I guess I owe Miami an apology. If anyone looked like a bad team tonight
, it wasn't them. Our beloved Philadelphia 76ers pulled off their best Washington Generals impression and managed to make a bad night even worse for yours truly.
I spent a good 20 minutes debating what adjective best describes the Sixers play and I finally settled on lazy. It seems kind of tame considering how angry I am right now, but it fits. The Heats were all over the floor, and the Sixers made their job easy. Lazy passes, lazy catches, lazy ball handling ... just plain lazy. Twenty-five turnovers. Every run they made was halted by turnovers. Every Miami run was feuled by them. The Sixers did not look like the team that's rounded the bend and is on its way to a deep playoff run, they looked like the disorganized young team who's going to spend the season struggling.
I'd usually go about placing blame at this point of the post, but there's just too much to go around. The height of embarassment came late in the fourth when Andre Iguodala was playing during garbage time. Why was he in there, you ask? Well, he was on the floor so he could score a point. Mo let him play the extra minutes so he wouldn't suffer the embarassment of being held scoreless. It took about three minutes for him to sink a layup against a Miami D that had long since stopped trying. Pitiful.
After the jump I'll try to pull something positive out of this mess of a game.
Thaddeus Young. Once again, he's the bright shining light in a dark game. He wasn't perfect, like everyone else, he had way too many turnovers (5), but I dare say he is quickly becoming this team's go-to guy. Here's some evidence:
- Miami gets off to a quick start, leading 6-0 before Thad opens the scoring with a layup.
- Miami then goes on a 5-0 run, digging the Sixers' hole to 11-2. Thad hits back-to-back threes cutting the lead to 11-8.
- Miami pushes the lead back up to 7, Thad answers immediately with back-to-back hoops to cut it to 17-14.
- In the second quarter the Heat push their lead to 24 in the second quarter. That stops the run with 5 consecutive points on a runner and a three.
Every team needs a guy who can stop the bleeding. A guy they can ride when the offense stalls. More and more, Thad is becoming this guy. The only thing I don't understand is why they've been going away from him in the second half. He had 17 at the break tonight, finished with 19, although he did get a couple open looks from three in the third, he couldn't connect.
I don't know how quickly it's going to happen, but it's unavoidable. Thad is going to be the Sixers' stopper in big situations. He may even lead this team in scoring before all is said and done. The only other positive was Speights who tallied his first single-double. He grabbed 10 boards in his 17 minutes of work.
A game like this throws rotations completely off, but I did see one positive and one HUGE negative. The positvie was Kareem Rush coming in for Iguodala when he picked up two quick fouls in the first. I was shocked it wasn't Willie, shocked and extremely pleased.
The negative came late in the third. With 2:51 left, the Sixers had shaved 13 points off the lead. They were down 69-58, a completely manageable deficit with that much time left. For some reason, Mo decided this was a perfect time to bring both Lou and Willie off the bench. Instead of using the final two minutes to shake Miami's confidence and cut the lead to single digits heading into the fourth, they limped through, let Miami tack another point on and lost the momentum. Bad call, Mo.
The only good thing about this loss, or potential good thing, is that we don't have to sit with it for very long. The Sixers will head to Orlando for a match-up with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic tomorrow night. It's a TNT game, scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. Let's hope for a complete turnaround on short rest. Tomorrow will be a huge test. I'm thinking Theo should be activated for the game, just to have 6 more fouls to use on Howard.Player of The Game:
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