Sixers don’t take care of business, basketball
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on October 30, 2008
I don’t know what pissed me off more, the 84-95 home loss vs Toronto (0-1, .000) in the opener or the fact that I watched the whole game with a bad connection, with low resolution and annoying buffering all the night.
In less than 5 hours I passed from being the happiest man on Earth, after realizing that for the first time in history the NBA allowed us poor europeans to buy League Pass (and for a ridiculous 67 euros, I would have EASILY paid up to 670 after such a long wait…), to almost throwing my computer out of the window.
And Sixers had few to do with that.
Ok, not that it was a good game to watch, but having League Pass signs a turnaround point in my life of Sixers/NBA junkie: enough of surfing chinese/taiwanese/pakistanian sites TRYING to catch the games on unlikely p2p streamings, I’ve got the official-unlimited-no blackout-suppacool package !!!
The speed of my Internet service provider is the fastest a man can have, but something needs to be fixed, evidently, to make things work in the best way. Just like for the Sixers, I mean.
Anyway, to put an end to this rant, here are my notes about the game.
Sixers performance was overall pretty disappointing. True, Toronto is a team we always struggled against, but we could/should have done better. That’s why Cheeks, in the pic, was screaming.
FIRST QUARTER. Our season began with a promising three by Thaddeus Young and another basket by Elton Brand on his first shot as a Sixer: Raptors cold start (0/7, then 2/12) let us take a little lead, with Sam blocking Bosh twice. But our center missed many easy shots around the basket (how about DUNKING the effin’ ball, Sam ??) and we couldn’t capitalize at the end of the quarter (21-18), despite totally dominating the boards.
Bosh’s airball on a shot over Evans was the most notable thing in the SECOND QUARTER, until Graham gave Toronto a boost off the bench, for their first lead at 26-28. Sixers were bricking many open shots and layups (it was 11/32 at a point), and Green helped Toronto with three misses in a row. Cheeks went with a weird lineup of Miller, Williams, Green, Brand and Dalembert but the small ball move didn’t pay off. Toronto was knocking down threes, as usual with us (5/5 !!), and a couple of silly fouls by Sam let them take a 38-47 lead, on a three point play by O’Neal. Iguodala went 0/2 from the line with one second to go (…), to close the half at 45-51.
Looking at HALF TIME STATS, a couple of numbers shocked me: Sixers had ZERO steals and eight turnovers so that the impressive rebounding edge (32-22, that became 56-33 at the end !!!) was wasted. Bosh led Raptors with 15 points and 7 rebounds, but mostly they took care of the ball better, with only two turnovers.
The music didn’t change in the THIRD QUARTER. It’s nice to have shotblockers, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t defend on the perimeter: when Calderon connected again from behind the line (60-74), Toronto reached a total of 7/10 as a team, with Kapono doing damage as well. Williams’ three free throws cut the deficit to only nine before the horn, 65-74, but you could see how sloppy our team was. I think we allowed easy baskets on every single play after a timeout, a sign of lack of focus and/or bad attitude.
Add some dumb plays down the stretch that let Toronto deservely take this game: with the score at 70-76 first Evans touched the net while the ball was falling in, deleting what would have been a nice basket by Thaddeus Young, then we turned the ball over on the next possession. So instead of a possible -4, Calderon pushed us back again at -9, knocking down Raptors’ eighth three out of eleven attempts: 70-79. After a nice break sparked by Lou, a long jumper by the usual Chris Bosh (he always scores big baskets down the stretch vs us) eventually put the game on ice: 82-90.
So what us made us lose the game? Same old story: poor defense on their shooters, points off turnovers allowed, missing more-than-makeable baskets in the paint, throwing the ball in the toilet too often (17 turnovers is simply unacceptable). We could never play the uptempo basketball we like, they never let us go on fastbreaks. Toronto, on its side, showed very good ball circulation – barely a surprise when you have an excellent playmaker like Calderon – and smartly took advantage of what we gave them.
Do we suck, are we overrated, is this team overhyped, is Iguodala (bad game) overpaid *? No, it’s a long season and this was the first of 82 games. I am confident we will be fine soon, we just have to change attitude and play with a sense or urgency starting from game 2.
Guidos note: Bargnani was almost embarrassing tonight, sort of an italian Keith Van Horn. He and Gallinari combined for a whopping 0/6 in their debut this year, while Belinelli was a DNP-CD. A long way to go for our players.
S4G bonus stats and random thoughts: Willie Green was credited with three blocks AT THE HALF ! It’s a career high, obviously – Andre Miller looked good, same as last year – Brand didn’t have a solid game but at least he showed he’s on his way to a full recover. He’s not rusty, I mean – Check the Blogger’s Power rankings I took part to: Ryan from Hornets 247 collected the votes from a panel of bloggers – Sixers play Friday in NY, meeting the guidoest team in the NBA, that started the season well, scoring 120 points on Miami.
OPTIMISTIC FINAL NOTE: the city of Philadelphia right now could not care less about the Sixers, I think. A couple of hours after the Toronto game, at Citizens Bank Park, Phillies won their first championship in 28 years, ending a frustrating 25 year drought for the town (the last title in pro sports was Sixers’ ring in 1983…). I don’t follow baseball at all, but I’m really happy for all fans there, I hope this big win could put an end to the negadelphian attitude I’ve always fought. Let’s be positive, guys, you just saw that dreams can come true. Go Phillies, go Sixers, hopefully another parade will follow in 2-3 years.
* = actually Iguodala IS really overpaid, but that wasn’t the problem last night, LOL.