I have to be honest, I didn't believe the Sixers had a loss in them tonight. Not against the Knicks, at home. I mean, this team has been bi-polar to some degree for the past three seasons, so I fully expected them to snap out of this disgusting streak and take care of the Knicks in a laugher. It started out that way, then Edward Jordan said "tank" and Andre Iguodala said "How hard?"
To be fair, Iguodala's effort level was never in question tonight, though his shot selection certainly was. 22 shots is too many for Iguodala most nights, when he can't hit the broad side of a barn, it's doubly so. Jordan's sin (or gift, when get right down to it) was severely limiting Elton Brand's minutes. Brand scored 7 points in the opening 7 minutes of the game, and clearly had an advantage over the string of stiffs the Knicks used to cover him. Brand's work on the defensive end was, what's a nice way of putting this, apathetic. He had no chance on Danilo, but on the offensive end, he was their advantage. Keep that in mind.
The Sixers pretty much dominated the first half, and led by 11 at the break. EFJ must've had some mighty inspiring words in the locker room, because that lead was gone midway through the third, and turned into a 4-point deficit heading into the fourth. It was basically all downhill from there. The Knicks finally put the game out of reach with about two minutes to play, and pushed the final deficit up to 10. The Sixers have made a habit of losing games by double digits ever since Jordan said something like, "We're really not that bad. We never get blown out," right around the All Star break.
The story of the second half wasn't the Sixers defense. Holding the Knicks to 50 points in a half isn't all that bad. The story was the Sixers' complete ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball. After exploiting his advantage early on, Brand sat all but 7 minutes in the first half. In the third and fourth quarters combined, Brand took three shots and only got the ball in the post one time that I can remember. The Sixers took long jumper after long jumper in the half court, they ran no offense. Jordan seemed to think Willie Green would repeat his unconscious performance from the first half, but anyone who knows Willie knew that wasn't going to happen. So instead of using the pick-and-roll, or even minimal ball or person movement to shake free for high-percentage looks, the Sixers settled for long jumpers, usually contested, by guys who simply couldn't hit them for the duration. 14 points in the third quarter, 15 points in the fourth quarter. 29 points total in the second half, that was the result.
Either Eddie Jordan is the worst coach in the league, or he was intentionally trying to lose this game. My vote is for both.
Here's your rotation chart:
A few more notes to tide you over:
- Iguodala played 14 minutes at the 4, 16 minutes at the 2 and 13 minutes at the three. He finished with 17 rebounds, 12 defensive. That's a monster effort. Don't ask about Thad and Brand.
- Jrue played a really solid all around game, 18 points, 8 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals, 1 block and 3 turnovers (one of them was complete BS. He hit Jason Smith in the face with a pass, but Smith wasn't paying attention). He was only 2/6 from three, though. So he dropped his percentage a bit. He needs to learn not to take those desperation threes in garbage time.
- If Lou was available in the second half, I'm about 90% sure the Sixers win this game.
- How stifling was the Knicks' interior defense? Well, they blocked 0 shots all night. Still, the Sixers were content to heave jumpers.
Player of The Game: Jrue. Willie gets the first-half nod for lighting it up, but you knew it wasn't going to last.
Team Record: 23-44
Up Next: vs. NJN on Wednedsay.