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Sixers Sluggish, Pacers Ferocious

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Collectively, the Sixers did three things well tonight. They didn't turn the ball over, they got to the foul line and they worked the offensive glass. Every other area of the game was an abject failure. Individually, Thad Young and Reggie Evans had very good games, Iguodala had a pretty final line and dominated for a couple of stretches and everyone else was horrible. That sounds like a pretty solid recipe for losing to a 21-33 team.

This was a game marred by blatant no-calls, but that had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome. The Sixers lost the game, fair and square. They were out-hustled and they looked passive on the floor for most of the not. Don't mistake passive for shy, though, because a couple of players were anything but shy when it came to heaving bad shots.

I don't want to spend too much time harping on Lou, because it's become tiresome. I would be remiss, however, if I didn't break down the final 51 seconds of the second quarter. After being down by 20 points, the Sixers staged a huge comeback to close to within 7 points. With 51 seconds left on the clock, Jarret Jack hit a free throw to push the lead back up to 8. The Sixers had the ball, they inbounded to Lou who dribbled up the right wing. With 45 seconds left on the clock, Lou threw up a contested three-pointer. Evans grabbed the offensive board and was fouled, but that's not the point.

In that situation, with that much time on the clock, you want to work deep in the shot clock unless you get a wide open dunk, or a shot that's just too good to pass up. You're in the ideal situation to go two possessions for one. If you shoot with less than 35 seconds left in the quarter, you're guaranteed another possession. Instead, Lou heaves up that prayer for some unknown reason and from that point on, the Pacers put 4 more points on the board.

This sequence wasn't the difference in the game, far from it, but it's a perfect example of the dumb-as-a-rock basketball Lou Williams has been playing. Good teams don't screw up golden opportunities like that. Smart players don't piss them away. As was mentioned in the comments several times tonight, Tony DiLeo needs to start taking the same hard line with Lou that he's taken all season with Marreese Speights. Play hard, play smart or don't play. The only difference is that with Speights, DiLeo may be hurting the team by cutting his minutes, for the long-term benefit of the player. With Lou, sitting him will probably help the team, and the player. It's a move that's long overdue.

 Of course cutting Lou's minutes means Willie Green will probably have more minutes to wreak havoc on the team shooting percentage. Willie was 6/16 from the floor in a thoroughly depressing 29 minutes of action. I'm at the point where I want to see what Royal Ivey would do with 20-25 minutes of action on a nightly basis at the two. On offense, all he needs to do is sit on the perimeter and shoot wide-open threes. His defense will far outweigh any offensive deficiencies, especially when you remove the negative offense they've been getting from Lou and Willie.

Sammy played the worst game I've seen from him in quite some time. Roy Hibbert was bullying him down low, which shouldn't happen. He was plagued with foul trouble on a night when the Sixers were thin in the front court anyway thanks to Speights' tweaked ankle. I was a little surprised we didn't see Theo, I hope he wasn't inactive so Rush could have a shot at getting into a game against his brother.

All told, a disappointing, if not unexpected return from the All Star break. The good news is they can get right back on the horse tomorrow night.

Player of The Game: Thad
Team Record: 27-25
Up Next: Denver, tomorrow night.
by Brian on Feb 17 2009
Tags: Basketball | Pacers | Post Game | Sixers |