I enjoyed it, replayed, until the horn sounded.
Then I realized that we just lost (102-96, .455) to a less than mediocre team, that not coincidentially had dropped eight straight games before matching up with us.
“They wanted it more than us” explained Willie Green at the end. “It was obvious”, he added. Well, not so obvious, since we were coming from three consecutive wins, just reached .500 and needed this win MORE than the T’Wolves, that will not make any use of it.
But yes, Minnesota wanted it more. At the end of the day the small things made the difference down the stretch, and shifted a close game in the opposite direction.
Al Jefferson scoring back-to-back almost identical layups against Dalembert in the low post (92-89, 94-91), Mike Miller knocking down a long three (98-94) off a double team on the same Jefferson, Andre Iguodala missing two, the first when he was open (Brand had a good off rebound and a putback for the 98-96), the second contested, with the score at 100-96: clank, game over.
The play when their Miller knocked down the trey is the same play that we should automatically run on clutch possessions, and sums the kind of offense we brought Brand in Philly for. Ball in the low post to a good scorer —> double team —> ball on the perimeter again —> jump shot by (insert name of a decent shooter here), or —> ball down low again —> 1-vs-1 play for the big man.
Minnesota won the game with that play. Good execution, even better conclusion. We lost: good execution, conclusion failed.
Last year in similar situations we could have had Evans in the paint, and, in the best case, Green on the perimeter. Not exactly an encouraging scenario, I know.
But this year we could have Brand and Iguodala/Williams/Rush/Green. It should be the prototypical “pick your poison” situation for defenses, but Iguodala is shooting 23% from behind the arc and 38% overall, Williams 26% and 35%, Rush is buried under the bench, Green is playing well but usually sits in the final quarter. Comments?
Plus we often take HORRIBLE decisions down the stretch, resulting in forced shots, turnovers, bricks: static offense, no circulation, I said it many times before. We almost never run plays. When we do, and take a good shot, like yesterday night (Iguodala’s aforementioned first three was an excellent shot, nicely built), we miss it. So if you want at least to see an improvment in this, you could do it.
What else could we rank as “positive” from an unexpected loss that brings us back under .500? Read the rest of this entry »