Check out the defensive intensity. Thoughts/gripes/rotations after the jump.
Well that happened. If you spent your night watching the World Series instead of the Sixers' opener, consider yourself very lucky. Actually, if you only watched the first quarter of the Sixers, then switched over to Fox, you probably had a pretty good night as well (assuming you're a Phillies' fan). Once the clock struck zero on the first quarter, all hell broke loose in Orlando.
If you need to put your finger on one reason why the Sixers looked so bad tonight, it's not really that hard. Defense. The secondary reason? Defense. And it only gets worse from there. I kept track of the substitutions and everything took a turn for the worse when Eddie Jordan decided to make mass substitutions. After the first (in which the starters played the bulk of the minutes, together) the score was a 27-29. Jordan started the second quarter with four guys from the bench and Lou. The damage was done by the time he got his starting lineup back in the game to start the third quarter. The Magic outscored the Sixers 41-20 in the second.
Here's a look at the full rotation chart, click to enlarge the image:
Two things struck me in the first half: (1) As Speights went off offensively, the team kept falling further and further behind on the scoreboard. (2) Eddie Jordan let the second unit flail out there for far too long. Dalembert barely got off the bench in the second, after playing an effective first. I'm not saying these two things are necessarily related, but what I would like to see is Dalembert and Speights in the frontcourt together. I think the effort was there on the defensive end for Marreese tonight, but the results just weren't.
Best stat from tonight's game:
Only 8:19 of PT for Willie (although he somehow managed to go -12 in that brief stretch).
Worst stat from tonight's game:
It's a tie between 3/11 from the field for Iguodala and 16/29 from three for Orlando.
Let's file this one under "new coach, new players, new system, new season," rather than, "offensive coach could care less about defense," for the time being. Orlando looked very solid tonight, we can leave it at that.
There is one thing I saw tonight that better not become a recurring theme, however. Jrue Holiday didn't dress. Primoz Brezec was the 12th man and his Rubenesque figure never found its way onto the floor. I understand there may have been a concern that they'd need another big body for Dwight Howard, but this had better be the exception rather than the rule.
Player of The Game:
Speights. It has to be. 10/11 from the field for 26 points.
Milwaukee, on Friday.
I'll have more on this one tomorrow. Time for me to forget about sports and get some shuteye.