Andre Iguodala willed the Sixers to their first win in four tries, 103-96
over the Bobcats in Charlotte tonight. Iguodala fell one point shy of his career high in points and matched Jason Richardson shot for shot throughout the game. In fact, Richardson looked downright pitiful trying to guard Andre.
Early in the third, when the Sixers went on the run that would set the tone for the entire second half, Iguodala took Richardson down to the low block on back-to-back possessions, the first time he spun baseline on a pretty move and dunked over Richardson and Nazr Mohammed. The second time he went baseline again and slithered one up and in off the glass. He beat Richardson with his jumper, his drives, he beat him in transition. He just plain beat him up.
Richardson did returned the favor, though. He dropped 35 including 7/11 from three (see below for the breakdown). Th problem, for the Bobcats, was that Gerald Wallace couldn't hit the broadside of a barn in the second half. Thad Young and Reggie Evans complete shut him down, basically by daring him to throw up ugly jumpers. He had two wide-open threes in the second half, one was an air ball, the other a brick that missed the rim by about 3 feet. After scoring 15 in the first half, Wallace managed only 5 in the second. He finished the night 4/17.
I'm actually shocked that it took me four paragraphs to get to this, but tonight was Thad Young's first start. Mo Cheeks opted to throw the rookie in there at PF (and bring Evans off the bench) mainly because Gerald Wallace starts at PF for Charlotte and Thad was theoretically a better match-up. Thad's moment in the sun didn't last long, he only got 18 minutes of burn and down the stretch Evans really did a good job on Wallace.
There was a comical moment in the fourth when the Bobcats started intentionally fouling Evans to utilize the "Hack-A-Shaq" philosophy as a last desperate attempt to come back. Richardson even fouled him away from the ball within the final two minutes, giving the Sixers a free throw and the ball.
Here's the breakdown of threes for the Bobcats tonight. The Sixers did not defend the three well, overall. And Jason Richardson has never seen a three he didn't like:
- Richardson (Uncontested, Make, 1/1) - Iguodala switches a screen on the baseline, Thad didn't. Richardson hits a wide-open three from the corner. (Two plays later, the Bobcats tried the same exact play again. This time Thad was all over Richardson. Quick learner.)
- Richardson (Uncontested, Make, 2/2) - In transition Iguodala sucks too far down into the lane. Clean look and a make.
- Carroll (Uncontested, Miss, 2/3) - Carroll passes to the top of the circle, Richardson passes right back to him. Carney is completely lost by this dazzling ball movement. Wide-open, but he missed.
- Wallace (Uncontested, Miss, 2/4) - Baseline skip pass, Jason Smith is late to show, but Wallace misses.
- Richardson (Contested, Miss, 2/5) - Iguodala fights through a baseline screen and challenges the shot in the corner, forcing a miss.
- Anderson (Contested, Make, 3/6) - Miller is draped all over him, but he still hits.
- Wallace (Contested, Miss, 3/7) - Iguodala is all over Wallace, horrible, forced shot isn't even close.
- Richardson (Uncontested, Make, 4/8) - Miller gambles for a steal on Wallace (horrible decision), kicks to Richardson who knocks it down from the corner. Dumb play.
- Wallace (Contested, Miss, 4/9) - Thad Young has two hands in his face. Terrible shot misses badly.
- Wallace (Uncontested, Miss, 4/10) - Three passes around the perimeter, finally finding Wallace wide open in the corner. He fires up an air ball.
- Carroll (Contested, Miss, 4/11) - It looks like Carroll is open, but Thad closes out on him very quickly to force a miss.
- Richardson (Uncontested, Make, 5/12) - Transition three from the corner. Iguodala was the only man back, and he plugged the lane.
- Richardson (Contested, Miss, 5/13) - Shot from about 32 feet as the shot clock expires, with Iguodala all over him. Misses it.
- Richardson (Uncontested, Make, 6/14) - Kevin Ollie doubles Nazr Mohammed in the post for some unknown reason. Kick out to Richardson who buries the wide-open three.
- Richardson (Contested, Miss, 6/15) - In transition Miller closes out quickly on Richardson, forcing him to miss.
- Richardson (Uncontested, Make, 7/16) - The ball swings to Richardson in the corner, Sammy is very late in his rotation and he hits.
- Wallace (Contested, Miss, 7/17) - Iguodala is right there, Wallace forces the shot up and misses the rim by about 3 feet, long and to the right off the backboard.
- Richardson (Uncontested, Make, 8/18) - In transition, pull-up three for Richardson.
- Richardson (Contested, Miss, 8/19) - This time, Iguodala comes out to meet Richardson, challenge the three, force the miss, and ice the game.
The Bobcats shot an amazing 7/10 on their open threes tonight. By and large, the Sixers slow rotation to the corner was the root of their problem. One silly gamble by Miller, and a silly double by Ollie accounted for another two. The others were in transition. The transition threes you're going to live with. If a team is willing to take a three when they have a 2-on-1 break, so be it. The gambles were silly, but just mistakes. The slow rotations are a serious problem.
Over the past three games, the Sixers have shown an inability to sustain the aggressive rotations on jump shooters. Three passes almost always leads to a wide-open shot, sometimes it only takes two. It appears the answer to the question "Why are the Sixers so bad at defending the three?" Is poor rotations, which is either inexperience, laziness, or bad coaching. I don't think it's laziness.
Player of The Game
: Iguodala, 13/21 from the floor, 2/5 from three, 5/8 from the line, 6 boards, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 33 points.Team Record