Indiana is pretty much on the same level as the Sixers. Jrue + Turner + Iguodala is roughly equal to Granger, Hibbert and Collison in terms of the foundation of a team. Neither team has much beyond that. Indy has more veteran scrubs while the Sixers have a bunch of players with some sort of potential (who are mostly scrubs). This was pretty much a game of equals. It didn't look like it on the floor in the second half.
Let me open with a simple stat from the rotation chart:
- With Spencer Hawes on the bench tonight, Indiana scored 62 points in 35 minutes, or 1.77 points-per-minute.
- With Spencer on the floor, Indiana scored 37 points in 13 minutes, or 2.85 points-per-minute.
This team is so far better off playing small 100% of the time it's ridiculous. In fact, with Hawes on the bench they're actually playing big, because he is utterly useless as a big man in this league, on both ends of the floor.
Glad I got that off my chest. Here are your charts for the game:
Terrible game on the glass, that pretty much tells the story. Forget Roy Hibbert - who has a chance to be pretty good - the Sixers bigs were outclassed by Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough. Two guys destined to be journeyman bigs.
Was this a case of the Sixers settling into the team they're destined to be? Meaning, they didn't have the extra juice of a home-opener, against the Heat, or a home matchup against a playoff team. Instead it was just another game against a lowly team. No added motivation? Or was this a case of a short turnaround time after a tough loss the night before? If you're an optimist, you'll look at the quick start and the slow fade as legs possibly got heavier. If you're a pessimist, you're asking yourself if the team will be able to put forth the effort we saw in the first two games over the next 79. The answer is unclear at this point, but it will become apparent in the next 10 or so games, I'm afraid.
There are really only three performances worth mentioning, in a good way (sort of): Lou Williams was unconscious in the first half, and he was really the only reason the game was tied at the half. He scored 18 points on 6 shots before the break and made it look way too easy. After the break, he was pretty miserable.
Thad Young had his best game of the young season, 7 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks and 11 points on decent shooting. He and Turner were the only guys who gave effective effort every minute they were on the floor, though Turner didn't hit a single shot that wasn't a dunk or a layup. And finally, Elton Brand. The guy was obviously dragging ass a little bit in the second half, but he played heavy minutes and contributed across the board (12 points, 10 boards, 2 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks, 0 turnovers). Brand would've been the runaway winner of player of the game if not for his horrific shooting (5/16). He cost Jrue and Iguodala a handful of assists by missing wide open shots less than 10 feet from the hoop. It looked to me like he just didn't have his legs under him. No arc on the shots, a lot of front rim.
If you're looking for a positive takeaway, Jrue only has 2 turnovers in his last 62 minutes. He hasn't been playing well, but at least he's taking care of the ball, and Evan Turner is an unbelievable rebounder. Seriously, take a look at how he gets his boards, and who he takes them away from. The comedic highlight of the night was a play where Speights half-assed his way after a rebound only to have it snatched out of the air before he could grab it by Turner. Speights looked seriously pissed Turner got the board instead of him. If he isn't dumb as a rock, the lesson was to go after rebounds like your job depends on it. I'm doubtful he got that message, though.
A tough loss, to be sure, but chalk it up to the second night of a back-to-back if you want to enjoy your Halloween.
I'll have the key indicators later today/tonight. Happy Halloween, everyone.
Player of The Game: