Not A Very Convincing Win
The 76ers weren't exactly dazzling in Wednesday night's 86-84 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Not A Very Convincing Win
So who was Eddie Jordan trying to convince? Elton Brand? Or himself?
Did the 76ers coach plant the seeds of a possible lineup change to motivate Brand, or did he really believe making Brand the backup center would be in the best interests of the team?
As it turned out, the real change was in using starting center Samuel Dalembert for just 14:08 and in going with athletic Rodney Carney and experienced Willie Green as his primary reserves. Brand responded with season highs of 19 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks, and Andre Iguodala put up 25 points, all very necessary as the Sixers barely got past an opponent that has yet to win on the road and has now lost its last six games overall.
(Just remember, Jordan said Brand wasn't, at this point in his comeback, a 38-to-40 minute player, but he played him 41:44. He even kept him on the court in the fourth quarter, something he hadn't done very much at all.)
And it took a fast-break layup by Lou Williams with 3.4 seconds left to nail down the decision.
The truth is, what's wrong with the 5-6 Sixers shouldn't center simply on Brand. There's a lot more that needs to be corrected. They've scored fewer than 90 points in three of the last four games, and they got just 2-for-10 shooting from Thaddeus Young. And the rotation was as confusing as ever: Royal Ivey played only in the first half, Jason Kapono only in the second half.
''We're in the process of making adjustments,'' Green said. ''For three straigtht years, we ran the ball down peoples' throats, and now we find ourselves in-between. Should we run? Should we slow it down? We have a tendency to think about what we want to do instead of just doing it.''
Jordan is best known for teaching the Princeton system, a pass-and-cut, read-and-react system, but there haven't been many signs of it through the first 11 games. Mostly, they've either tried to run or played the more standard piuck-and-roll.
''Until we figure it out, we should be happy we got a win against Charlotte, but how are we going to do against the better teams?'' Green asked.
It's a fair question.
Wednesday night, they profited from the Bobcats' lack of a meaningful center, with both Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw playing hurt. The Bobcats also suffered with the performances of point guards Raymond Felton (no assists in 8 minutes of the fourth quarter) and D.J. Augustin (2 assists in 10:47 of the fourth).
With it all, the Sixers managed to squeeze past a weak opponent. You take your victoiries whenever and however you can get them. But I'm not sure they answered any real questions.