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, all the time

I hate Florida, it's official. This was a thoroughly demoralizing trip through the sunshine state for the Sixers, and I'm glad it's over. I'm only going to use one stat to demonstrate how bad this game was. If you ever see this shooting line from Andre Miller, I guarantee you it was a Sixers' loss: 7/24 from the floor. That's right, 24 shots for Andre Miller.

Ironically, after watching the entire 48 painful minutes of basketball, I didn't come away thinking Miller was the worst player on the floor, but 24 friggin' shots. That's unacceptable, especially when you only hit 7 of them (one being a three at the buzzer).

I can't say I blame Miller, though. I mean, no one else could hit a shot and Elton Brand couldn't even get one off. The offense was efficient and effective for one stretch of the game, and that came late in the third when Lou Williams and Thad ran the pick and roll on the right side of the floor three consecutive trips down the floor. Each time Thad got the ball on the baseline and each time he converted on a different shot. This brought the Sixers back and gave us (false) hope heading into the fourth. Thad shot 5/8 from the floor in the second half and that brought his percentage up to .389 for the game. He was 2/10 in the first half.

I think I'd be much angrier about this game if the poor shooting was due to bad shot selection. That's something you can correct. But that really didn't have much to do with it tonight until late in the fourth when Iguodala decided to start throwing up bricks. No, the problem tonight was missed easy shots. The theme of the night was blown layups. Every Sixer was guilty, even Thad, of getting right to the rim and just blowing shots that they make at a 90% clip, easily. It happened early, it happened late and it happened in the middle as well.

I'm going to use bullets to sum up the rest of my notes because the thoughts are all jumbled and I don't want to leave anything out.
  • Loved the lineup of Miller, Rush, Iguodala, Thad and Brand. It seemed to work too.
  • The Sixers have absolutely no clue what to do when Brand is doubled. They never come to the ball, and for some reason clog the lane instead of spreading the floor. If a team doubles that hard, Marshall, Rush or both need to be on the floor to make them pay.
  • Doug Collins is a good announcer.
  • Dwight Howard only played 4:47 in the first half and the Magic went into the break with an 11-point lead. How does that happen.
  • Iguodala's impressive stat line: 16 points, 11 boards, 8 assists
  • Iguodala's team-killing stat line: 4/12 from the floor, 1/5 from three, 5 turnovers.
  • Willie Green saw way too many minutes (17) and did plenty of damage while in there. 3 turnovers, 1/4 from the floor, plus he fouled Jameer Nelson in the act of shooting a three when he was trying to give a foul at the end of a quarter.
  • Speaking of which. Why the hell do the Sixers insist on giving that foul in that situation. This is what I'm talking about, and this may be worth a whole post, that's how pissed I am about it. With 30 seconds left, the Magic get the ball, the Sixers have a foul to give. Now, if they just let the Magic run their play, they will get the ball back with 6 seconds, plenty of time to bring the ball up and get a decent shot. Instead, they let the clock tick down to 12 seconds and then foul. Best-case scenario, the Magic run the clock all the way down and miss the shot. What is the strategic value of making that foul? You're taking a possession away from your team. I understand taking the foul if your man beats you off the dribble and is on his way to an easy layup, but to automatically give the foul just makes zero sense to me. Every time they do it I want to throw my remote through the TV. Can anyone explain this to me from a strategic standpoint?
  • Coincidence? 6 turnovers in the first quarter: lose the first quarter 30-16. 4 turnovers in the 4th quarter: lose the quarter 23-22. 1 turnover in the 2nd quarter: win the quarter 27-24. 2 turnovers in the 3rd quarter: win the quarter 23-22.
And finally, I need to say something about Sammy. Games like this make me forget about all the dropped passes, all the stupid shots and all the goaltendings. In the second half, there were two players who looked like they cared if the team won, and actually did something positive to maybe help them do so. Thad was one of them, but Sammy was really the driving force. He was all over the glass, he was manning up Dwight Howard and challenging every shot from anyone who came into the lane. He was a sight to behold. He finished the night with 10 points, 14 boards (8 offensive), 3 blocks and only 1 turnover. If only we could get this type of effort out of him every night. His second half reminded me of the game he played against Tim Duncan late last season. Good to see out of the big guy.

Player of The Game: Sammy
Team Record: 2-4
Up Next: 3 days of intense practice, hopefully featuring plenty of pick & roll reps with Brand as the roller. Then back to the Wach to face the Jazz on Tuesday.