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Heartbreak City

There's a lot of positive to take out of tonights game. The fan support was great, I do hope people realize what a show they got and keep coming out and not just focus on the fact that the sixers loss.

The sixers can not rebound against 'normal' sized teams. It's how the grizz beats em and it cost them tonight. The rebounding in the first 3 quarters kept the game just way too damn close. Can't give good teams that many chances...

If I had to pick someone to nominate for POTG it would be Lou because without his ability to draw fouls and that god crazy 3 he made - the game doesn't go over time (and he wasn't responsible for any of the bad durant makes to send it to over time and wasn't on the floor in overtime except right at the end)

The only thing that can save my night is if the Knicks blow this game to MEM.

I'm not holding my breath - but at least it's worth watching.

Celtics losing to the Clippers at home doesn't make you feel a little good?

Sigh, up to 11

Swirling and Curling - what the hell does that even mean?

BTW

Even though they lost, I think the sixers should have opened some eyes tonight. If any of those fans left not enjoying the game (and honestly - wins are nice, but I think when you shell out the money - you want to enjoy it too) or just said 'oh well they lost - won't pay to see them anymore' it's a shame.

Win or lose that game should open some eyes to people.

I'm almost tempted to listen to misanelli tomorrow but I know how it's going to go

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bebopdeluxe reply to GoSixers on Mar 9 at 22:24
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Yeah...for the crowd that was there is was quite apparent that:

1) The Thunder have two closers, and

2) The Sixers have none.

Two shot clock violations and an offensive foul.

Andre's "power dribble" attempts to get a shot off in the guts of the game.

Elton with ZERO juice.

Collins not exactly covering himself with glory with his end-of-regulation coaching.

I am as optimistic a guy as there is on these forums, but this was a VERY disheartening loss.

You're optimistic?:) Nah

Elton with ZERO juice.

His legs, that age...he's not going to have much in back to backs.

Very disappointed in the performance of the #1 bench,

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johnrosz on Mar 9 at 22:13
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If anything, this game made me realize I want no part of the Bulls. Their size and sticky D might lead to a sweep.

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eddies' heady's reply to johnrosz on Mar 9 at 22:42
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Agree, anyone else though doesn't really strike fear into me

My only positive from tonights game??? I watched the game at the bar sitting 5 feet away from Derrick Coleman. ohhhhhhh yeahhhhh.

Hopefully they had extra beer nuts

If you're not watching - Grizz down 3 - 21 seconds to go - have the ball after the time out

Randolph to the line w/ a chance to tie it.

Carmelo durants the grizzlies

and Melo nails the 20-footer over Mr. Defense. 0.5 seconds left.

fuck my life again.

1.5 down to the knicks.

Now all i have to look forward to is how top chef deals with a fryer fire :)

Did anyone local have the heart to watch Collins post game?

I haven't seen him that snippy with reporters all year. Felt bad for the guy, honestly. It was a legitimate question (fouling Durant was out of the question, fouling Westbrook before the pass was not).

I'll have audio of it for tomorrow's SixersBeat show, for those that didn't hear it.

Do you still collect the audios of the post game pressers like you used to?

Does CSN or sixers.com put the post game pressers up. I really wanted to hear what Collins had to say about tonight. I feel bad for him if the media was on the attack, I know it's the way things go today but there was a lot of good tonight I felt.

I don't record all of them when when I'm not there (although I still record some). I record all of them when I'm there.

And reporters weren't on the attack. It was a pretty innocuous question.

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eddies' heady's reply to Derek Bodner on Mar 9 at 22:47
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So a reporter posed this scenario? That was what I wanted him to do was foul Westbrook up top b/c you could see the play was baseline screens for KD when they came out to set up out of the timeout.

The problem on that play was Turner. He should've either (a) switched or (b) just doubled off Ibaka onto Durant. Make Ibaka take the three if you have to.

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eddies' heady's reply to Brian on Mar 9 at 23:41
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And to top it off, I think Doug inserted him just for that play. Forget who he took out though? EB?

Yeah, Zumoff actually said, "So they can switch everything."

Doug actually got snippy with a reporter about that play too. When asked why Turner didn't switch, he said "you said that, not me". I think he was just trying to protect ET there, though.

Very, very fun first 3 3/4 of a game to watch live...but what were they thinking going away from Jrue and even Lou late in the fourth and in OT? Collins needs to hand the keys over to Jrue to finish games and trust him to make the right plays like he did all night long. Igoudala couldn't get anything decent off against Durant all night and yet they went to him over and over the last 7 or 8 minutes of regulation and OT. Excruciating to watch.

Disappointing loss, but a hard fought game. The player who could have turned this into a 10 point win very easily...Thad. He missed so many open looks close to the bucket. If we had his normal 14 pts on 50% shooting this game would have been out of reach late in the fourth.

