Sixers finally get a defensive stop, and it’s decisive.
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on February 28, 2009
Boy, can we blow leads…
I seriously risked a heart attack looking at how Sixers progressively let a 22-point lead (27-49 in the 2nd) got cut to two (79-81 in the 4th, that became 97-99, then 99-101) without playing a lick of defence and allowing Knicks a barrage of three pointers and countless layups in the second half.
But when it came down to the decisive play, Thaddeus Young stepped up and blocked Duhon’s layup, securing Sixers’ 103-108 W over New York (29-28, .509), a game that completed the second season sweep in the last two games (Wizards 3-0, Knicks 4-0).
Few plays before that timely (in any sense) block, Young had airballed a wide open 17-footer with Sixers up four (99-103). But Harrington couldn’t knock down an open three in the following possession: that shot from the corner could have made it a one point game with exactly one minute to play.
So instead of the possible 102-103, two free throws by Andre Miller put us up by six with 41 seconds to play (99-105), setting the stage for Thad’s final swatting of Duhon. That’s how we made a pretty unbelievable comeback by the Knicks good only for some deserved praise, and not for a W.
The FIRST QUARTER was pathetic for NY, setting a new season low for points (11). Duhon turned the ball over four times in the first two minutes, Dalembert was a force, dominating under the offensive board, blocking two shots and changing some others (see the pic). That, together with some steals, sparked several fastbreaks, resulting into the final 11-29.
In the SECOND QUARTER Sixers’ dominance continued, we extended the lead to 22 (27-49) with Miller leading the way, scoring pretty much at will and assisting team mates. Hughes had 9 points off the bench for the Knicks, that pulled within seventeen at the break (34-57).
FIRST HALF STATS poited out our huge advantage under the boards (30-17 Sixers) and the disparity in free throw attempts (15/18 Phi, 4/6 NY) told a lot about the difference in aggressiveness for the two teams. Sixers scored also 13 fastbreak points, vs Knicks’ 6.
Unfortunatley in the THIRD QUARTER it was a totally different story. Hughes turned into Ray Allen and scored on three of his four attempts from behind the arc: he had 19 when the lead was cut to eleven at mid quarter (55-66). Sixers’ perimeter defence was simply non-existant, and the three point feist continued as Gallinari and Duhon also connected: 71-77 at the end, with Knicks shooting 7/10 from three point land in the period !!!
If you though that was enough, you were wrong, because Harrington and Nate Robinson had two more threes at the beginning of the FOURTH QUARTER, and when Nate made it 79-81 New York was 9/13 in the second half !!!
Sixers, to their credit, continue running plays on the offensive end and repeatedly went to the line, where they scored at a decent rate this time. Ivey scored a big three to give us a eight point lead with 6 minutes to go (87-95), but the problem was on OUR midcourt, because we never, ever got a defensive stop. Until the final, decise play by Young.
Before that, Iguodala and Miller scored the two biggest baskets down the stretch.
Few extra considerations.
1) I watched the game listening to Knicks commentators, and Frazier said the officiating was “dubious”. I honestly saw no more than a couple of questionable calls going in our direction, but when you send your opponent to the line FIFTY-TWO TIMES, it means there is something wrong in your defence.
After allowing so many threes (add to that a couple of “long two pointers”, thank to Knicks shooters’ dumbness), we switched defenders on the final possessions. It took a lot to realize it, but anyway…
2) I also think Dalembert was kept out way too much in the second half, especially in the fourth, when our defence was porous also in the paint.
3) good game by Lou Williams, finally, precise from the line.
4) two words: Andre Miller. A beast offensively, calmy swished all seven of his free throws, including the two biggest ones with 40 seconds to pla, made a tough running shot for the 99-103 lead with two minutes to play, silencing a roaring MSG crowd.
5) terrific effectiveness by Reggie Evans in a fair 18 minutes of play. 3/4 from the line is not bad either.
SIXERS4GUIDOS’ BONUS STATS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS – Hughes shot a combined 4/22 in his first three games as a Knick… – Guido Danilo Gallinari made a nice three in the third, when he was guarded by Dalembert (!?), but allowed a three point play by Iguodala in the second quarter. Overall, not a bad game – Sixers play Orlando tonight, in the second game of a back to back for both teams – Check Third Quarter Collapse and learn how the Magic lost to the slumping Pistons last night, ending an eight game losing streak for Detroit, and in the first game without Iverson…