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Willie and Iverson, For Defense?

This was another winnable game that slipped away (starting with that Iverson pass to LeBron with about 2:30 left). It is disappointing they came away with another loss but maybe this'll be our year for a high lottery pick. ;-)

I did notice after Willie subbed in at the end of the game he took a deep 3 attempt just a few seconds into the shot clock when they really needed to make some passes and get a high percentage shot. You are right, his defense was a sieve.

Jrue has looked really good now that he has been getting some minutes. Hopefully, this will continue even when Lou comes back (ha!). Lawson is doing well for Denver but Holiday looks like he can provide what we need too (passing and defense).

What's gotten into Thad where he is starting to rebound for a change? Hopefully, he keeps this up.

Kenneth on Dec 17 at 6:19

- I agree Jrue had a great game.
- I also agree that Eddie Jordan should be fired. He's a terrible coach and made numerous substitution mistakes along with just plain bad situational decisions.

- I feel bad for Elton Brand, who had the only positive +/- stat and yet, he's a bench guy now. You pay a guy $80M and you sit him on the bench? A good coach maximize the utility of his talents -- he doesn't sit them on the bench because it doesn't "fit his system". That's the difference between a good coach and a bad coach.

A good coach uses the pieces he has, creates maximum value out of each piece, and creates a winning team.

A bad coach creates his "vision" of a team, tries to force his players to fit into his "system" -- even if it means trying to fit a square peg into a circle.

Look at Coach Adelman...he creates the team around the pieces he has. He had a slow-paced grind-it-out offense in Houston because he had McGrady and Yao Ming. Now that they are both out, and they added Trevor Ariza...Houston is now a run-and-gun team. That's called good coaching...creating maximum utility out of his players. He designed the system to the talents of his players, not forced his players to fit into his rigid system (like Eddie Jordan is trying to do).

Bottom Line: Fire Eddie Jordan.

I know profanity is relatively rare on this site, but I really feel like Eddie Jordan's nickname is "Fuck!" at this point. You just can't say his real name without it...

In the hands of a capable coach, Jrue/Dala/Thad/Brand/Sammy would be a highly competitive lineup. Brand has looked fine, Thad is coming on huge, and Sammy (tonight excepted) is having his best season. Alas, we don't have a capable coach, so instead it's four guards and a cloud of bricks. Good fun.

Is it too soon to hope for the worst record in the league? At this point, it seems like a new coach (isn't Jeff Van Gundy looking good right about now?) and a high lottery pick would be a good outcome.

Amid the awfulness, gotta say I'm really impressed with Iverson's attitude coming back. Love how he took ownership for turning the game (in a bad way) last night.

Sorry but you're mistaken on one thing. Towards the end of the game when Green ad Iggy switched - they didn't have to. Igoudala ran from Lebron both times that I saw. He allowed Mo Williams (whose like 5'10" - 160lbs) to rub him off of Lebron and left Willie Green on an island. Iggy was scared. That's all there is to it.

You're correct on everything else though. Eddie Jordan pulled Holiday who was having a career night on both sides of the ball to insert Willie Green in the lineup - who should never be on the floor during crunchtime.

This is bullshit, go watch the tape.

I bet Eddie says that Jrue needed a break at 2:31. That's why Willie was inserted in the game. Well. If that was his logic that's because Jrue wasn't given a quick breather earlier in the qtr. Another substitution screwup by our coach. Another inbounds screwup after a timeout. Defense at the top of the key. This is at least the 3rd time when we had a better team on the ropes this year and should have won which happens all the time in the NBA(the win). He just can't coach at crunch time.

He did not want to risk exposing Jrue to a potentially ego bruising loss.

Whereas Green is used to losing- its ingrained in his feakin DNA.

Sammy looked like utter crap last night.

Thad needs to be playing SF (with two bigs on the court with him). He sucks at PF.

Love the Speights/Brand combo.

