End of the day, the Sixers are headed back to the Wach with home court advantage in their back pocket. This game was a missed opportunity. This game left me extremely, extremely angry, but I'm trying to keep things in some kind of perspective. After the jump we'll take a look at what I consider some serious, serious flaws in Coach DiLeo's rotations.
Click on the image above to take a closer look at the rotations, then we'll discuss.
If you'd like to know how this game was lost, there's a simple answer, a simpler answer and a familiar answer. In order, no one outside of the big three scored; DiLeo's rotations were piss poor; defensive rebounding. That simple.
Let's take a look at the second half.
- 10:29 to go in the 3rd, Lee misses a three. Rashard Lewis grabs the offensive board, hits 1/2 from the line (1 extra point)
- 8:17 to go in the 3rd, Lee misses a layup. Dwight Howard grabs the offensive board and slams it home (3 extra points)
- 6:39 to go in the 3rd, Alson misses a layup. Howard again grabs the o-board and slams it home. (5 extra points)
- 1:06 to go in the 3rd, Hedo makes his first free throw, misses the second. Orlando grabs the offensive board, Hedo cans a three (8 extra points)
- 6:43 to go in the 4th, Anthony Johnson misses 13-foot jumper. Grabs his own offensive board, puts it in (10 extra points)
- 2:29 to go in the 4th, Hedo misses 20-foot jumper. Marcin Gortat grabs an offensive rebound, Anthony Johnson hit's a runner. (12 extra points)
- 0:29 to go int he 4th, Hedo misses a 21-foot jumper. Rashard Lewis grabs the offensive board, puts it back in. (14 extra points)
14 extra points because the Sixers couldn't even come close to securing the defensive glass. Completely unacceptable, and a perfect lead in to problem number two with this game.
Can someone please explain to me why every player in the league is allowed 6 personal fouls before he is disqualified from a game except Sam Dalembert? Yet again, Tony DiLeo sat Dalembert from the second he picked up his fourth foul until the final buzzer. It didn't cost him in game 1 because Theo got the job done defensively and on the glass. Tonight, I firmly believe it cost the Sixers the game. Say what you want about Sammy and his boneheaded plays. I mean, you don't have to look far for an example. When he picked up his third tonight, he compounded the problem with a technical, but I will say this. There's no way Sammy would've cost the team 14 points with stupid plays. Dalembert is this team's best defensive rebounder. Dwight Howard had already fouled out of the game when the final 4 o-boards listed above were grabbed, but DiLeo simply would not go to him. For the life of me, I can't understand it.
I don't understand why Willie Green was in the game for most of the third quarter and I really don't understand why Willie was brought in at the end of the first half to play the three and match up with Hedo. That decision cost the Sixers immediate points, and everyone on both teams knew it would.
Coach DiLeo has fallen into some bad habits. He insists upon using the starting lineup to start the third quarter, and he falls in love with a lineup for the "stretch run" of games. Tonight, he had four or five opportunities to get Donyell Marshall in at the end of the game when Sixers desperately needed threes, he opted to leave Ratliff in there on offense. No idea why. He never tried to go with a bigger lineup when the defensive glass was obviously the biggest issue.
Finally, let's talk about the balance, or lack thereof, on the team. Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller and Thad Young combined for 71 points on 28/49 from the floor (57.1%). The rest of the team shot 7/26 (26.9%) for 16 points. The balance was even worse in the first half. Iguodala had 1 point in the first two quarters, but exploded for 20 after the break.
This was a game the Sixers could have, and should have won. They fouled Dwight Howard out of the game. When he was in there, he didn't do anything on the offensive end (other than putbacks). They forced Orlando's guards to carry the load: Alston and Lee took 27 shots, Hedo and Lewis only 24. They out-shot Orlando both from the field and from three again. This game should've been a win. The Sixers should be up 2-0 right now in this series. It's killing me that they aren't.
If you want a positive to take out of this game, there is one very, very big one. No one, not a single player, coach or fan of this team, should fear Orlando. The Sixers are more than capable of winning this series. They're more than capable of winning another game in Orlando, if they have to. They can force Orlando to do exactly what they want on both sides of the ball and they can take advantage of three mismatches on offense to get a good look whenever they need to. Tonight's game was a missed opportunity, but it won't be the last opportunity of this series.
Player of The Game: Andre Miller. He carried the load for most of the night, dropping 30 (even if he did give up about 20 of Courtney Lee's points)
Series Record: 1-1
Up Next: Friday Night at the reborn FU Center. I'll be there.