Worst streak at the worst moment
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 13, 2009
The season high fifth straight loss, a 111-104 decision at Toronto, came in the worst moment for the Sixers (40-40, .500), now tied at the 6th spot with the surging Bulls.
Iguodala’s face is the picture of Sixers’ feelings.
Chicago is 40-40 as well but coming off four consecutive wins and with a better schedule (@ Detroit, currently 8th at 39-41, and vs the same Raptors).
Almost Everything is going wrong in Sixerland as of late. The most worrying part, to me, is that it seems we can’t put together a total team effort.
Nearly any given night a couple of our key players look MIA, so that the good, even excellent performances of single guys are eventually wasted.
The game vs the (lousy) Raptors, that snapped a four game losing streak (…) was another good example of these struggles.
We ended up with five players in double figure, which is apparently contradicting what I just wrote. Unfortunately what could be seen as “balanced offense” is more a “lack of reliable options” in crunch time.
Raptors built a fourteen point lead at mid fourth quarter (102-88), Sixers fought back and cut it to four (104-100 with 2.50 to play) but Toronto (smartly and) repeatedly went to the line and secured the win by knocking down seven of eight free throws before the horn.
I think it wasn’t a coincidence that in the two most important possessions down the stretch, Sixers turned it over badly.
With the score at 104-100, Andre Miller had an unnecessary offensive foul on Calderon, while when we were trailing by five but with a chance to stay in the game (109-104, 40 seconds left), Iguodala forced a drive, Marion stole him the ball and was fouled.
It was Iguodala’s TENTH turnover of the game (!). He threw away the ball in many ways: a behind-the-back pass to… the first row at the end of the first quarter was perhaps the worst (he immediately apologized, to be honest, realizing the mistake), but he had many bad ones.
Andre Miller grabbed an offensive rebound but missed the (uncontested) putback under the basket after two minutes. He basically never recovered, finishing with an awful 2/14. I think he took good shots, they simply weren’t falling. Layups, short jumpers, drives, even a three: no way.
As you might guess, with the two Andres having subpar performances, Sixers have troubles in facing any team. What made me nuts yesterday, is that the most damage was actually made by Patrick O’Bryant, Joey Graham, and Quincy Douby (!!), three stiffs that combined for 26 points on 11/15 off the bench.
Yes, Toronto went on that run in the fourth with Calderon, Bargnani AND Bosh on the bench !! CB4 checked back in with 7.36 to play, but Toronto was already up seven (93-86). Bosh did his part immediately, adding two nice field goals.
So what are we going to do vs Pierce-Allen-Garnett, or Lewis-Turkoglu-Howard, if we get killed by those (I’m sorry) scrubs?
Sixers had SOME reasons to be happy for last night, and I am going to mention them, in a desperate attempt to stay positive.
1) Sam Dalembert played a heck of a game, on both ends. He was very (re)active under the boards, catching some loose balls and converting them into baskets. Again, I honestly don’t get why he isn’t playing more, especially in the fourth (I can’t belive I’m typing this, but it’s sadly true). He avoided foul troubles and should have stayed in.
2) Lou Williams continued in his hot streak and was fantastic, by far Sixers’ most effective scorer. Forget the 0/5 from behind the arc, most of those misses came when the game was already closed.
He was simply unstoppable for every Raptor, drove to the rim countless times, always finishing with authority. The comination of 14 FTs attempted AND 6 dimes in 30 min of action is something to underline.
3) Royal Ivey had a once-in-a-lifetime streak of three consecutive treys in the second, carrying the Sixers to a 39-46 lead. Nevermind.
Few things left.
SIXERS4GUIDOS’ BONUS STATS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS – Sixers started the fourth with a dumb weird extra-super-small lineup of Royal Ivey, Lou Williams, Willie Green, Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights (???!!). Guess that, it didn’t work = 6-o Raptors, LOL – We all love Marreese Speights, but the guy should cut the 17-footers, and play more in the paint – Roko Ukic is horrible, in every sense – Bargnani and Bosh combined for 28 points in the first half, closed with a tie at 53 – Andrea is credited with a career high 6 blocks, I think I didn’t see more than two…LOL