Three obvious reasons the Sixers lost this game, 105-101 to the Nuggets. Which one do you like best?
1. Outscored by 30 points from three. (5 threes to 15)
2. Outworked on the boards (41 to 34 overall, 12 to 8 on the offensive glass)
3. Can't hit a free throw (18/30, 60%)
Turn any one of those numbers around, and this is a win.
I'm not even sure you can blame the 15 threes on poor defense. I didn't see a whole lot of doubling and/or slow rotations. The Nuggets just kept jacking up threes in any situation. I don't care if you give a team 31 wide-open looks, they shouldn't knock down 15 of them. The Nuggets caught a break. Of course, all those threes wouldn't have meant a thing if they weren't deadly from the line (24/25). Billups really does have ice in his veins.
The Sixers woes from the line are troubling to me. It's a concentration thing. I'm really sick of Lou's nonchalant approach to free throws too. That one dribble and heave it routine pisses me off every time he misses. Take your time, what's the rush?
The most troubling thing, and something I think the coaches really need to address, is the play of Thad and Speights. Both guys shot an excellent percentage, but they just aren't making the hustle plays. Those guys spent a total of 49 minutes on the floor tonight and they wound up with 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, zero blocks and 1 personal foul between them. I don't know if the hunger isn't there. Maybe they aren't being properly motivated, but whatever it takes, someone needs to light a fire under them. If this team is going to take the next step.
Actually, forget that. If this team is going to at least get back to where they were last year, they need those guys to play like their minutes depend on their hustle when they're on the floor. It's great that Speights can dunk and hit mid-range jumpers, but doing that without dominating the glass and blocking shots just isn't going to cut it. Thad seems to get lost in the flow of the game to me, and gives up on rebounds too quickly. Make both of those guys do rebounding drills with Evans until they bleed the next time you get on the practice court.
One more thing. I'm calling a moratorium on the "Start Speights over Sammy" movement until someone can tell me who the hell is going to grab a rebound if Sammy isn't in the lineup. Dalembert is the only big on this team who seems even mildly interested in crashing the boards.
Tonight's game was a golden opportunity to steal a win on this trip. They pissed it away, simple as that.
Player of The Game: Iguodala, even though he blew it. 24 points on 9/15 shooting, 2 threes, 4 boards, 4 assists, 5 steals, 2 blocks.
Team Record: 12-17
Up Next: @ Utah on Monday, possibly without Boozer and Milsap.