All things considered, the Sixers played a pretty decent 48 minutes tonight and lost to a better team. It's as simple as that.
If I need to find something to be unhappy about, I'll go with Jrue's limited minutes. He played well tonight and deserved more. I didn't like the horrible bench lineup Jordan used in the second quarter, which turned a tight game into a double-digit affair. Andre Iguodala had his second bad game in a row. I'm really worried that the swirling trade rumors are bothering him and he's taking it out on the court with him. He needs to put that stuff out of his mind and do his job.
All told, I thought Jordan coached up to his competition tonight. Sam played every meaningful minute in the fourth, after toying with small lineups in the first half, he only used one for about 4 minutes in the second. The Lakers are simply an extremely strong team. The fact of the matter is, if the Sixers play this exact same game and Allen Iverson doesn't go absolutely bonkers in the third quarter, they lose by about 25 points.
That was the first time Iverson caught fire since coming back to Philly. He dropped 11 straight and simply couldn't miss. He put the team on his back and almost single-handedly erased a double-digit deficit. Unfortunately, Kobe decided to take matters into his own hands, on both ends of the floor, and not only smothered Iverson on the defensive end, but drained 6 or 7 nearly impossible shots in the second half. It didn't matter who was defending him, it didn't matter how well they defended him (Jrue and Iguodala both did an excellent job of keeping their feet on pump fakes, and crowding him when he spun for a turnaround, it simply didn't matter. Willie was helpless.)
I couldn't have been more impressed with the game Elton Brand played. His final line wasn't mind-blowing (19 shots for 19 points), but he was literally all over the floor defensively in the fourth quarter. His three blocks and three steals were all huge and he was a physical presence on the inside against a tough matchup in Pau Gasol. Sammy and Brand outplayed Gasol and Bynum by a large margin if you ask me.
If you can get past the fact that LA is just night and day better than the Sixers, the reason they lost this game was turnovers. The starting five coughed the ball up an astounding 17 times and only had 15 assists. You simply aren't going to win with a number like that.
Here's a tweet from Lou Williams after the game, make of it what you will:
All this bullshit is just making me strong.... The top got higher the more I climbed..
Here's your rotation chart for the night:
Player of The Game: Iverson. Brand may have deserved it for his defensive work and a couple big shots he hit, but I had to go with Iverson. It was great to see him looking like his former self, even if it was only for a little while.
Team Record: 15-31
Up Next: @ The Swamp, Sunday evening.