sign will tell us if this trade (these trades?) worked. If losing my boy Korver is the price to land a Josh Smith, a Jose Calderon, an Elton Brand in few months, well, Kyle, it will mean that you did great playing with us just as much as you did leaving us.
We will have more chances to analyze this over the next days/weeks, right now we have a trip West to finish (2-1 the current record, three tough games to go) and our buddy Kyle to meet, this time as a Utah Jazz (uh ! Doesn’t that sound weird?).
Happy 2008 again, it’s gonna be a wonderful Sixers year !!