Well, eleven straight in heart-breaking fashion. Let's shift gears and play the blame game after the jump.
We'll start with the coach. Believe it or not, my list isn't too long for Jordan.
- Brand was a force in the first half, only got one shot the entire third quarter and really no looks on the blocks after halftime. The team was struggling to score and he didn't call a play to get EB the ball when the half-court offense was stalled for long stretches. Fail.
- I'm in favor of taking the three for the win in that situation (TK76 and I went through these numbers extensively during the playoffs last year, and he eventually swayed me), what I'm not in favor of is drawing up a play for Iguodala to take the three. You have two guys in your rotation shooting over 40% from three, one of whom has the best three-point percentage in the history of the league. Thad didn't get the look, and Kapono wasn't even on the floor. Fail.
- Small lineups. I don't have the energy to look it up right now, but I'm 99% confident the Pistons grabbed most of their O-boards against the small lineups. This is only a minor fail because he played Sammy and EB 77 combined minutes and his only other real option as a big, Jason Smith, is about as useful as tits on a bull when we're talking about rebounding.
Allen Iverson - Not fair to completely kill him since he obviously doesn't have his legs back, but.
- 6 turnovers. Fail
- 6 FTA in the first half. 0 in the second half. Fail
Andre Iguodala - Not going to kill him for the missed three at the buzzer. He's a 32% shooter from three, odds are pretty good he's going to miss that shot, but.
- I will kill him for the contested 18-footer he took with 3:32 left in the game. He hit a three (which was a bad shot) the previous time down the floor, but up 2 in that situation is no time for a heat check. There were 12 seconds left on the shot clock. Fail.
- He completely locked Stuckey down for two key possessions late in the game, one time stoning him and forcing a miss, the other time blocking his shot. The blame lies in the other 30 times Stuckey handled the ball. He didn't have much trouble getting by Iguodala, and he needs to figure out how to go under a friggin' screen, especially when his man isn't a threat from deep. If he bounces under screens we're talking about maybe a 35% jumper for Stuckey instead of a wide-open layup. Fail
Thad Young - A couple nice hustle plays and a trio of threes, but.
- Outplayed on both ends by Jonas Jerebko. Fail.
Elton Brand - A really good first half all around, but.
- Only one rebound in the second half. Fail.
- Needs to get in people's faces when he isn't getting the ball on offense. He was very effective early on, needed to demand the ball in the second half. The coach isn't going to do it for him, show some leadership. Fail.
Sam Dalembert - He was the best Sixer on the floor, but.
- He needs to actually set a screen when he goes out to the perimeter. Continually he went to the top of the key, got into position to set the screen, then left before even making contact with the guy he was supposed to pick. This gave no advantage to the ballhandler and effectively gave the Pistons a free double on the ball. Honestly, the roll doesn't even matter for Sammy, just make sure you set the screen before you dive to the hole. Fail.
The Bench - Nothing positive to say here.
- Kapono - 20 pushups every time you take a shot with your foot on the three-point line.
- Willie - You should be ashamed of yourself for that defensive effort. Fail.
- Jason Smith - Growing more useless by the day. GRAB. A. REBOUND. Fail.
- Royal Ivey - I've seen enough of you driving to the hole. Everyone knows it isn't going to end well. Fail.
On the positive side, Dalembert really was quite good in this game. 17 points on 7/8 from the floor. Two big free throws in crunch time. 11 boards, 2 assists, 1 block and zero turnovers. He and AI hooked up for a couple really nice lobs when Iverson was able to break down his man off the dribble. No bad decisions, plenty of hustle and very good numbers.
Brand looked very good in the first half, as I said above. Jordan needs to get him more involved and keep him more involved, short of that, Brand needs to get in Iverson and Iguodala's ears and tell them he needs the ball. Forget Dalembert, Brand needs to be the one to work the pick-and-pop/roll with the guards, he's actually a threat to do more than dive to teh front of the rim.
The big lineup played 33 minutes, which is a very good sign.
A loss is a loss is a loss is a loss (x11). This one should've been a win, and I think it probably is a win if Lou and Speights are available. Of course if the Pistons have Gordon, Rip and Prince it's probably a much different story as well. You need to beat bad teams when you're at home, especially when they come limping into town.
Also, don't let the final score deceive you, the Sixers defensive efficiency rating was 114.1, 7 points above their season average. The Sixers offense was also more efficient than their season average. Both teams can attribute the good offense to work on the offensive glass (or poor work on the defense glass by their opponent). The pace of this game was extremely slow, thanks again to the o-boards.
Player of The Game: Samuel Dalembert
Team Record: 5-17
Up Next: Houston on Friday
I think we'll have plenty to talk about on SixersBeat tomorrow night. Thoughts in the comments, as usual.