There's not too much to be concerned with following tonight's 93-81 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The 76ers were ahead 62-56 with 36.9 seconds left in the third quarter despite having one of their worst shooting games of the season.
If you were at tonight's game, or watching it, you could probably sense that the Sixers would be unable to continue to stay even (or even slightly ahead) of the Lakers with the way their offense was playing. It wasn't so much that they weren't executing a play, but that the end result of the play, i.e. the open shot, was being missed by pretty much everyone on the roster. (Except for Spencer Hawes. Once again, he looked really good).
After the game, Doug Collins was his usual to-the-point self. The Sixer started the game 0 for 11 from the field (Collins called them "bare-assed shots," which we assume means relatively open shots). The Sixers were 3 for 21 from the three-point line. The Sixers had a starting backcourt that went 4 for 22 from the field and 0 for 7 from three. The Sixers brought Lou Williams and Andres Nocioni off the bench to the tune of 5 for 18 from the field and 0 for 7 from three. Basically, looking at the numbers, it's wild that the Sixers were ahead of the Lakers after three quarters.
If you want to check out what Elton Brand had to say after tonight's game, the video should be embedded in the blog.
Here's some news from after the game: Kobe Bryant sprained his pinkie finger in the first quarter of the game and said, "it was hard to hold the basketball." Hawes sprained his ankle in the third quarter, but x-rays were negative after the game and Hawes is expected to play on Saturday night against the Orlando Magic. Rookie Evan Turner did not play, coach's decision and after the game Collins explained that he wanted to use Nocioni to try to spread the defense because he knew L.A. would pack it inside. In theory, it was a smart move. In execution, Nocioni couldn't make the shots.
Back to the game itself. On the season, the Sixers have usually shot the ball very well, so it's difficult to assess exactly how they would have done had Meeks hit a couple of threes, had Nocioni made one or two, etc., etc. It was just an unusual performance offensively, but what the Sixers have been doing without fail these last three weeks is play defense. All the time. Tonight, the Lakers shot 41.8 percent from the field and 3 for 15 from three. They turned the ball over 14 times, off of which the Sixers scored 24 points. In these last few weeks, the Sixers have looked very much like a typical Philly basketball team: low-scoring games, take it down to the end, and then try to gut it out. Only problem has been they haven't quite learned the "gut it out" part yet. But maybe that will come.
A couple of more observations:
*Jrue really does have some bad turnovers. Sometimes if you look over at Collins afterward you think Collins' head might explode. These aren't even turnovers where Jrue is creating, but rather just dumb attempts over the top or no-thought passes upcourt. Not only is he turning the ball over, but he's turning it over in places where the Sixers are really pressed to defend in transition.
*Collins did not seem dismayed by tonight's result. Here's what he said: "We are disappointed. We would have loved to win the game. We are not discouraged because, once again, we competed at the highest of levels."
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More tomorrow from Orlando.
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