Apparently Brand’s comeback is not hurting Sixers…
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on January 25, 2009
Ok, first off thank everybody for lifting Sixers4guidos’ to its best day ever, with more than 3.000 accesses on Saturday, following our scoop about the return to classic jerseys and logo (and thank again to reader Josh G for letting us know).
That was a great achievement and of course it will push me to do a better job trying to cover our beloved team even from sunny (?) Italy.
Back to work now. Sixers wore THEIR, REAL (I’m not going to call them “old” or “classic”) uniforms last night and celebrated with a 116-110 win over the Knicks (21-21, .500) after a weird game, tougher than expected – and than it looked like after the FIRST QUARTER.
Yes, because we basically jumped over the Knicks from tip off, and quickly built a 15-point lead (29-14), scoring on fourteen of our first twentyone shots, with Iguodala carrying the team (12 in the period). Everybody, including myself of course, expected a blowout then.
New York simply couldn’t get a defensive stop but slowly got back into the game thank to an impressive barrage from behind the arc (7/11 at the end of the quarter !! Duhon was 4/6) and closed it down only six, 36-30. A bargain for them considering how it started.
The SECOND QUARTER was a close one, with Knicks’ reserves having a great impact, escpecially Nate Robinson (17 at the half) and Tim Thomas. Sixers couldn’t take advantage of the bulk and height edge over the Knicks, and the possible mismatches weren’t exposed.
At the half it was 63-66 (!!), with Knicks connecting on 10/20 from downtown, while Sixers closed with 25/44 from the field.
In the THIRD QUARTER Sixers4guidos’ favorite whipping boys – Willie Green and Sam Dalembert – did a great job. Sam finally started dominating under the boards, being a huge factor in our 33-22 rebounding edge at the end of the period, while Green scored some nice baskets coming off screens. On the other side, Knicks finally cooled off from three point land (“only” 1/5 in the quarter).
Two things I noticed in the FOURTH QUARTER that in my opinion contributed to our win. First, DiLeo substituted Brand with Miller after four minutes, a move that I liked but that didn’t pay dividends because Knicks immediately went on a 9-0 run to go up three (95-89 —>95-98).
Then, with Sixers really struggling and after Speights went 0/2 from the line, Di Leo put Sam Dalembert back in and the move sparked our final, decisive run, because Dalembert completed the job, grabbing every rebound, intimiditating Knicks with his presence and knocking down also a couple of important free throws.
But what is nice to underline is that EVERYBODY CONTRIBUTED WITH A BIG PLAY down the stretch.
Iguodala had two “and one” drives, Thaddeus Young scored on a layup to put us up four after another three by Tim Thomas (110-106) and on the following play stripped David Lee, sparking a fastbreak that ended with an alley oop dunk by Dalembert off a pass by Iguodala (112-106). Miller (fantastic, again) eventually sealed the game from the line with eight seconds to play. That’s what TEAMS do.
Few more notes to end.
1) Elton Brand played a good game after missing sixteen games, in which Sixers went 9-7. He checked in at the end of the first quarter and immediately converted a couple of offensive rebounds, looking comfortable in his moves.
He didn’t force a thing, allowed a three point play on a spinning move by Lee but in the fourth smartly drew a charge from Thomas, showing he’s not afraid of hard contacts. Well done by Elton, he will be fine soon. So much for Brand critics/doubters/haters. (I laughed when I saw his -11 on plus/minus at the half, wondering what negadelphians would have thought about it…).
2) Thad had a tough first half (3/9) but came up big in the final, showing confidence.
3) Miller was great one more time, he schooled every opponent in the low post (if only Sam could learn something from him…), scored on every jumper and was money from the line.
4) We fouled three times Knicks players shooting from behind the arc. Completely unacceptable. Put the blame on Speights, Green and Sam. That’s NINE freakkin’ POINTS given up in the dumbest way in a close game, DiLeo has to address that, we can’t afford such mistakes.
SIXERS4GUIDOS’ BONUS STATS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS: Nate Robinson really gets on my nerves, he always want to show he’s tough, never shuts up and is horrible to see – He scored a lot but he has a low bball IQ and helped us with a couople of bad decisions in crunch time – Evans was inactive with the flu – Guido Danilo Gallinari sat out to rest his back in the second night of a… back-to-back – Royal Ivey had another ok game, including a nice three in the fourth. – Andre Miller was our top scorer at the half, with 13 points on 6/7 – New York never won after trailing at the end of the third – The first of the aforementioned two misses from the line by Speights was a funny airball. Uncharacteristic for a good free throw shooter like him.