Are the Spurs better than the Sixers? Yes, obviously. Are they 30 points better than the Sixers? Probably not, but when you add in the extra rest for SAS and the back-to-back for the Sixers, maybe they are. Are the Sixers as bad as they played tonight? No. Will I now stop asking myself questions and then answering them? Possibly.
Advanced stats now and rotation chart first:
There's really no point in going through the individual performances of the team in any detail beyond saying the future of this team (Jrue and Turner) looked absolutely terrible on both ends of the floor. Jrue padding his scoring stats in garbage time, but he had another one of those sloppy games. In four games this year, Jrue has 27 assists and 23 turnovers. In the other six games, he has 40 assists and 6 turnovers. You expect inconsistency from a 20-year-old point guard, especially when he's got such a random collection of players around him, but I just don't know what to make of the game-to-game inconsistency. You'd expect the guy to average 3 or 4 turnovers a game, and be fairly consistent, but he plays like a vet one night, and a scared kid the next.
The only other player I care to mention is Andres Nocioni. He's getting the player of the game award simply because he looked legitimately pissed off the Sixers were getting their doors blown off. I guess that's the toughness of the mullet shining through. Anyway, I was glad someone had some kind of reaction out there.
If you feel like jumping off the proverbial bridge after this game, if you feel like it took 10 games, but the other shoe has finally dropped, I can't offer a whole lot to talk you off the ledge. All I can say is to take a step back and look at the circumstances. The Spurs not only have a veteran roster with a top-notch coach, they also had extra rest, on their home floor. The odds were completely stacked against the Sixers. The game started out exactly as you'd expect it to: The Spurs were on fire, they jumped all over Philly and built up a huge lead early on. Then the Sixers made their stand. They cut an 18-point lead down to five in the second quarter. It was 9 at the half. The third quarter started the same way the first did, only this time they didn't have anything left in the tank for another counter.
Collins pulled the plug early in the third and got some extra rest for Iguodala (who's coming back from the achilles sprain) and Brand (who has been overworked to this point, in my opinion). He tried to mix and match a little, and did some things to show the team that this game may be a lost cause, but they are not. He had the third string pressing in the fourth quarter, he got in the refs face when they missed a blatant foul on one of Jrue's drives. The message being, no matter who's on the floor, no matter what the score, we have a certain level of expectations that we have to live up to.
Chalk it up to whatever you want. A loss is a loss, it doesn't matter if you lose on a buzzer-beater or the game is over three minutes into the third quarter. They all count as one in the loss column. All that matters now is how you lace 'em up the next time you take the floor.
Player of The Game: Nocioni
Team Record: 2-8
Up Next: @ Cleveland, Tuesday night