You should beat the Charlotte Bobcats at home. That's just a fact. This is a game the Sixers should have won, and they did. If you're going to make the playoffs, you can't have letdown games, especially at home. So the win isn't the big news. The streak of three is more important. The quality of play over the past 6 or 7 is even bigger.
After the jump we'll take a look at an obscure statistical analysis which sprung out of the comments during the game, see what the Sixers did well and didn't, and crown our player of the game.
First, the stat. We've all observed how the ball seems to get stuck in Lou Williams hands' when he's running the point. He tends to dribble too much, shoot to much and generally bring the offense to a grinding halt. If he isn't scoring himself, the team isn't scoring when he's at the point.
The assumption was that Lou was much better as the shooting guard. Let's see if the stats back up the assumption:
These numbers are through January 3rd (33 games) and come from Basketball Value. I imported all of the 5-man unit stats into a spreadsheet, then whittled the list down. I classified Lou as a shooting guard as any unit in which Lou was in the game with either Andre Miller, Royal Ivey or both. Lou as a point was every lineup when he was the only point on the floor (usually, Willie was in the back court alongside him.)
These numbers actually shocked me quite a bit. It turns out the team has played much better with Lou at the point than Lou at the two. It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to me, to be perfectly honest. I would attribute the points-allowed number to Lou having to match up with taller twos, but they typically switch and put Miller on the shooting guards when Lou is in there. He almost always guards the opposing point.
Anyway, that one's for you Tray, leave your thoughts in the comments.
Back to tonight's game. The first half was pretty ugly, until the very end. Emeka Okafor and Matt Carroll torched the Sixers early on, They got out-worked on the boards. Pretty much the only thing they did consistently throughout the night was shoot the ball, and it wasn't because their jumpers were miraculously falling. They just weren't taking jumpers. All night long the Sixers aggressively attacked the hoop. They didn't settle, they forced the action and converted on 37/77 attempts (48%).
Three players went above and beyond for the win, Anre Miller (22 points, 12/15 FGA, 1/1 3PT, ,6 assists, 2 steals and two turnovers), Thad Young, for finally rebounding like a power forward. The killed pulled down 8 boards, 3 offensive, in 40 minutes of effective work. My final nod goes to Marreese Speights. He was 100% hustle and a difference maker in the fourth quarter. What I liked most about his game is that when his jumper wasn't falling, he took the ball to the tin. Sp8s only shot 4/11 from the floor, but his 3 offensive rebounds and 2 blocks were indicative of his effort. Games like this should earn him more minutes, just as lazy play costs him minutes.
Player of The Game: Thad
Team Record: 16-20
Up Next: @ Atlanta on Sunday at 2p.m. I will not be around during Sunday's game, it conflicts with the Eagles/Giants game. Speaking of which, check out Don't Boo The Birds when you get a chance for stats and previews leading up to the big game.