The script for this game played out pretty much exactly like so many of the team's previous 29 losses. The only consistent aspect of the Sixers play being inconsistent defense. Runs, countered by runs countered by sputtering offense, blown rotations and botched defensive rebounds. Midway through the fourth Eddie Jordan changed things up a bit, but it was too little, too late.
If you check out the rotation chart above, you'll see Jordan's maddening substitution pattern was pretty much identical to what we've seen since he changed the starting lineup. More minutes for the bench guys, etc. The only difference in the first 42 minutes of game action was Jason Kapono taking minutes from Thad Young (who was 6/6 with 7 boards in only 19 minutes of action).
With 5:27 left in the fourth quarter and the Sixers trailing by 8 points, Jordan brought Sam off the bench for some rare fourth quarter minutes. The big lineup with Sam and Elton up front proceeded to hold the Bucks to three points over the next 4:14 and cut it to a two-point game with about a minute to go. At that point, when the team needed a stop, Jordan pulled Lou Williams for a defensive upgrade at the point. You guessed it, Willie Green got the nod, not Jrue Holiday. Brandon Jennings blew by Willie and hit the bucket to give Milwaukee the lead for good at 90-88.
Anyway, Elton Brand missed a point blank layup to tie it with about 8 seconds left. Iguodala missed a three to tie it at the buzzer and the Sixers came home with their tail between their legs and their 30th loss under their belts.
Brand was an animal tonight, finishing with 26 points, 10 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks in 39 minutes. Unfortunately, he was the only guy in the starting lineup who seemed to have any energy, or desire to be honest. Iguodala seemed like he was sleepwalking out there, barely contributed at all in the first half and really wasn't much of a factor after the break either. Jrue had his first shaky game in over a month, committing three turnovers in 21 minutes. He chipped in with 5 points, 4 boards, 3 assists and a steal, and he did a better job defending Jennings than the other guards, but he could've had more of an impact on the defensive end and I thought his play on the pick-and-roll, while it definitely wasn't helped by the bigs, came up short. Iverson shot 3/10 from the floor and turned the ball over four times.
Too many turnovers, too few points in transition. Not enough defensive against what is really a bad offensive team. Poor execution in the final minute of a close game. Sounds like a recipe for failure, hence their 30th loss of the season. I'd love to hear from all the people who were so high on Jordan two games ago now that they've lost back-to-back games against Indy and Milwaukee. I also forgot to mention the Sixers were well-rested while the Bucks played the night before in a close loss at Dallas.
Player of The Game: Brand. Who else?
Team Record: 15-30
Up Next: Lakers on Friday night.