And by that, I mean not very deep. The Sixers lost 102-92 to the Cavs tonight, which was to be expected. They didn't quit, they didn't roll over, they actually played Cleveland pretty tough, so yay! Everything is right in the world, except it isn't. After the jump we'll talk about depth, and look at some very, very questionable rotations by Coach DiLeo.
Let's take a look at the two best players on each team. The Cavs have LeBron James and Mo Williams, two all stars. The Sixers have Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller, two never been All Stars. James and Mo Williams combined to shoot 15/32 from the floor (42.8%), 4/8 from three (50%) and 12/14 from the line (85.7%) for 45 points. A good night for any duo.
The Andres combined to shoot 16/30 from the floor (53.3%), 1/2 from three (50%) and 10/13 from the line (76.9%) for 43 points. So our two "stars" pretty much canceled out their two stars, one of whom is the best player on the planet. And still, the Sixers lost by 10. Honestly, if Ilgauskus doesn't have a horrid shooting night (he was 3/10 from the field, all on shots he normally cans), the Sixers may have lost this one by 20. Still, it's impressive that the Andres were able to match the production of the best player in the universe and the guy he bullied the league into naming an all star. It's too bad the other 7 Cavs outplayed the other 7 Sixers so badly.
I'd usually point to the run that got them within two points early in the fourth quarter, but I had the sense Cleveland never really broke a sweat in this one. I mean, every time the Sixers made a run, the Cavs knew they'd be able to spring one of their 40% shooters for a wide-open three the next time down the court, and they did.
The highlight of the night was obviously Andre Iguodala's monster dunk in LeBron's face at the end of the first half. I wonder if they'll even show that on SportsCenter, my gut says no.
Now, the rotations:
First of all, I have a big problem with Willie playing 35 minutes when he's 3/11 from the floor, but he did grab 5 boards and hand out 4 assists, which I believe makes this the best game of his career. Seriously, though. Take a close look at the substitution pattern early in the fourth.
DiLeo went with Sammy, Speights, Ivey, Green and Lou to start the fourth. Both Andres on the bench. It was a risky strategy, and it actually paid off to start the quarter. As I said, Philly was able to trim the deficit to 2 points. Then Cleveland called a timeout at the 8:52 mark, after pushing the lead back up to 5. That is when DiLeo absolutely needed to get the Andres back in there. Instead, he brings Ratliff in and sits Sammy down, leaving the three-guard alignment of Ivey, Green and Williams on the perimeter.
By the 7:00 mark, the deficit was 9 and the game was pretty much over. At that point, he finally brought the Andres back in and had a decent offensive lineup on the floor, especially considering Lou's shooting on the night. Then, 47 seconds later, he decides to bring Willie back in the game at the two. I don't get the move, especially considering Willie's shooting woes, but there you have it. Any chance at a comeback was pretty much killed right there. I also don't understand why Sammy spent the final 9 minutes of the game on the bench, nor why Donyell Marshall never got off the bench.
All told, this double-digit loss at home was the best game the Sixers have played in their past four. That should tell you everything you need to know about this team's performance.
Player of The Game: Iguodala. Matching LeBron is no easy task.
Team Record: 40-39
Up Next: @ Toronto, Sunday night.
Miami lost in Boston, if you're into that whole "race" for the fifth seed.