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Trapped, But Still Got the W

Excellent writeup as always Brian...but when do we send out a missing person alert for Nocioni?

bebopdeluxe reply to das411 on Feb 27 at 23:54

Ssshhhh....don't wake him up.

And who would you take minutes away from to play him?

I thought the game itself was ugly, but the win was better than it looked. The Cavs have been playing well at home lately, winning 3 of their last 5, including wins over the Lakers and Knicks. (On the road, they won 3 of their first 4 this year, including a win over the Sixers, but have lost 26 straight since then.)

I agree with Jrue for POTG if we're just talking about offense. He was strong with his passing all game, which was good because Iguodala wasn't into the flow of the game at all. However, I don't agree with those that excuse Jrue's lack of defense on Sessions as problems with the pick-and-roll. By my count, Sessions blew by Jrue at least 6-7 times on straight penetrations, no pick necessary. I got to wondering in the middle of the game whether Collins has told Jrue NOT to try to stop dribble penetrations so he can stay out of foul trouble.

Last five starting PGs vs. the Sixers:
Sessions 6-13 10-13 22 and 10 assists
Bynum 12-24 4-5 29 and 6 assists
Wall 8-19 4-5 21 and 12 assists
(* Lou did the best work on Wall in that game)
Lowry 15-18 0-1 36 (6-9 3's) and 7 assists
Conley 9-17 0-1 22 (4-7 3's)

In the recent past, we also saw explosions by Felton, Billups, and Augustin; and the games by Bynum, Lowry, and Augustin vs. the Sixers were their season highs. In fact, examining opposing PG performances vs. the Sixers (i.e., mainly Jrue's defense) is the opposite of examining opposing wing performances (i.e., Iguodala's defense): instead of trying to find which wing has had a good game vs. the Sixers, we have to work hard to find which PG hasn't had a good game vs. the Sixers (answer: Tony Parker); instead of counting season lows, we're counting season highs.

As I've said before, I'm generally happy with Jrue's progress on offense this year, but I've been really disappointed with his defense, especially because we've seen him do so much better before. And he has shown good defense at times this year (e.g., vs. TParker), but those games have been few and far between. All I know is that he better be able to keep Jason Kidd (and his 8.5 PPG) under 20 on Tuesday, or the Sixers have no chance ...

Good point and good stats. Jrue was mind-boggingly bad on defense in the first quarter, reminiscent of the Lowry start. It is strange.

tk76 reply to Statman on Feb 28 at 9:27

I was thinking along the same lines during the game that Jrue is struggling how to balance staying out of foul trouble with aggressively defending.

The thing is, that he commits most of his fouls AFTER his man has turned the corner, and Jrue tries to get back in front. Many of those calls are questionable, but the driver always will get those calls.... So if Jrue stays in front of his man (or on picks his helper forces the guard from driving) then the foul issue would no be one.

bebopdeluxe reply to Statman on Feb 28 at 10:46

This trend of talented, quick guards having their way with Jrue (and even some not-so-talented, quick guards) is a bit concerning. I agree that to say that most of Sessions' success was on screen-roll is not axccurate, IMO - when the Cavs were making theinr 2nd half comeback, Sessions basically got whatever he wanted - with a lot of that on Jrue, it seemed to me.

Yeah, he's only 20...I'm sure that he'll get better...but those feet need to move faster if he is going to make the transition to an elite defender at the point.

F Miami.

No help from Portland either ...

This was the kind of game where you can see just how much better the team has become of late. It's a huge win IMO.
Just a few months ago, this game would've been a loss. They already lost at least 5-6 of these games. Finally though it appears as if they learned the lesson and pulled it of. More importantly they broke the spell and got that 4 game wining streak. Lets hope they look forward from now on and never look back. There are a lot of winable games up ahead and hopefully they can win most of them.

By winning these types of games- even ugly- it makes any surprise wins against good teams "gravy." Take care of the bad teams, and playing over 500 ball becomes easy.

Great point. My favorite stat from 00-01: 33-3 vs. sub-.500 teams.

Tom Moore on Feb 28 at 11:23

Sixers' 9-3 February was their highest winning percentage a in month since 8-2 February in 2003.

As far as Jrue's D goes, I don't think its a lack of effort. I think that he put other players on notice last year that he was a good on ball defender that likes to stay very close and that they adjusted their games to exploit his style of D. Now Jrue needs to go check out some film of each point guard he has to check and he needs to tailor his D to the player he is guarding that night. It just takes time to build up that library of knowlege of different players tendencies.

tk76 reply to mchezo on Feb 28 at 12:05

I'm a fan of McKie, but I don't understand why this team lacks a coach who is a PG (or even a good old vet on the roster.)

PG is such a unique position and Jrue's development is so crucial- yet all of his instruction is form non-PG's.

I've mentioned before that Gary Payton wants to break into coaching. You'd think Jrue would be perfect protoge.

"I don't understand "

You really don't understand?

Hilarious interview with Stefanski here:


Especially love the picture. Sorry, Ed, but that is not the look of a man who "saves his bacon".

Does Gonzales know that Stefanski was effectively neutered before the season even started?

Tom Moore on Feb 28 at 13:17

Video: Brand on his dislocated finger and the Sixers facing the surging Mavericks:


Thanks Tom, I enjoy these videos.

