I'm going to have to apologize in advance. This recap started out really strong. I was witty and my insights were on the mark for about the first half. Then things got a little bit sloppy, but I rallied for a decent look at the stats. Unfortunately, it all fell apart in the end and even spell check couldn't save it. And really, it's only how you finish that matters.
If, for some reason, you need a silver lining, think of it this way. When the ping pong balls are bouncing for the Sixers in the draft lottery - and you're kidding yourself if you don't think they'll be in the lottery - these two games against Washington will probably add a few extra combinations for the Sixers.
Nocioni, Turner and finally Holiday completely choked this game away in the final 20 seconds. Nocioni stood there waiting for a foul to be called instead of dribbling out of the corner, or at least fighting to keep a rookie away from the ball. A jump ball was called instead of the foul (and honestly, 99 times out of 100, the foul is called quickly in that situation). Then Turner bricked two free throws which would've stretched the lead to 4 and basically iced the game. Then Jrue...oh, Jrue. It was a stupid play because he should've realized Wall picked up his dribble and backed off. He should've realized that. This was not a "What the hell was Jrue thinking," situation (and there were a couple of those in this game). He was thinking his coach told him to give a foul to prevent a look at a three-point attempt for the tie. He was trying to give the foul on the floor. This wasn't a case of idiotic overzealous defense, like he was trying to challenge the shot and accidentally fouled him. Not that the distinction makes the result any less maddening.
Anyway, this was obviously another in a long line of games that should've been wins, but someone turned out the other way. The Sixers played perhaps their best quarter of basketball in the first. They followed that up with a very solid second quarter, then the wheels fell off. They stopped playing defense, they stopped running their offense and they gave Washington hope when they could've stepped on their throat. From late in the third until there were about six minutes left in the fourth, the Sixers regained their composure and stretched the lead again. In fact, with 5:54 left in the fourth, they stretched their lead back up to 13. Unfortunately, the Wizards ripped off 10 straight over the next 4 minutes and change, then the mistakes really started happening and you know the rest.
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but Collins probably should've given Hawes a shot some time in the fourth. Hawes played his best game of the season tonight, and who knows, maybe he could've done something when the rest of the team obviously could not. (But now that I look at the rotation chart, the team was outscored 26-13 with Hawes on the floor in the second half, so scratch that idea).
Three thoughts about overtime:
- What the hell was Evan Turner doing on Washington's last possession? He wasn't even picked, he just completely lost track of his man, and this wasn't the first time Nick Young completely shook him. Horrible, horrible way to end the game.
- I thought Jrue was going to take the game over early in overtime. He got to the line and drained two, then hit a nice pull-up jumper to score the team's first 4 points, but he didn't take another shot and had a bad turnover to boot on a play where he should've gone up strong instead of trying a risky pass to Speights in traffic.
- Iguodala's shot at the end of the game was so GD close to dropping. When are the Sixers going to get one of those rolls?
Here are your advanced stat and rotations:
Player of The Game:
Andre Iguodala. He finished with 23 points, but didn't score all that efficiently. When you add in the 11 boards, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, only 1 turnover and overall excellent defense, he gets the nod. 50 minutes in his first game back from the achilles injury on the first night of a back-to-back seems questionable to me, though.
a well-rested Toronto team, Wednesday night.
My vacation officially starts now, which means no preview for Wednesday's game. There will be a game thread, and my post game, but I'm going to have to watch it on delay. There will still be frequent updates over the holiday, but I'll be in transit most of the day today.