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Another Disappointing Night

The more bad basketball this team plays, the closer they come to a change. That's what we have to keep telling ourselves at this point. The change could be a permanent coach, it could be a trade, it could be a drastic reshuffling of the rotation. Losses like this one to Utah really make you hope it comes sooner rather than later.

Outscored by 21 points from three, that pretty much tells the story. Here's a look at the Sixers' three-point defense, or lack thereof, as the case may be.

  1. C.J. Miles: Off an offensive rebound, kicked out, open look. Miss - 0/1
  2. D. Williams: Off an offensive rebound, kicked out, covered. Miss - 0/2
  3. D. Williams: W. Green goes under the screen, open look. Make - 1/3
  4. K. Korver: On the break, open look. Make - 2/4
  5. R. Brewer: Doubled off him, open look. Miss - 2/5
  6. K. Korver: Green loses him on the baseline, open look. Make - 3/6
  7. D. Williams: Dribbles into it, too much cushion, open look. Make - 4/7
  8. D. Williams: Green goes under the screen, open look. Make - 5/8
  9. D. Williams: Iggy goes under the screen, open look. Make - 6/9
  10. A. Kirilenko: Swing around perimeter, open look. Miss - 6/10
  11. D. Williams: Dribbles into it, covered. Miss - 6/11
  12. M. Okur: Pick and pop, open look. Miss - 6/12
  13. C.J. Miles: Off dead ball, D walks up the court, open look. Make - 7/13
  14. C.J. Miles: Green completely loses him in 1/2 court, open look. Miss - 7/14
  15. C.J. Miles: Slow rotation, open look. Miss - 7/15
  16. K. Korver: Kicked out, open look. Miss - 7/16
  17. K. Korver: Kicked out, covered. Miss - 7/17
  18. M. Okur: Kicked out, open look. Make - 8/18
When I say "open look" above, I mean not a defender within five feet of the shooter. So let's take a closer look at this. Of the 18 threes the Jazz attempted, 15 were wide open. Of the wide-open shots, they hit 8 (53%). They missed all three of their contested threes.

Now, let's see why the looks were wide open. Shots #1,4,6,8,9,10,12,13,14,15,16 and 18 were all defensive breakdowns of some kind. Shots #3,5 and 7 weren't bad plays. Coming into the game, Brewer and Williams were both shooting under 30% from three. I'm fine with going under screens and/or doubling off them early, but once Williams hit two from deep, you need to make the adjustment. The Sixers never did.

Where did the Sixers defense breakdown on those 12 shots? At least 6 of them were Willie Green's fault, plain and simple. Willie got lost in the wash of baseline screens and completely lost track of both Korver and Miles on multiple occasions. He gave Williams about a 12-foot cushion twice. He refused to fight over screens, even when the screen wasn't really set. Basically, Willie was a huge liability on defense tonight. The effort wasn't there, and when it was, he just wasn't up to the task.

Some of the blame has to go to the coaching staff as well. It was midway through the fourth quarter before they had the bigs showing on pick and rolls. I only saw a couple of hard doubles to get the ball out of Williams' hands. Strategically, you have to make choices on these plays, and Utah is famous for efficiently running them, but you can't just keep doing the same thing over and over again if it isn't working. After the 2nd three hit by Williams an adjustment should've been made. Willie also should've been benched after the third or fourth time he completely lost his man.

I hate the loss, it turns my stomach, but the night wasn't a complete waste. For the first time in a couple of weeks, we saw the Thad Young we've been expecting to see all year. 33 minutes, 8/14 from the floor, 1/2 from three, 17 points, 7 boards (3 offensive), 1 assist, 1 steal and only one turnover. More important than the stats was the level of hustle and aggressiveness he showed on the floor. He was crashing the boards, finishing with authority and running on the break. We need this Thad to show up on a nightly basis.

Filed under troubling, Marreese Speights has now played 114 minutes over the past five games, in that time he's grabbed 15 rebounds for a rate of 4.7 reb/36 minutes. For the most part over that stretch, he's played center. There's no doubt Speights is a gifted offensive player. His range may extend out to the three point line some day, he has moves on the inside and he finishes with authority. Unfortunately, if he doesn't start rebounding and playing defense he's going to be a liability. I love seeing the kid on the floor, but he's not earning the minutes right now. If you let him continue to play like this he's goin to develop habits that will be hard to break. He needs to earn his minutes by grabbing boards and hustling his ass off, not by jacking up as many shots as he can whenever he sets foot on the floor.

Player of The Game: Thad Young
Team Record: 12-18
Up Next: @ the Clippers (without Zach Randolph and Ricky Davis) on Wednesday.
by Brian on Dec 30 2008
Tags: Basketball | Jazz | Post Game | Sixers | Thaddeus Young |