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Jimmy Rollins and Andre IguodalaQ: What killed the Sixers tonight?
A: Turnovers.

Yes, tonight's nemesis was sloppy play. 19 turnovers and just a pitiful shooting performance in the fourth quarter short-circuited what was otherwise a well-played game by the Sixers. I feel like I've been beating a dead horse regarding the Sixers inability to defend the three-point shot. Tonight, I thought I'd document their troubles and see where the fault really lies.

Obviously, the night that I choose to keep track, the Pistons shoot 5/18 from downtown (27.8%), but I still think there's a lesson to be learned, and I took the time to track it during the whole game, so here goes.
  1. Billups (Made, uncontested, 1/1) Andre Miller tried to go under a screen and cut Chauncy off from circling under the hoop. Billups instead faded to the three-point line where he was wide-open to hit a three.
  2. Wallace (Missed, uncontested, 1/2) No one picked up Rasheed in transition, missed a wide-open three.
  3. Billups (Made, contested, 2/3) Off inbounds pass Chauncy catches the pass about 4 feet behind the line, Miller is on him. He hits anyway.
  4. Billups (Made, contested, 3/4) Billups hits with Reggie Evans in his face as the shot clock expires. Good defense, better shot.
  5. Hayes (Missed, uncontested, 3/5) Pick and roll at the top of the key, Dalembert doubles Billups, Wallace leaks to the three-point line, they pass to him, Thad closes out on Wallace quickly, they swing the ball to Hayes in the corner, Jason Smith is late in rotating. He misses a wide-open three.
  6. Stuckey (Missed, uncontested, 3/6) Lou Williams helped on penetration by Rip Hamilton. Sam was slow to rotate to the open shooter in the corner. He missed a wide-open shot.
  7. Prince (Made, uncontested, 4/7) Thad picked up Maxiell on the low blocks, fronted him and locked up with him to stop the entry pass. Prince cycled through the lane and Jason Smith didn't follow him. Wide-open look, converted. Thad probably should've released on Maxiell and turned him over to Smith, or Smith should've run with Prince. Bad communication, either way.
  8. Afflalo (Missed, contested, 4/8) Thad didn't leave his man on penetration by Billups. Was right there to contest the three and it was missed.
  9. Afflalo (Missed, uncontested, 4/9) High screen and roll, Dalembert comes out and they double Billups, swing to high post, Giricek leaves Afflalo to cover the high post, Detroit swings the ball to Afflalo wide-open in the corner, but he misses. Dalembert never left the double on Billups, never found a man.
  10. Billups (Missed, contested, 4/10) Miller stays at home on Billups, forces a bad shot from three and he misses.
  11. Prince (Missed, uncontested, 4/11) Iguodala left Prince to help on a drive by Billups, never got back to his man. Prince missed a wide-open three.
  12. Wallace (Missed, contested, 4/12) High screen and roll, ball kicked into the corner, the Sixers rotate to it, back to the top for a three from Wallace, Iguodala closes out and contests the shot. Wallace misses it.
  13. Hamilton (Missed, uncontested, 4/13) Double on Wallace on the right blocks, skip pass directly to Rip for a wide-open three, Lou Williams is late to show, but Hamilton misses the shot.
  14. Billups (Missed, contested, 4/14) Mismatch with Jason Smith on him, Billups decides to pull up for a three, but Smith gets a hand in his face. He misses.
  15. Wallace (Made, uncontested, 5/15) Rasheed chases down a loose ball, gathers it and hits an open three from the corner.
  16. Billups (Missed, contested, 5/16) Lou was on him like a glove. Chauncy tried to draw a foul, forced up a bad shot and missed.
  17. Billups (Missed, uncontested, 5/17) Miller leaves Billups to double Wallace on the blocks. Immediate kick out for a wide-open three. Billups missed.
  18. Hamilton (Missed, uncontested, 5/18) Willie Green doubles McDyess off the ball, for some reason. Leaves Rip wide open, but he misses the three.
All told, the Sixers dodged a bullet here. The Pistons shoot 37% from downtown on the season. Tonight, they were 3/10 on their wide-open looks from three, 2/8 otherwise. The main reason behind the open looks, and the real point of this exercise, is poor play on the pick-and-roll, and poor communication. Sammy does a great job of showing quickly on the point coming over the screen, and he aggressively doubles, but then it takes him a little time to get back into position. The Sixers are good at getting the the first guy, but the second rotation almost never gets there in time.

Some of this you can chalk up to young players' inexperience, but as the season wears on the experience excuse holds less and less water. Mo needs to be working on this every day in practice with the young guys. I'm going to keep track of the opposing team's threes for a couple of games, just to see if the same themes occur, and if the Sixers make any adjustments.

Tomorrow is an off day before the Sixers head to the Garden to face the worst franchise in professional sports. Check out Stop Mike Lupica for Knicks coverage.

Player of The Game: Jason Smith, 6 points, 8 boards and 2 steals in 22 minutes of action.
Team Record: 16-27
by Brian on Jan 23 2008
Tags: Basketball | Pistons | Sixers |