The first half was heartening on the defensive end. The second half was a soul-crushing reminder that this team has a long, long way to go on both sides of the ball. The Celts beat the Sixers by 31 and it felt much worse than that.
Here's a look at the rotations tonight, if you can pull anything meaningful from them you're a better man than I (click to enlarge):
Actually, there were two things I really liked about the rotations tonight: (1) Jrue was the first guard off the bench and got his feet wet a little bit, even if he never shared the floor with more than 2 startes. (2) I liked the idea of the big lineup, if not the personnel exactly. In the third and for a couple minutes in the fourth Jordan ran with Iguodala at the one and Carney at the two. I'd like to see more of that. I'd also like to see more of Carney in general. At some point it has to become blatantly obvious that Willie Green should never set foot on the floor.
Tonight was Royal Ivey's turn on the wheel of DNPCD Jordan spins every night. I didn't really miss him. If you want to point your finger at something, the perimeter defense is the obvious choice. Boston shot 14/20 from three (70%), and Ray Allen didn't hit a single one. Honestly, Iguodala basically spat in Allen's eye and made him a non-factor. Unfortunately, Boston didn't need him to win by 30+, so I don't think they cared much.
None of our bigs seem too interested in defending any big who will venture out past the foul line. None of our guards seem to understand how to stop penetration. Our starting small forward continues to regress on the defensive end, which I don't understand. Overall, it was just a poor performance, outside of the solid defense for the majority of the first half. Sam Dalembert actually played a marvelous 15:07 in the first half. He did everything you could ask of him and only made maybe one or two mistakes. Jordan sent him to the bench with 3:02 left in the third (with the Sixers down by 14) and let him rot there for the rest of the night.
It's a funny contrast, this time last season the team was so intent on feeding the ball to Elton Brand in the post that they eschewed every other viable option on offense in the half court. This season, they essentially play four on five, with Brand as the odd man out. Tonight, the only time I can remember Brand getting the ball in the post was when a loose ball basically bounced to his feet, he picked it up, went to the rim and got fouled. I'd say about 95% of his offensive touches came way out beyond the three-point line, where he's a threat to only pass it to a guard. Brand only attempted 6 shots, making 2, in over 27 minutes of action.
I'd like to thank Jrue Holiday for pushing the Sixers over the 70-point mark with the first three-pointer of his career. He also stopped the Sixers from being shut out from deep, they finished the game 1/16 from three.
If you're looking for something positive, I don't have something...sort of. Here's an update Lou Williams posted on Twitter after the game:
@TeamLou23: Honestly. i didnt really contribute at all tonight. kinda was just out there. Going to eat and get ready for the next day...
At least there's a healthy dose of reality in that statement. I was growing tired of the relentless positivity in the face of poor performances on the floor. Time to regroup and get ready for the Nets on Friday.
Player of The Game: Jrue Holiday (for making the only three of the game)
Team Record: 2-2
Up Next: NJN, on Friday at the Wach
Perspective: 2-2 is exactly where any reasonable human being would've predicted the Sixers would be at this point. It could be worse and you couldn't have honestly expected it to be better. Just need to keep winning the ones you should win until things start to "click." Whatever that means.
One last thing, I'm watching the Suns/Heat right now and Lou Amundson would be a perfect 4th big man for this team right now. He's a guy who does everything Reggie Evans was supposed to do, but never really did for the Sixers. Too bad they can't get guys like that on the roster...oh, nevermind.