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Losing on the Glass

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At least a game like this makes it easy to point out where a team went wrong. Here's a hint, when you collect only 54% of the available defensive rebounds, you are not going to win. In fact, if you're playing even a halfway decent team, you're going to lose by about 30 points. If you're playing a team as bad as the Pistons, however, you only lose by 7.

Your strange rotation chart, featuring more subs than any other game thus far, another DNPCD for Jrue Holiday, a different starting lineup for the 3rd quarter than the first (I can't remember the last time this happened without an injury) and the disappearance of Jason Kapono:

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Pretty much from the opening tip, the Sixers were dominated on the defensive glass. I have to assume the coaches realized what was going on, and I also have to assume they thought playing their best-rebounding combo at C and PF (Sam and Elton) for only 10:13 was a good way to remedy the problem.

Anyway, no one rebounded well on the defensive glass, so I'm not sure how much rotations had to do with it. This game was, hopefully, the worst effort we'll see this entire season. Detroit is a bad team, and we looked worse. That sentence sums up my feelings pretty well.

For a couple of brief stretches it looked like Iguodala was going to take the game over, but he disappeared after giving the team their first lead midway through the first quarter. Actually, he didn't disappear, he just decided he was going to shoot nothing but jumpers from that point on. Come to think of it, he relied on jumpers most of the game, he just stopped hitting them late in the fourth. The first time he touched the ball, he backed Stuckey down into the lane, all the way to the hoop, elevated and scored easily. That was the last time we saw him working in the post, even though Detroit had no one who could guard him down there.

Elton Brand had another disappointing game. Again, the team didn't get him the ball anywhere near where he'd be a threat with it, but I'm pretty sure that alone doesn't explain away his lack of production. His rebound numbers look good (9 in 29 minutes), but five of them were on the offensive glass, so he wasn't helping too much on the defensive end.

The big news, if you've followed the Sixers for a while, or the NBA in general, was the use of a different starting lineup at the beginning of the third quarter. This simply isn't done in the NBA very often. Sammy barely played in the first half, Speights was decent before the break, I suppose. Not sure there was a tangible reason for the move, I didn't notice any deficiencies in Sammy's game, no glaring mistakes. Perhaps it was a nod to Speights improved play over the first 5-and-a-half games of the season, perhaps it was a foregone conclusion that the superior offensive player would get the start at the five sooner rather than later for an Eddie Jordan team. I'm not sure. I'm not even sure how I feel about it. This team isn't going to defend, that seems pretty clear to me. Defense is not a priority. If that's the case, starting Sammy is counterproductive, I suppose. Speights has shown a little more effort on the defensive end, and Brand can help him out around the basket. Maybe it's time. I'd definitely give Speights the start tomorrow night, considering the success he's had against Amare and the Suns in the past. Hopefully, Marreese is able to shake off the knee/thigh issue that chased him from the game today.

Eddie Jordan's perfect record in games the Sixers should've won has been broken (although if things continue down this path, we're going to have to re-evaluate "should've won"). They're 3-3 after 6 games, which is where I had them at this point, although I had the results of the past two games flip-flopped.

The only positive I can draw from this game is that we won't have to live with it for long. The Sixers are already back in Philly, awaiting the Phoenix Suns who are coming off a 12-point win in Washington (A Washington team that's now 2-5 after losing 4 straight). We can turn the page quickly with a strong effort tomorrow night. I can't say I'm expecting it, but stranger things have happened.

Player Of The Game: Speights (Only player with a positive +/-). 15 points (7/9 from the floor), 6 boards, 2 assists, 2 blocks and only 1 turnover in 23 minutes of action.
Team Record: 3-3
Up Next: vs. Phoenix, tomorrow night.