Tom Moore on Feb 28 at 13:25

Video: Collins on the Mavs and his team's progress:


Tom Moore on Feb 28 at 13:30

Video: Turner on Mavericks being a good barometer for Sixers:


Must admit, I'm glad they won last night but like Brian said, many parts of it were disheartening.

The starters got thoroughly whacked in the first quarter, without a hot streak from Lou Williams who knows how the first quarter ends.

Strong runs in the 2nd and 3rd (from the starters) pumped up the lead but then in the 4th the dagger was not inserted, it was disappointing, it shouldn't have been a game at all (and if the cavs weren't so god awful at free throw shooting, the sixers probably lose last night)

I was glad to see Speights get some second half run after his first half defensive gaffe. Almost immediately upon his return, the same player got the ball again and Speights put up much more of a fight. The guy still scored but there really wasn't more speights could do (ok he could have left his feet to try and block the shot but he probably gets called for a foul then). It was nice to see Speights get back on the floor and his defensive effort, while still not always there, is showing up more these days and maybe Collins is giving him a bit more of a leash.

That game last night does not give me great hope that catching the Knicks is doable.

Well, I mean, the Knicks did just lose to that same team, in Cleveland, earlier in the week. So I'm not sure why the Sixers actually beating the Cavs a couple days later would give you any less confidence in the Sixers' ability to catch the Knicks.

Because the Knicks went out last night and beat the Heat on the Heat's home floor in a nationally televised game.

Because the Knicks probably were looking past the Cavs to the Heat (maybe the sixers were looking past the Cavs to the Mavs)

Because the Knicks are still integrating their two new pieces

And because the Knicks got Chauncey in the deal as well

It was on the Heat's home floor, in front of a Knicks crowd. Miami should be embarrassed, as a city, for that crowd last night.

Anyway, that Knicks win isn't as impressive as the Sixers win over the Spurs in my book.

If the Sixers start losing games like last night's, again, then I'll reassess how I feel about catching the Knicks. I'm not going to downgrade based on a road win over a team that just beat the team they're chasing, though. Especially not a team that just beat NYK and LAL at home.

Catching the Knicks is a good mini-goal, but my main concern is avoiding Miami in the 1st Round at all costs. The 1st Round could be much more competitive if the Knicks get Miami and Sixers get Boston/Chicago. Those are better matchups for the lower seeds.

I have serious doubts about Miami in the playoffs. Granted, I've only seen them play against playoff teams this season, but they do not impress me in the least. Their offense is just terrible if they can't get into the open floor (sound familiar?). It's just LeBron and Wade taking turns in isolation and mostly either putting their heads down for drives (hoping for a trip to the line), or settling for bad jumpers. They can be beaten and I think they might be, unless they wind up facing Indy in the first round.

ALso, it's clear that the luantics run the asylum.

Running 'last plays' that end up with Lebron taking a 3 (open or not) is just a bad idea

Rich reply to Brian on Feb 28 at 14:52

The playoffs often is about who does what they do best. Miami IMO is the best team in the East, and they should have beat Chicago the other night on the road outside of an absolute Bosh stinker.

Boston owns them and will probably still have the edge in a series, but that Perkins trade could end up working out really badly for Boston. That guy brought toughness to that team, and now Jeff Green can only have so much impact as a 25 minute a game guy.

Miami will get the top seed so i don't think we can be too concerned with them. I wouldn't be afraid of a matchup with them though. I think we matchup very well with them. The only problem is the star treatment they will get in the playoffs and that against them could prove crucial. Without it the Heat are beatable in a 7 game series.

And you assume Miami is getting the top seed why?

Check out their record against good teams

Check out their schedule. And yes they are terrible against good teams which is a reason plus to like that matchup.

I'm concerned about catching the Knicks because the sixers should be better than the knicks.

The first round is a loss no matter who they face.

Rich reply to GoSixers on Feb 28 at 14:48

Why should they be better? It's not like a failure if they don't catch the Knicks. They could still play very good basketball and the Knicks just simply hold them off.

It's a one game differential and the sixers have one of the easier schedules in the league the rest of the season.

Yes, I think if they don't catch the knicks it will be a failure

Does anybody listen to the NBA Today podcast on ESPN? Today Rusillo ranked his top 40 and mentioned a few others who should be considered in the near future. I really think he makes some valid points on these players but I think Iggy should be mentioned in this list. He has been pretty consistent for the last couple of years and is absolutely beasting on defense this year. I think that he should be at least mentioned in this list. What do you guys think?

Wait, he has a top 40 list and doesn't include Iguodala? That's a joke.

Josh reply to Brian on Feb 28 at 16:26

Yep. That's what I thought. The thing is he doesn't even mention his name as one of the players he left off the list or might be considered.

Mike Bibby gave up a full years salary in his buyout - the union must be thrilled

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Feb 28 at 15:42

Wow, that is leaving a lot of money on the table.

It is really off how in the NBA some players are "trapped" by their contracts. They can either make a ton of money sitting on the bench or play the game they love in their prime- but not both.

best line of the day (so far)

Are we sure Tim Hardaway isn't better than Bibby right now?

As far as Jrue's D goes, I don't think its a lack of effort. I think that he put other players on notice last year that he was a good on ball defender that likes to stay very close and that they adjusted their games to exploit his style of D. Now Jrue needs to go check out some film of each point guard he has to check and he needs to tailor his D to the player he is guarding that night. It just takes time to build up that library of knowlege of different players tendencies.

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