Sixers blow a golden chance, Orlando evens the series
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 23, 2009
I don’t know why but after the buzzer sounded, to announce the final 96-87 Loss at Orlando I had the feeling we missed a pretty unique opportunity for a 2-0 lead. Instead, now we are tied, 1-1.
We were in the conditions to steal also Game 2: Magic played another subpar game, Howard was limited, also by foul troubles, and picked up his sixth with 3.11 to play with the score at 84-76… Lewis & Turkoglu played like crap and shot poorly again… so how could we lose this game?
I’ll go with some bullets, and write a more complete post tomorrow.
1) we basically give away two starters to the Magic. Every game I mean.
Green and Dalembert were not ony useless but even detrimental. Green missed at least three wide open shots and got killed on D by Lee (in the pic, the MVP of the game), while all Dalembert did was piling up fouls: the first two after six minutes, as usual, later he added the third + a tech, then the fourth, before being eventually benched until the end.
2) we turned the ball over like crazy (16), and picked the worst time for the turns. We had eleven in the first half, three in the decisive minutes of the fourth. They were often unforced.
3) we gave up too many offensive rebounds (14). And not to Howard, that would be acceptable, but to Gortat, Pietrus, even Anthony Johnson etc.
4) our offense was sloppy and predictable. Few circulation, no movement with and without the ball, too many isolation plays, ZERO low post scoring.
Only two Sixers scored in the first quarter, Miller with 13 and Young with 8. At the half those two had respectively 21 (!) and 10, while all the other players combined for a mighty SEVEN points (Speights chipped in five, Lou Williams two, just before the horn). Yes, Iguodala had ZERO points in the first half, on 0/3, same for Green, Dalembert, Evans, Ratliff !!
Iggy did recover later, exploding for 13 in the third and not giving up until the end. Overall, a good game.
As a team, we didn’t score a three until the fourth, when Young cut Orlando’s lead to 72-65. Surprisingly, we ended up knocking down five treys in the final period again, exactly like in Game 1, but this time it wasn’t enough.
5) we dug ourselves another 18 point hole in the third (64-46) before going on a 15-2 run that put us back in the game (66-61). This second comeback was nice, but we went 5/9 from the line in the period…
6) in Howard’s absence, also before he fouled out, instead of making a strong run, we let them to extend the lead, carried by Lee (again) and Johnson (…). This due to a combination of poor defensive rotations, leading to open shots allowed, bad turnovers, no second chance points.
7) our bench didn’t give a great lift this time, if you take out an encouraging flash of Speights in the second: the rookie scored his first playoffs points. Lou and Marshall were in an off night, Theo was ok defensively, Ivey useless on both ends as usual.
To Magic’s credit, they played solid defense all night and showed pride and a variety of offensive options we actually lacked.
At the end of the day (well, here is actually starting, it’s 4 AM…) a deserved loss, with a really bitter taste of “unfinished business”.
Of course I would have signed to split the series after two games, but now I think that it won’t happen that often to have such favorevable conditions, and not take advantage of them.
For more, “live”, feelings and thoughts, check Liberty Ballers’ Game Thread, I posted there during the game, it was fun chatting with the guys.
Good night, see you tomorrow.