I thought that by sleeping on it, I may have a little better perspective on last night's loss at Golden State. No such luck.
Looking back over the games since the All Star break, one thing becomes painfully obvious. This team's defense has gotten worse and worse and worse. What's the cause? I mean, they haven't lost any of their athleticism. They haven't suffered any critical injuries. They haven't shifted their rotations too much (if anything, Coach DiLeo has used his "defensive" specialists a little more). What could it possibly be?
My only guess is that a simple scouting report has been dispersed around the league, and teams are exploiting a glaring weakness in the Sixers. Namely, they overreact to dribble penetration, help too much and leave shooters wide open if you just put a little pressure on the interior of their defense.
If I had to point to one thing that's consistently let this team down, it's that. Last night, how many times did we see Anthony Morrow or Kelenna Azubuike heaving wide-open threes? Both of those guys came in shooting better than 47% from downtown. How does something like that happen? The Warriors weren't running any kind of elaborate offense. They don't really run an offense. They don't even have a point guard on their roster. To compound things, whenever a guy gets into the lane, instead of having their center, who is a very good shot blocker, come to help, you consistently have Thad Young coming off his man, and Andre Iguodala cheating into the lane, and Willie Green, well who knows what Willie was doing, probably trying to chase his man down from behind.
I don't really want to get into stats today. If you look at any number other than shooting percentage, the Sixers should've blown the Warriors doors off. I mean, it shouldn't have even been close. The Sixers took a mind-numbing advantage in almost every way and decided they'd play a gambling defense and try to trade jumpers with a team which shoots much better. Their rotations were horrible, Donyell Marshall saw 6 minutes of game action, touched the three times on offense, by my count, missed two shots and was never heard from again. When Marreese Speights was in the game, being guarded by Corey Maggette, the team didn't go to him in the post once.
As I'm sure you can tell, I'm not feeling too confident about this team, its coaching staff or its leadership at the moment. At some point, Coach DiLeo and his assistants are going to need to realize that Royal Ivey and Reggie Evans are rarely the solution when the problem is offensive efficiency. In fact, they're the cause. In a game like last night's, Reggie should've never gotten off the bench and whoever had the idea that a lineup of Speights, Evans, Ivey, Green and Lou Williams was a good idea should be fired.
Player of The Game: Sammy
Team Record: 34-33
Up Next: @ Sacto, Sunday.