The list of things that could've swung this game the other way is very, very long. If Jrue hits even half of the good looks he missed, they win. If Brand connects on one or two more of those elbow jumpers, they win. If Jrue's pass to Thad on the final play of regulation isn't three feet too high, they win. For tonight, take solace in that, chalk this one up as an ugly loss, and move on. When you wake up tomorrow, though, realize they have to rebound from this game quickly, and it's not going to be easy.
Charts (Rotations later)
- I haven't heard any further word on Lou Williams' hamstring yet. Hopefully, it's nothing serious. If it is, cross your fingers that he's at least back for the playoffs. Also cross your fingers that Evan Turner can get out of Doug Collins' doghouse quickly. Tonight, on the second night of a back-to-back, Collins used Jrue for 47 minutes. If Lou isn't going to be available, and Collins isn't going to trust Turner to run the point for stretches, Jrue is going to get burnt out before the playoffs even get here.
- Speaking of Jrue, he had his worst shooting night in a long, long time tonight. 6/20 from the floor. I'd be more troubled by this if he was taking bad shots, but he really wasn't. He was getting and taking his usual looks, they just weren't falling. His overall game was fine. His defense on Brandon Jennings was very good, he was distributing well, and save for the horrible pass on the last play of regulation, he took good care of the ball.
- Iguodala did not look good tonight on offense. Let's just leave it at that.
- One other thing on Iguodala. In the second half, John Salmons caught fire (while Iguodala wasn't covering him.) As soon as Iguodala was switched onto him, that stopped immediately. Iguodala put an end to Salmons' run in the fourth quarter. Then in overtime, Collins decided to send a hard double at Salmons whenever he got the ball. I just didn't see the logic behind this. There was really no need. Iguodala was handling him, why put the rest of your defense in such a tough spot?
- Brand is your player of the game. He got them back in the game, then kept them in it in overtime. 10/18 from the floor, 12 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 20 points.
- The bench was largely absent. Thad had a monster stretch where he scored 12 straight for the Sixers, but other than that, he only had 2 points. Lou only scored 3 in 16 minutes and Nocioni split a pair of threes in 14 minutes.
- Like I said in the intro, put this individual game out of your mind. It's another overtime loss, which blows, but there were plenty of bad breaks to cause it. The Bucks are a bad team, even with a bunch of bad breaks, you still shouldn't lose to them. It's what happens from this point on that matters. With this loss, the Sixers are only 1 game up on the Knicks in the loss column (they're two games up in the standings). The Knicks play Cleveland tomorrow and Toronto on Tuesday. The Sixers play at Boston on Tuesday, then meet the Knicks in Philly on Wednesday. There's a very real chance the Sixers will hold a half-game lead heading into that game, which will be the second night of a back-to-back. Slipping to seventh would be way too easy, and I don't want to see that happen. Hopefully, Collins will rip into the team for the next two days, and convince them they need to make a statement in Boston. Win that game, win the Knicks game and the six seed is basically a lock. That should be the primary goal right now. Lose the next two, and you probably lose the tiebreaker to the Knicks and set yourselves up to meet Miami in the first round, instead of Boston.
Player of The Game: Elton Brand
Team Record: 40-37
Up Next: @ Boston, Tuesday night.