And the Sixers' impersonation of the New York Mets in September continues...
Forget the fifth seed. The Sixers will need a minor miracle to hold onto the 6th seed at this point. Truth be told, I'd say there's a 90% chance they wind up #7, with a 40-42 record. Incidentally, the other 10% chance is that they'll finish #8, not #6. How can you look at yourself in the mirror after losing to the Raptors in this situation?
Let's take a look at the rotations first, and get Tony DiLeo's portion of the blame out of the way quickly:
Two things jump out at me right away, and I mentioned both in the comments during the game.
- The Sixers went on a huge run when Lou first entered the game, and there was a reason for it. No one on the Raptors could even come close to keeping him out of the lane. Why DiLeo waited until the third quarter was almost over to get Lou back in there is beyond me. Lou should've started the second half, and they should've run more iso plays for him. He went to the line 14 times in 30 minutes, and he really should've been out there for more of the game, especially considering how Andre Miller played.
- This was one of the most-effective games Sammy has had in a long time. 18 points and 12 boards in only 29 minutes of action. Sammy saw exactly 5:05 of playing time in the fourth, during that stretch the Sixers outscored Toronto 16-7. In his 6:55 on the bench in the fourth, the Raptors outscored the Sixers 30-8. This is not a coincidence. DiLeo went with a stupid small lineup for the first 2 minutes which led to a 6-0 run, then he brought Ratliff in and things got even worse. Sammy was not in foul trouble, this was strictly a coach's decision, and it was the wrong one.
Since I touched on it a little bit, let's take a closer look at the games turned in by the Andres. Iguodala notched his 12th double-double of the season. Unfortunately, the second double came in the form of turnovers. He coughed the ball up in every imaginable way, and it's fitting that the game was put away on his turnover with 36 seconds left. But hey, he did score 21 points, so I'm sure this guy is pumped up. Can't wait for his "Loosing (sic) link dump" column tomorrow. (Yes, I'm in a very bad mood tonight).
And the other Andre, the one whose agent is apparently looking for a bigger deal this Summer? Well, that Andre shot 2/14 from the floor for 10 points. Need I say more?
I firmly believe that seeds 2 through 4 in the East all have some serious flaws that can be exploited in the playoffs. I no longer, however, believe the Sixers are capable of exploiting anything.
Just in case you're still interested, here is the playoff picture breakdown.
If the Sixers lose their final 2 games, they need Chicago to lose it's final 2 (@ Detroit and vs. Toronto) in order to finish with the #6 seed. They need Detroit to lose 1 of its final 2 games to finish with the #7 seed (vs. Chicago, @ Miami). If Chicago wins 1 of 2, and Detroit wins both of their games, the Sixers will drop to #8.
If the Sixers split their final 2 games, they need Chicago to lose one of it's final 2 games to finish with the #6 seed. Otherwise, the Sixers will finish 7th.
If the Sixers win their final 2 games, they finish 6th. Fat chance.
Player of The Game: Lou, for leading the team in scoring and finding a way to get that final three at the buzzer off. Excellent work.
Team Record: 40-40
Up Next: Boston on Tuesday night.