If you want to know why the Sixers lost this game, I can't really tell you. I can tell you a couple of things that certainly didn't help. Getting out-scored by 18 points from the three point line, for example, probably wasn't helpful. 2 technical fouls, also not a very good idea in a game you lose by 1 point. Absolutely no clue what to do on offense in the half-court, again, potentially part of the problem.
Coach DiLeo has finally suffered his first loss at the helm of the good ship 76ers. Was it his fault? Let's take a look at the rotations:
This game was lost in the second quarter. Since the beginning of the year, I've said a lineup with Lou at the point and Willie at the two is a horrible idea. It always seems to shoot the Sixers in the foot. The thing that bothers me most about this quarter, however, is the lineup that took the last 5:13. Ivey at the two? I just don't get it. The team comes out, lets a 13-point lead dwindle down to 5, then they push it back up to 9. Green gets hurt and DiLeo chooses this time to put Royal Ivey into a game for the first time. At that point, Lou had only been the bench for a little over a minute, so I can understand not going to him. I can even understand going to Ivey. But leaving him out there for 5:13?
The game was a dogfight heading into the second half, and I really would've liked to have seen a better offensive team on the floor to end the first half. You should coach the end of the second as if it was the end of the game, as far as I'm concerned. This is especially true when you're playing a short-handed team coming off a double-overtime loss the night before. Go into the half with a double-digit lead and they may just fold up shop and head home.
We do have to give DiLeo credit for one move, though. After Jarrett Jack abused Lou Williams on the play to give the Pacers a 93-90 lead, DiLeo switched Andre Miller onto him. Indiana went right back to the well, only Miller defended it perfectly, leading to the Williams steal and dunk for the 94-93 lead. We don't need to get into what happened after that.
Two quick things from the box score. First, Andre Miller had an amazing game: 14 points, 10 boards, 12 assists and zero turnovers. His good run continues. Second, since being inserted into the lineup as the starting power forward, Thad has not gotten the job done. He had 2 boards in 31 minutes tonight. The Sixers actually won the battle of the glass tonight, 45-39, but when you rely on your point guard and small forward to shore up defensive rebounding, the running game grinds to a halt. It's great to see Miller and Iggy putting up these rebounding numbers, but it would be much better for the team if Thad was pulling his weight.
I would call for Speights to get the nod at the 4, but his rebounding hasn't exactly been stellar over the last couple of games either. Speaking of Speights, he's really doing the job on offense, and he's a much better shot-blocker than I initially thought. As soon as he starts crashing the boards and boxing out reguarly, he'll supplant Sam in the starting lineup. Sammy had a good showing in this one, 11 points, 14 boards and 5 blocks.
Player of The Game: Andre Miller
Team Record: 12-15
Up Next: @ Boston, Tuesday night.