The 2009-2010 Philadelphia 76ers will finish with a worse record than the 2008-2009 squad. I'm glad they got this one out of the way, the suspense was killing me. Rotation chart and brief wrap after the jump.
Believe it or not, the Sixers aren't sitting in the #9 spot anymore. The Detroit Pistons beat the Pacers last night, so if the season ended today, the Sixers have the 8th-worst record in the league (I believe the Pistons hold the tiebreaker, if tiebreakers work in a bad way as well). Unfortunately, none of the other teams the Sixers are "chasing" cooperated.
If you missed the game, I feel bad for you. This was one of the most enjoyable to watch of the season. Elton Brand came to play, using a variety of "old man moves" (Rich gets the credit for that one from the game thread) to drop 24 points. The first time in over a month he's broken the 20-point barrier. Andre Iguodala had a massive chip on shoulder, dropping 16 emphatic points in the first quarter and finishing with 30 on the game. Anyone want a really depressing stat? This was only the second time all season both Brand and Iguodala have scored 20 or more points in a game. Two out of 65.
Eddie Jordan went with a big lineup for a large portion of the third quarter, which may have been the best defensive quarter the Sixers have played this season, considering the competition. They outscored Cleveland 22-17 and actually held the lead after three.
Here's your rotation chart:
As much as I know they needed this loss. As happy as I am that we're finally moving down the standings, I just can't help but lament how the game was lost. The Sixers had a couple of possessions down by three with under a minute to go that ended on turnovers. On one play, Iguodala and Brand ran a sort of two-man game, with Iguodala taking the ball down the middle of the lane, drawing three defenders. He tried to get the ball to Brand rolling to the hoop on the right side of the lane, but the pass was batted up in the air. Good thought, bad execution. The next time the Sixers had the ball, again down by three, Jrue got the ball in the corner, didn't have enough room to get the shot off, so he drove by his man on the baseline, drew the weakside defender and at the last second tried to sneak the ball along the baseline to Brand who was all alone on the opposite side of the hoop. Unfortunately, the pass was bad and went out of bounds untouched. When Jrue was asked after the game about the play, he said he saw Brand, then saw Lou open in the opposite corner for a game-tying three and sort of passed in between both of them. Indecision will kill you every time.
In the end, though, a loss is exactly what the doctor ordered. We were treated to an excellent effort from basically everyone who stepped on the floor for the Sixers, except maybe Willie Green. You know, it's odd. Everyone always talks about what a leader Willie is, and how he's such a character guy, but can you ever remember Willie diving for a loose ball? Or giving extra effort? Or even just going after a defensive rebound? It's funny, this team has been lifeless for the better part of a month, and Willie just keeps on playing his game and fits right in.
Player of The Game: Iguodala
Team Record: 23-42
Up Next: @ Miami, 6pm on Sunday.
Oh, almost forgot to mention it, but LeBron James is decent basketball player. At least if he goes to the Knicks or the Nets we'll get to see him play 4 times/year.