I'd start Jrue/AI/Iggy/Brand/Speights and have Thad, Lou, and Sammy as our three main subs.

I'd start Jrue/Iguodala/Thad/Speights/Brand

And go with Lou and Sam off the bench.

I left out AI because I would not have signed him- although impressed he has been playing and not dominating the ball.

Dean Harner reply to Dutch on Dec 17 at 23:19

Awesome statements. Great insight. Thank you for making me laugh instead of crying!

JohnEMagee on Dec 17 at 9:43

Lebron giggled, I loved that

eddies' heady's on Dec 17 at 9:53

After a post yesterday I thought the horse had been beaten dead. But alas, the stud (supposedly dead at that) still receives the endless beatings. How many times CAN you beat a dead horse?

Should the headline read Willie and Iverson, For Offense? With only 2 points (yes, a measly 2) scored in the final five plus minutes, it too would be fitting.

It was stated that at the 2:31 mark that an 'offensive lineup' was inserted and that is not how you 'come back late'. Well, when you are already down 5 points and the supposed 'defensive lineup' hasn't scored in nearly three minutes how else would you 'come back' if you don't put some other offensive options in? I mean, you had four LeBron shots with three misses (and stops) and the only make was off that Varejao offensive board where EB is to blame for not boxing out and giving it up. And that is without mentioning that the rookie had played nearly a full game in only his third game back after being out for around a week (his conditioning has to be lacking to a degree). It has been mentioned that he should have taken the rookie out earlier to keep him fresh. Sure. If he had taken him out he would have been murdered for 'removing' him from the 'stellar' game he was having. The beatings are endless remember.

On the inbounds play at the 2:31 timeout where Jordan drew up a play, the inbounder stepped on the sideline for a sideline violation instead of they 'can't get the ball in', right? I thought this was a violation by the player and not they didn't get it in in enough time.

I like how in the play sequence it was referenced that Willie 'bricked' a three after a pass from Iguodala but on the next play down Iguodala just 'misses' his. There were a couple more Dala 'bricks' in those last few minutes also.

"On the other end, he had had Willie Green take two of our final four shots, again with the game on the line. If anyone can explain this to me without using the words "Worst coach in the league," I'd love to hear it."

To even say that 'he had had Willie Green take two of our final four shots' is ludicrous. Willie jacking one up way early in the shot clock after that pass by Dala and then making a decision to keep the ball and head to the rim for a quick, given two, can be described with two words instead of the infamous five words - Ad lib.

But to be in a game throughout with one of the top teams in the entire league is a sign of good coaching. How else to explain leading the Cavs up until 5 minutes left? How else?.... Exactly, (sarcasm ended here) it didn't have anything to do with coaching. It was another case of the players giving maximum effort and intensity and, once again, playing up to their competition.

I'm completely shocked that you're here defending Jordan. What a surprise. I do like how you completely gloss over the fact that Jordan had multiple chances to defensive substitutions, but decided he was completely happy with the matchups they were getting with Green out there.

The reason Varejao got that offensive rebound wasn't because Brand didn't box out, it was because Willie got torched off the dribble and Brand had to leave his man to protect the rim.

So just to set the record straight, you're in favor of Willie and Iverson being in the back court for those key defensive possessions, correct? That's just solid coaching.

Oh I forgot, just blame Iguodala. That usually works.

I do agree that the two "layups" Lebron missed while Willie was guarding him were well contested, and definitely not bunnies. Also, Lebron's miss on the jumper is exactly how you want to defend him; force him to take outside shots. In all fairness, Willie did a decent job defending Lebron at the end, but on the offensive end he made some very poor decisions.

EruThePhenom reply to Jesse on Dec 17 at 14:12

Exactly, LBJ was well defended by green but Brian is saying "LeBron blows right by Willie, straight to the front of the rim and misses a lefty layup" and "LBJ drives to the hole again, unmolested and blows another layup." you would think if LBJ "blows" right by somebody he's gonna dunk it but he didn't because green was right there and the other two times LBJ took two jump shots and that's what you want him to do.

