Yep, the Lakers are better than the Sixers. They had their opportunities, but just too many missed shots and horrible, horrible nights from Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks and a couple others did them in in the Bon Voyage to the WFC for a couple weeks.
Player of The Game:
- You have no idea how badly I want to rip into Doug Collins tonight. First all, there's absolutely no reason for Andres Nocioni to play 21 unproductive minutes and give Evan Turner a DNPCD. None whatsoever. It was a desperation move when he brought the mullet off the bench early in the first quarter, the team was struggling, but why keep going back to him when it was clear he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn? Why not give Turner some burn when the units he was trotting out there were so dead in the water?
- Speaking of units. A five-year-old could tell you this one has no chance of competing with the dregs of the league, let alone the Lakers: Lou Williams, Jodie Meeks, Andres Nocioni, Thad Young and Spencer Hawes/Elton Brand or Tony Battie. Lou is not a point guard, he rarely sets up his teammates, and neither do any of the other guys out there. It was pure luck whenever these groups managed to find a hoop, and Collins went with some combination of those players for roughly 7 pivotal minutes (to start the second and fourth quarters). They were outscored 19-4. In the fourth, that unit opened the flood gates. It just boggles my mind.
- For all his shortcomings during the game, Collins did do an awesome job of gameplanning for the Lakers, and there were some brilliant wrinkles he threw in throughout the game that really paid dividends. One thing that stuck out to me was how he sent Brand to double a couple of times in the second half. Brand's long arms smothered Bynum and forced a turnover on one play, and it was clear the Lakers weren't expecting the double to come from a big. This was really a superb defensive game for the Sixers, as you can tell from the chart above. Their only defensive shortcoming was sending LA to the line too much, but that's a theme with this season, and something we're just going to have to live with until the personnel is upgraded.
- Andre Iguodala added another player to his victim list, Kobe Bryant. Bryant was a non-factor tonight, and honestly, he looked kind of old out there with Iguodala draped all over him.
- Spencer Hawes played an excellent all around game tonight. He's the POTG without hesitation.
- This was by far the worst game of Jrue's career. He started out 0-6 from the floor, then sparked the first comeback with three sparkling defensive plays. Shortly thereafter, he left the game in favor of Lou, and his night only got worse from there. Meeks and Holiday combined to shoot 4/22 from the floor, 0/7 from three. Throw Lou into that equation and it's 7/32 from the floor, 0/9 from three. Throw Nocioni in as well and it's 9/40 from the floor, 0/14 from three.
- I said I wanted to rip Doug, and I guess I did, but really, the sad fact about tonight's game is the Sixers could have and should have won it. And they should have won it with relative ease. The Sixers had countless wide-open looks from three. They took the shots, they just wouldn't fall. It was uncharacteristic for them, I can't explain it, but throughout the night, it was like there was a lid on the basket. If they hit those shots at even a moderate clip, this game is pretty much out of reach at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Phil Jackson might not even waste the minutes on his starters in the fourth. Would've, could've, should've. It just wasn't mean to be.
Spencer Hawes: 8/12 for 18 points, 13 boards (11 defensive), 5 dimes, 1 steal, 2 blocks and 0 turnovers.
@ Orlando, tomorrow night.