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FPR: Hawks @ Sixers

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Mike was at the Wach last night to witness first-hand the mugging of Andre Iguodala, the A.I. chants that may lead to a huge setback for the franchise and oh yeah, the Sixers 11th loss of the season. His first-person report is after the jump.
PREGAME SHOOTAROUND

  • Iguodala was the last Sixer out shooting jumpers about an hour before tip-off.  He was working with Aaron Mckie on a catch & shoot fade-away jumper from the baseline just inside the 3pt line, not a shot we see particularly often from him, or anyone.
  • The size of the crowd is immediately noticeable.  I didn't go to the Memphis game where everyone presumably showed up for Iverson, but this was the biggest crowd I've seen so far this season.
  • Pretty cool to see Dominique Wilkins strolling around the sidelines.  I didn't realize he was the Hawks VP of Basketball, as well as one of their broadcasters.
  • Also nice to see ex-Sixer Tyrone Hill on the Hawks' bench as a coach.  They have been replaying Game 1 of the 2001 Finals recently on NBA TV so his gorgeous mug was fresh in my mind.
  • These 2 teams are pretty friendly towards one another.  I'm not going to go through all of the players who exchanged hugs because there were a whole bunch.  Dalembert in particular seemed to know everyone, including an Atlanta assistant coach who I did not recognize.
  • A young girl who couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 in the row in front of me was wearing a Joe Johnson jersey.  Not sure how that happens.
ONTO THE GAME

  • I was impressed with Joe Johnson's defense on Iguodala.  It's not something he's known for but he did a pretty good job in the 1st half before a couple of his teammates switched onto him.  Johnson is a lot thicker in person than I realized.  One play where he posted Iguodala up & backed him all the way down to the basket before converting an easy layup stands out in my mind.  You don't see anyone do that on AI2 very often.
  • One of the guys who switched onto Iguodala was Jamal Crawford, who I thought he would abuse.  But one thing that's beginning to worry me is his tendency to fall in love with his jumper.  It was another rough shooting night for him.  I also couldn't believe he didn't finish with a triple double, as he had 7 boards & 7 assists at the half, but finished with 9 & 8, respectively.  I don't blame him for trying to do too much in the 2nd half, because there weren't a whole lot of options offensively, but something seems off with his handle.  A few of the turnovers he committed tonight seemed to come when he was dribbling into traffic & just lost control of the ball.  I'm just about the biggest Iguodala supporter there is, so I assure you I'm not nitpicking.
  • Standing ovation for a very large number of army reserves in attendance was one of the best moments of the night.
  • Aside from that, the mini-run that allowed the Sixers to take the lead 39-37 capped by a Carney breakaway was the most exciting moment I've experienced of the brief season thus far.  When this team is clicking on all cylinders they can be extremely fun to watch. Unfortunately I can count the number of times this has happened so far on 1 hand.  The fact that they've all come within the last week is hopefully a sign of good things to come.
  • One play in particular illustrates the difference in having Holiday run the point as opposed to Lou.  Thad was posting someone up, gave up his dribble & looked for someone to bail him out.  Holiday came to the rescue.  But instead of shooting the ball or driving to the lane, he patiently surveyed the area, and simply gave the ball back to Thad, whose defender had sagged off.  Thad then hit a wide open jumper from the baseline.  I don't think Lou makes that play.
  • Now having said that (shameless Curb Your Enthusiasm plug), we really missed Lou tonight.  I never thought I'd say it, but we badly needed his ability to initiate the offense in the 4th quarter tonight.  Since Holiday was benched from midway thru the 3rd until garbage time, Iguodala was again forced to do it alone tonight, and he really struggled in the 4th quarter.
  • I realize Holiday wasn't shooting well, but I felt he was still playing a good floor game.  What I am most impressed with is his patience.  He seems to have a very good idea about where & how a play will unfold, and he almost always makes the right pass.  I would have liked to seen him inserted into the lineup before the game got away, but that has been Jordan's prerogative all season & even with Lou out it doesn't look like it will change.
  • 2 pretty incredible backdoor passes by Sam Dalembert?!?!  Is this the Princeton Offense?
  • Funny moment after Dalembert turned the ball over after a pass from Holiday on a fastbreak in the 3rd.  As Holiday walked back down the court he said something to Iguodala, who was kind of smiling & shaking his head.  I imagine he responded with something like, "Yea welcome to the last 6 years of my life.  You don't ever pass him the ball on a fastbreak rookie."
  • There are few moments as awkward & hilarious as the moment an attractive, possibly underage female appears on the jumbotron dancing provocatively.  The sound of an arena full of thousands of men unsure how to react is deafening.  This seems to happen at least twice a game.
  • It's becoming disturbing how little Thad influences the game when he's not scoring.  He had another very quiet 22 points tonight, a phrase I've noticed has been repeated a number of times when he scores 20+.  I just looked at the boxscore and saw 2 rbs, 1 asst, 0 stls, 0 blks.  And this isn't anything new with him at this point...
  • Willie had a nice game in Boston on Wednesday, but he killed them tonight, per usual.
  • "We Want AI" chants at the end of the game.  Only perpetuated by a small group of fans but it was loud enough so that everyone in the arena could hear.  On my way out I also heard a couple different people discussing this.  I know it will never happen & I think it would be extremely idiotic, but watching a 5-11 team with no hope can make you pine for some crazy shit.  Allen Iverson included.
Thanks Mike, great job as usual.
by Brian on Nov 28 2009
Tags: Basketball | First-Person Report | Hawks | Sixers |