P.S. you can easily see brian hates green and loves iguodala when he says green "he takes a contest three and bricks it" and "Iguodala misses a three on the other end." when iguodala's 3 was with two guys in front of him

JohnEMagee reply to EruThePhenom on Dec 17 at 14:14

Hey how did dedicated get back in here?

Court_visioN reply to EruThePhenom on Dec 17 at 18:46

wow. are you guys seriously saying Willie Green defended LeBron well on those two blown layups? They were contested at the rim by help defense, Willie had absolutely nothing to do with it other than making LeBron choose which direction he wanted to go past him.

And LeBron taking that 18 footer over Green is the equivalent of an open jumpshot.

Court_visioN reply to EruThePhenom on Dec 17 at 18:48

I will say that for the better part of the game Eddie Jordan didn't do a horrible (by this I mean that he didn't actively screw anything up) job, made some substitutions that I liked such as pulling Thad and Sam early in favor of Sam and Speights.

But when crunch time rolled around Jordan crapped his pants. Bottom line, Willie Green should not have been on the court at that time.

Can we start a Jrue Lockdown List?

Rondo, Westbrook, Ellis and now Mo Will. This rookie has locked these guys down beyond my imagination. I heard he was good defensively, I didn't imagine this good, this soon.

Watching the game a few hundred miles away (and two hours later on DVR), I'm pretty sure I could still hear Brian's scream when Green came in for Holiday ;-)

My observations from the game:
- Holiday was obviously spectactular in this game defensively. Two plays (among many) stood out. First, there was a play when MoWil and West tried a P&R, but Jrue fought through it. Then Mo tried to pump fake a 3 but Jrue didn't for it. Then Mo passed it to West, who tried to penetrate, but Jrue actually came to help Iverson and bothered West into the 24-second violation. (I rewound that one just to see that sequence again.) On the second play, the Cavs tried to post up West on Holiday, but Jrue tied up West before he could even get the ball above his waist.
- The best thing about having a good on-the-ball defender at PG is that it inspires confidence. The PG is the first person you see when the other team brings the ball up the court (and when your team does too). I have a feeling that's going to be a good feeling for Sixers fans for years to come.
- Now back to the P&R. As I noted yesterday, the Sixers switch the P&R too often and too easily. On five straight possessions down the stretch, the Cavs ran the same play (Mo Williams picking for LeBron), and the Sixers switched it every time. I don't believe for a second that Iguodala was afraid of LeBron, but Iguodala needed to be more assertive about not switching. This is where the right coach would be extremely helpful, drilling into his players how to handle that situation. I can't believe that even Eddie Jordan would intend for Willie Green to wind up isolated on LeBron, but who knows if they've even talked about that in practice.
- I don't know about the rest of you, but this game didn't feel like some of the other recent losses, where the Sixers never really had a chance to win. But for a few unfortunate plays at the end (Iverson's bad pass, LeBron's two 3's -- both of which would qualify as bad shots [I think] by Brian's definition, Mo Williams' jumper over Iguodala), the Sixers played evenly with the Cavs all the way. The irony is that Iverson has not taken away minutes from Holiday, he's taken away minutes from Green. Is that a net positive? I think so.
- On offense, Holiday was hit-and-miss. Great passing in general, sometimes poor shot selection (I counted three bad 3's early in the shot clock, plus the missed runner when the game was tied 96-96).
- I like Thad's continued good showing on the boards, but I wish he would have gotten the rebound that Varejao stole at 1:39. Still, the Sixers held their own on the boards this game.
- With the ball in the hands of the guards more (Holiday or Iverson), Iguodala's role shifted from creating plays to finishing plays. In this game, it worked for the most part, but I hope the Sixers don't abandon that part of Iguodala's game (as one of the best passing forwards in the game -- as long as he's not trying to play point).
- Iguodala has seemed to solve his earlier free throw woes: 44-50 (88%) this month. He's alternated good and bad shooting games from the field this month (though still averaging 23 ppg); let's see if he can put two good ones together on Friday.
- To be fair to Willie, I thought he kept the Sixers in it in the 2nd when the Cavs were threatening to blow the game open. I won't fault him too much for his end-game play (though I wish he would have penetrated instead of shooting the 3 with 1:07). However, the two times he left Gibson for wide-open 3's were inexcusable. If you watch those plays again, you'll see the "Willie Special": go help on a penetrator (who both times were well under control), leaving your own man (who does nothing but shoot 3's) wide open. The small lineup will only be effective at defending 3's if it's the right small lineup.
- Nice to see Speights back out there. He still doesn't defend well, but his great offense makes up for it. He's definitely a better option than Jason Smith or Brezec off the bench, and I wonder how long it will be before he's starting (given how much the coach values offense).

