Finally a close W. It took Memphis, though
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on March 8, 2009
It took a mediocre team, a great contribution from the bench and a couple of (nice) surprises, but still Sixers’ 105-110 W in Memphis is an encoraging one (30-30, .500).
Let’s recap what went wrong, and we will quickly remind the good things.
1) free throw shooting was awful, again.
63% and ELEVEN MISSES are really bad, especially in a close game (19 ties, 15 lead changes, biggest lead at 9 – Sixers). Sixers were 15/24 with the score at 93-92.
Miller, uncharacteristically, did the worst part, missing four, Marreese Speights, usually precise, added another surprising 1/3, Iguodala shot 66%.
2) defense was porous, Memphis shot 60% in the first half (!) and remained at that pctg also at the end of the third (34/57). We could get some defensive stops only down the stretch. and fortunately it was when it counted the most.
We could never protect the rim, allowing too many drives, and couldn’t even foul them hardly/smartly, which led to many three point plays.
Conley (31) and Marc Gasol (30) both had career highs (…), something we shouldn’t be proud of. Duels in the low post between Gasol and Dalembert/Ratliff were an interesting thing to see though, a nice matchup to focus on.
But let’s move to what worked well.
1) perimeter defense, finally (I). Not that Memphis is a good three point shooting team (currently 28th out of 30 teams, with 33.9%, just above Washington and… ok, you got it…), but we denied them open looks.
2) we finally (II) made the right plays down the stretch.
Iguodala had a key offensive rebound, that led to his following, decisive, three (99-106 with 35 seconds left, off a kick out pass by Miller). Huge plays in crunch time. Finally (III).
Lou Williams – great game, finally (IV) – had also an extraordinary sequence, with an assist to Iguodala for a dunk, a tough jump shot and a big three (second of the night as a team, we “reached” 2/12 with that…), to put us up four: 95-99, 2.29 to play.
Sixers scored 24 points in the last six minutes (!!): it was 88-86 Memphis with 6.00 to play when Milicic went to the line. Best way to finish a game.
4) we took care of the basketball, limiting the turns. We had only six in the first half (vs Grizzlies’ 12), and one in the third quarter.
5) our bench was fantastic.
I would like to particularly praise Theo Ratliff, who gave us a great boost, also offensively (!). Deserving S4G’s front page pic.
The highlight of his night was at the beginning of the fourth, when he had an offensive rebound+ turnaround shot, followed by a block on Warrick, that sparked a fastbreak finished with a three point play by Iguodala (80-84). Beautiful.
6) Andre Miller, phenomenal as usual – ok, except the freebies…
How about SIX OFF REBOUNDS ??? Eight dimes-vs-1 turnover ??? He got often burned by Conley but scored on him nearly as many times, beating the smaller opponent in the low post.
Fellow serbians Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric were H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E.
Jaric got his pocket picked by Lou Williams in the second, in a way that was almost embarassing, like a 12 y/o kid playing vs his older, merciless cousin.
While the peak of Milicic’s night (ok, I won’t mention the two bricks from the line in the fourth… oh wait, I just did it…) was a low post spin move followed by a kick out pass in the fourth row…
Check 3 Shades of Blue’s recap for some extra laughs related to them. And a Grizzlies fan’s perspective, of course.
Sixers play the Thunder in few hours: check Oklahoma City Thunder balls for more coverage about our upcoming opponent. It’s a unique opportunity to improve our record, let’s not blow it.