Sixers blow a unique chance (Pistons 2, Sixers 2)
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 28, 2008
Yeah, the series is still open, yeah before it started everybody would have thought that being 2-2 after four games would have been damn good, but still I have the feeling that we missed a great chance.
1) First off, give Pistons their props for the deserved 84-93 win of last night, they proved why they have been to the Conference finals five years in a row.
2) we better try to analyze how we let a 14 point lead (43-29, 4.30 left in the second) turn into a 15 point deficit (65-80, 8.30 to play in the fourth. That means a 22-51 break in 20 minutes of action !
3) we should think about possible solutions to avoid that happening again.
Pistons played like a veteran team, never losing composure also when everything looked going in the wrong sense for them.
Sixers’ FIRST QUARTER was great: Sammy knocked down a couple of free throws and had a huge block on Billups (0/3 + 3 turnovers to start the game…), igniting the crowd and setting the tone for his team mates. Iguodala hit his first two shots, one being a step back jumper (the same shot that NEVER went in before) and the other a thunderous dunk over Rasheed Wallace. We all thought it could be the right night for him and for the Sixers.
By the half of the period all Sixers starters had already scored, while Detroit (with Maxiell in at PF) struggled: it was 17-10 and it ended at 25-19, with Green and Dalembert scoring six points, Iguodala five and Young four. Mo didn’t make any substitution.
The SECOND QUARTER was even better: Jason Smith had a huge impact off the bench, with a spectacular block on Hamilton, a fall away jumper that beat the shot clock and a high flying dunk off a feed by Lou Williams, followed by another throwdown by the same guard that gave us a 10 point lead (39-29). On Detroit’s first defensive attempt of zone defense Carney knocked down a long three (42-29), so what could you ask more ???
A couple of turnovers kept the Pistons alive, and they closed the half down ten, 46-36, with Prince leading all scores with 10 on a nice 5/6 from the floor, while Billups and Rip were held to a combined, and pretty unbelievable, 3/18. Sixers’ offense was balanced, with Iguodala at 9 (4/8), Green at 7 (3/6), Miller at 8 (4/8 but with four turnovers), Sam at 6, with five rebounds.
The THIRD QUARTER was simply another story. We could make all the possible breakdowns, but the truth is just as simple: Detroit made all shots. Pistons went 5/6 from downtown in the period, with Sheed hitting three: that helped them making the initial 11-0 run (46-47, first lead of the night) and then extending the lead to seven (53-60, Sheed’s third three), and ten at 56-66, completing a 10-30 break !
An unstoppable Prince made a lot of damage (3/3 in the period), and second chance points absolutely killed us.
The 62-70 score at the start of the FOURTH QUARTER was something possible to overcome, but Sixers’ pains continued: long rebounds were always falling in Pistons’ hands and, unfortunately for us, even the horrible Rip Hamilton seen in the previous quarters woke up, scoring 10 consecutive points that put the game out of reach (69-84, 6 minutes to go).
Our lack of outside shooting was exposed, Willie Green had a nice spurt with a couple of baskets but Pistons were never really threatened. Game over.
So what went wrong for us?
1) Iguodala’s second half was unwatchable. Not only he shot 0/8 in the last two quarters (and 1/13 overall after the 3/3 aforementioned start), but he was abused by Tayshaun Prince again.
Tay went 5/5 in the second half, and while everybody is (correctly) pointing the finger on Iggy’s 11/49 from the floor in the series (22%…), you better combine that with Prince’s 66 % (31/47), including 19/21 in the last two games !!! To sum it up, Iguodala, known also for being a good defender, is being severely outplayed by Tayshaun on both ends.
But it’s not the shots not falling, or at least not only that. It’s his decision making, the kind of shots he takes (fallaway 20 footers, forced drives etc) and the turnovers that really irk me. Yesterday he gave away the ball five times, and also missed five free throws, which is totally unacceptable. Just another horrible night for him (and his agent, LOL).
This leads to another question: why is he playing so much (46 minutes yesterday ???) even when he’s clearly “off”? It’s not that we lack options at the shooting (?) guard-small forward spot. Thaddeus Young had another impressive game (15 points + 9 rebounds and a ton of good, smart plays), Green is being very solid (props, Willie) and he’s always good for providing instant offense, while Carney responded well even in limited minutes.
I understand Iggy is the franchise player (?), that you have to wait for him bla bla bla, but… how long ???? Solution: pull him out give him a rest earlier, use a combo of Green, Lou and Carney in his place.
2) we didn’t box out well, leaving Detroit too many offensive rebounds in the key moments (even if the boxscore doesn’t tell it). Solution: how about playing Dalembert AND Smith together for some stretches? Smith at PF for some minutes could perhaps open some space for Sam in the paint as well: lobs, alley oops etc.
3) we didn’t make shots (I guess you are impressed by this smart “behind the scene” analysis…), also because we took bad shots. Solution: more ball circulation, more movement without the ball, more screens, cuts etc, less one-on-one plays.
Now looking at the next games I’ll have to say this.
The series is still open and I think we are capable of winning one more in Detroit. We simply let a winnable game slip away, even if no fan with half a brain could have thought that Pistons would given up so quickly/easily.
Still, being 2-2 after four games is nice (remember how we got here… 40 reg season wins vs Piston’s 59…), and this team surprised us so many times that if they pull out a W at Detroit on Tuesday, this time I won’t be… surprised. Pistons realized these Sixers are for real and that they have to play hard for 48 minutes to beat them.
SIXERS4GUIDOS BONUS STATS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS
Well, I just gave you a lot of nice stats above, what the f’k do you want more from me ?? LOL – At halftime, Sixers shot 18/33 (54%), Pistons 15/40 (37%) – That means Sixers shot 13/33 in the second half, Pistons 19/40 – A good note: Sam Dalembert was very good again – Another thing to be happy for: Thaddeus Young’s 15 points are a playoffs career high, same for his 9 rebounds – When Andre MIller has more turnovers (4) than assists (3) it’s tough – Detroit’s (celebrated) bench was nowhere to be found again. All Pistons veterans logged more than 40 minutes, this might turn in our favor later – Mc Dyess played with a mask, lifting the total of Pistons looking scary to a remarkable two.