On to Boston, where I'm thinking it will be interesting if nothing else ...

"To recap, Jrue Holiday played 37 minutes tonight and his man didn't hit one field goal. Not one. How did his coach reward this effort? He pulled him from a 5-point game with 2:31 remaining."

Actually he rewarded him by giving the youngest player in the league 37 minutes of play in the first place. How many coaches would pull him in the same situation? I'd say 20 out of 30 at least. Yes, he's a bad coach, but this is one decision that, while probably bad, is such conventional NBA coaching that I can't really complain about it.

JohnEMagee reply to Tray on Dec 17 at 13:00

Defense for Offense substitutions are also 'conventional NBA coaching' as well and yet Jordan couldn't be bothered to put in the better defender for the useless gunner when presented with the opportunity.

I like to think conventional NBA coaching has the primary maxim of 'go with your best 5 when you thin you can win'...if Jordan thinks willie green is part of the 'best 5' the sixers have, he should be caned and canned immediately

Rich reply to Tray on Dec 17 at 13:13

But why did he pull him then? What is so conventional about the decision? I can't really think of him doing one thing wrong last night except taking a bad three once or twice. You can't blame him for the Williams buckets because if anyone that is on Iggy (except its really the coaching that allows a BS pick and pop to be easily switched which made LeBron giggle at Willie). I just think that it may have stood out as terrible because Jrue, even among Jordan's "one mistake and your butt is on the bench" policy, didn't really meet that criteria.

Tray reply to Rich on Dec 17 at 14:17

He pulled him because he's young and the conventional move is to play your veterans down the stretch.

JohnEMagee reply to Tray on Dec 17 at 14:22

The conventional move is to substitute defense for offense when you can, and while he may be young, I don't think anyone in the world with any 'sense' is going to say Jrue Holiday isn't a better defender than Willie Green.

So wondering how you can still justify what Jordan did using 'convention' when ignores other obvious easy to implement conventions?

Rich reply to Tray on Dec 17 at 17:15

Not Paul Westphal though. Jrue has not looked as complete as Tyreke Evans but Westphal threw Evans into the fire and he picked Agent Zero clean when they were holding one point and the game on the line. I mean, he could have played Beno Udrih (Willie) there, but why not let the kid play if he's earned it? That's all I'm saying.

JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Dec 17 at 17:53

That play by tyreke evans, i watched the end of that game on espn - that was a thing of defenisve beauty

Tray reply to Rich on Dec 17 at 18:53

I mean, I know that Beno Udrih is probably a better player than Willie Green, but Tyreke Evans is, I believe, their leading scorer and a leading Rookie Of The Year candidate? Maybe the leading Rookie Of The Year candidate right now Plays 36 minutes a game? Kind of different. I'm just telling you, it's not easy to find examples of coaches going with a guy like Holiday down the stretch. It's like if Tyler Hansbrough was playing really well one night, the coach would still sub him out for Troy Murphy the last few minutes.

