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Well, You Can't Blame The Andres

I'm going to try to avoid sounding like a broken record tonight. It's going to be a challenge, because this team's poor performances follow such a pattern, but I'll give it a shot. First, let's focus on the positive. Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller did everything you can ask of your best players, and then some. They deserved better than a 98-91 loss to the Hornets. We'll get to the rest of the team after the jump.

Well, my keys to the game were almost on the money, only they didn't result in a win. Iguodala went for 25+ (30, to be exact) and Speights nearly saw 20 minutes of action (19). It still wasn't enough.

If you want to know why the Sixers lost this game (and keep in mind, we aren't going to mention three-point defense because that falls into the broken record category) , there's one simple reason. Pick and roll defense. I had a feeling this would be the case, so I decided to track how they would defend the pick and roll.

Here's what happened, I tracked how the Sixers defended it and the result of the play, in parens:

First half

  1. Switch (missed jumper)
  2. Fight through (foul, non-shooting)
  3. Switch (made jumper)
  4. Switch (made layup)
  5. Switch (missed jumper)
  6. Double (foul on shot)
  7. Double (made three)
  8. Double (missed jumper)
  9. Double (made three)
  10. Switch (turnover)
  11. Double (made jumper)
Third Quarter

  1. Double (missed jumper)
  2. Double (made layup)
  3. Double (dunk)
  4. Switch (missed 3)
  5. Switch (missed jumper)
  6. Switch (turnover)
Fourth Quarter

  1. Under (missed jumper)
  2. Switch (foul, non-shooting)
  3. Double (missed jumper)
  4. Double (foul, non-shooting)
  5. Double (made three)
  6. Fight through (lob, dunk)
  7. Double (foul, shooting)
  8. Double (turnover)
  9. Double (no shot)
  10. Switch (made three)
  11. Double (missed jumper)
  12. Double (made three)
  13. Double (made jumper)
The raw numbers don't look too bad, but what you don't see here is how the P&R defense allowed the Hornets to own the offensive glass. The Hornets had 17 offensive boards, and those boards would cost them the game in the fourth.

I also have to add that the Sixers got lucky tonight. Chris Paul's jumper was off from the get-go, had he been hitting, he would've had the opportunity to drop about 50. The Sixers were, by and large, confused by the pick and roll, and couldn't decide how they'd defend it. Every time they tried to double Paul, the double was lazy and Paul would split it. Lou Williams played a hands-off defense against the pick, basically running away from it and creating a sort of zone effect which gave Paul about 8 feet of air space to work with. Of the bigs, I agree with Bob Salmi, Speights was the best big at defending the P&R, that's probably why he saw extended minutes. In fact, Speights was also the team's best rebounder, and while this was, by far, his worst offensive game of the season, his play was overall a positive.

I started this post out by saying you can't blame the Andres. Here's what I meant.

Andre Miller + Andre Iguodala = 23/34 from the floor (68%), 10/10 from the line (100%) for 58 points.

The rest of the team = 13/56 from the floor (23%), 5/8 from the line (62%) for 33 points.

When you have your two best players both go off for huge games, it should be a win. Plain and simple. The rest of the team let those guys down tonight in a big way.

Players of The Game:
Andre #1 and Andre #2
Team Record: 29-30
Up Next: @ Memphis on Saturday.

We have four off days to fill up, I have one idea for a statistical/graphical way to look at games that I'll try out, we'll talk some on-court strategy, on both sides of the ball and hopefully forget about these past two games before what should be a successful stretch of upcoming games.

by Brian on Mar 3 2009
Tags: Basketball | Hornets | Post Game | Sixers |