These posts are becoming redundant; I feel like we've posted some version of this same post at least 15 times this season.
The blog post where we discuss a 76ers loss -- this one 107-96 to the Indiana Pacers -- and then the post-game assessment of that same loss. If you'd prefer the hard-and-fast news, click here: Jordan on way out.
If you want a little analysis following tonight's game, this is the place. The Sixers looked bad. They passed the ball out of bounds repeatedly, finishing with 21 turnovers. The Pacers, who aren't very good, scored mostly around the rim, were ahead 15 points with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining, and actually looked like they wanted the win more than the Sixers, which is curious considering they were without star player Danny Granger and have a worse record than the Sixers.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Sixers trailed by 9 points. In the fourth quarter, neither Andre Iguodala or Elton Brand played. Iguodala sat the final 15-plus minutes.
After the game, Jordan was asked if benching Iguodala and Brand was an indication that he felt they were playing without energy. Jordan did not agree, outright, saying only that he wanted to play a unit that "brought a little bit more" energy.
Of that fourth-quarter, Jordan said: "We were energetic and we were communicating and we had a hop to our step and there was a lot of spirit out there."
Last night, there was very little hop in the Sixers' step, very little spirit on the floor.
In that fourth quarter, the Sixers allowed 31 points, which, multiplied by a theoretical four quarters, means they would have allowed 124 for a full game with the way they played defense in that fourth quarter. Asked again if he was pleased with his team's effort (outside of Iguodala and Brand), Jordan said the guys that played in the fourth quarter "communicated and brought a spirit to the game."
After the game, Brand offered this opinion: “I don’t know about Andre, but I know personally, myself, I felt I played hard and just wanted a chance to be out there and play. I don’t make the decisions, so when we lose it’s like, ‘Okay, I don’t think that has worked many times this year.’ We don’t have many wins, but a lot of those wins, Andre and myself, I don’t think we were sitting on the bench a lot of those wins.”
More from Brand: “We didn’t utilize our mismatches and they utilized theirs. Guys like Dahntay Jones and [Brandon] Rush, 25 points and 24 points, I’m not guarding those guys.”
How do you explain not playing both Brand and Iguodala in a game's fourth quarter? It would be one thing to say the organization was trying to evaluate their young talent, but that argument goes out the window when you consider that Jodie Meeks -- the player most in need of being evaluated -- didn't check into the game until the final, meaningless, minute.
Both Brand and Iguodala struggle in certain areas (Brand with keeping the ball moving on the offensive end, Iguodala was 2 for 8 on the night) but you'd be hard-pressed to find evidence that either player took chunks of time off; neither has been previously accused of such a thing.