JohnEMagee reply to Tray on Dec 17 at 19:38

How many coaches who don't go with holiday down the stretch have willie green or the equivalent as the other option.

You keep ignoring my question - and that's great - but you want to use the conventional wisdom argument - usually the 'veteran' is a better player - and willie ain't better than most nba players...period.

Rich reply to Tray on Dec 17 at 20:09

I here what you are saying and I realize Tyreke is farther along as a player than Jrue. I just can't be convinced the substitution is acceptable because I don't think a lot of NBA coaches would do it (I could be wrong that's just an opinion we both have that can't be proven true). That being said, Jrue played 37 minutes last night so he's not afraid to play the kid anymore (We can build on this!). Plus it's not like we're fighting for playoff positioning at the end of the year, so my thing is let's throw the kid into the fire because he's earned it.
I also think Hansbrough is never going to be a star of a team like Jrue, but an exceptional energy guy or solid fifth starter. We all know we have higher hopes for Jrue and Troy Murphy is a starter who almost averages a double double and shoots 50 percent. Like John said, Willie is not close to the player he is.
I will say that Mo Cheeks and maybe DiLeo (idk?) would possibly have done the same thing. Still, this is a microcosm of Jordan's terrible philosophy. He thinks Willie will shoot us into a win down the stretch when defense has to be the first priority.

I have to disagree with one thing.

I can't see Mo pulling a stellar defensive rookie playing like that. I remember Mo playing Carney on Grant Hill down the stretch as a rook, I believe. Not to mention that Jrue is a PG too. Nope, cannot see it.

Court_visioN reply to rswknight on Dec 17 at 21:20

i'm starting to really miss mo cheeks as a coach. stupid dribble-handoff-offense and all (since we're doing that anyway) at least you know every night the sixers were going to play tough defense

At least Mo's dribble handoff crap generally led to a drive...

Holiday looks like a real point guard with the intangibles you can't teach...agreed on Lawson...I'm a Holiday guy now.

Court_visioN on Dec 17 at 18:50

AI didn't make the trip to Boston. Which means more minutes for Willie. Yay!

Not only has Jrue locked down 4 of the leagues best point guards, the kid has a dynamite smile.

So when Eddie Jordan gets fired, who do we want to replace him? If both Ed's get canned, who do we want to be our GM?

If EJ doesn't get fired, how long will everyone be able to deal with Willie "The Franchise" Green?

Jeff reply to Mike P on Dec 17 at 23:24

I believe his contract is over after next year. However, I can see them re-signing him again just because it's the sixers. If EJ is still the coach at the end of next year, I can see him voicing his opinion to keep Willie at all costs.
It's a sad, sad organization.

Hopefully the next coach is defensive-minded with an offensive specialist as the assist. coach. However, I think the most important factor is to have an open-minded coach that can work with what he has on the roster.

I probably should've made this more clear in the post, judging from the comments. My main point was that I didn't have a giant problem with the Willie for Jrue sub at the 2:31 mark. I don't think I would've done it, but I understand that Jordan values what Willie brings on the offensive end, and that sub was made for an offensive possession.

What I find to be a firing offense is when you have the opportunity to get Green out of there, multiple times, on the defensive end and you don't. The results of those defensive series are irrelevant. When you put a player like Willie on the floor for end-game situations, teams are going to find a way to go at them. It just so happens, Jordan's defensive schemes allowed Cleveland to isolate LeBron James on Willie Green time after time when the game was being decided.

As I clearly stated, this game was most likely a loss no matter what substitutions Jordan made down the stretch. I don't think he lost it by putting Willie in at the 2:31 mark. They lost this game because (a) they can't defend to save their lives and (b) Cleveland is a better team.

My issue is more big picture. Stupid substitutions like that will be the difference in close games against even competition. Eddie Jordan is a bad coach, a very bad coach. Consider those substitutions further evidence to back up that theory.

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