That Durant/Westbrook combo is unreal...have to hand it to them.

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johnrosz on Mar 9 at 22:46
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Iguodala with a very uncharacteristic 6 turnovers.

Granger was 2-19 tonight, while being guarded by Beasley, at least theoretically. I suspect Wes Johnson, Webster or Tolliver spent some time on him too. The Paul-less Hornets beat Dallas, somehow. Jack had his first meaningful game of the season for them. Favors played another 17 minutes, picked up another 3 fouls. Ed Davis had his first or second inefficient game as a pro ever. McGrady had 15, 7 and 9. Cousins has already been to the line 7 times in the first quarter. He also already has 3 turnovers.

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Tom Moore on Mar 9 at 22:51
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Thunder rumble past Sixers in overtime:

http://ow.ly/4bo1Y

If you want to punish yourselves some more, on Twitter a Thunder blogger was saying he went back through the game and Durant's foot was clearly on the line for that four-point play. Guess that point could've helped in the end, huh?

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eddies' heady's reply to Brian on Mar 9 at 22:55
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No way....the Thad reaching in the jar for the second time one?

Wonder why it wasn't considered for review?

Yep, that one.

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Rich reply to Brian on Mar 9 at 23:01
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The refs were bad tonight. No doubt. The Thad charge in OT was one that hurt.

http://i56.tinypic.com/2ebva7a.png

Also Eddie was right about the moving screen that led to the durant 3.

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eddies' heady's reply to Jason on Mar 9 at 23:38
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That's just bad, the official up top appears to be looking downward right at it...wonder which one made the foul call?

Wish you/someone could post a clip of that moving screen though. Been watching every channel I could to try to catch another look at it, but no luck yet.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=310309020


vid has it, Ibaka didn't even set a screen, he was just blocking lol.

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eddies' heady's reply to Jason on Mar 10 at 10:14
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Thanks. Was wondering if it could have even been called an illegal screen after seeing it again, because he really didn't make that much contact with Iguodala, just sort of brushed up against him.

Another thing I noticed in that video was Doug had EB back in for the last 1.9 seconds when Durant missed the winning three. But the Durant tying three he took EB out to put Turner in. Guess Doug was upset too that Turner didn't do what was asked of him since he didn't put him in for basically the same situational play.

So was Lou's offensive explosion in the fourth more valuable than 22 points, 4 boards, 8 dimes and 0 turnovers for Jrue. Jrue did pretty much carry the team for the first and the third.

I'm going with Jrue. If Lou had scored one more point in the fourth, it would've been his.

Can you really give POTG to anyone who played in that over time though? It might be the worst 5 minutes of basketball this season?

Jrue did spoonfeed Thad a point-blank look that got blocked. He also set up the Meeks corner three that would've tied it.

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Tom Moore on Mar 9 at 23:12
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Video: Iguodala on the Sixers 110-105 overtime loss to the Thunder:

http://ow.ly/4bota

I added all the usual stuff to the post above, as painful as it was.

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johnrosz on Mar 9 at 23:25
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gotta admit watching ET try to operate in a game where the D is ratcheted up was pretty terrifying. He looked like he had no business being on the floor. One game, but concerning nonetheless.

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eddies' heady's reply to johnrosz on Mar 9 at 23:36
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ssshhhh! that game doesn't count :)

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tk76 reply to johnrosz on Mar 9 at 23:46
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I'd say both Thad and Turner came perilously close to actually pissing their pants judging by how nervous they looked out there.

Hopefully a learning experience. Sort of like Iguodala's playoffs against the Pistons. And Iguodla bounced back, so I'm thinking Young and Turner can too.

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eddies' heady's reply to tk76 on Mar 9 at 23:49
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eh, not sure I'd go as far to say Thad looked shook out there. Turner's another story though. I thought Andre looked skittish or hurried or just uncomfortable for lack of a better term down the stretch.

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eddies' heady's reply to eddies' heady's on Mar 9 at 23:50
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meaning he didn't look out of sorts, just his sometimes non-touch reared its' head. (Thad)

Thad looses his touch and his wits (defensively) when he gets tight. Not just Thad, all players. Missing layups for a guy who normally is automatic like Thad is like when a baseball player gets the yips and can't make a routine throw to first.

If you are thinking about it they routine becomes an adventure. Thus 2-10.

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johnrosz reply to tk76 on Mar 9 at 23:51
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It wasn't that he played scared necessarily, it was that it looked like he was drowning out there. Harden stopped him dead in his tracks on a number of occasions. He couldn't move. Hopefully he comes out Friday and bounces back against a quality defense like Bostons.

Reminded me of the Dallas game. Play tough for 45 minutes then choke city (against OKC.) While Thad and Turner basically were tight and choked the whole time.

Basically the exact same choking problems they had early this year against "normal" teams that they now only save for close games against "good teams."

Its some consolation to think that if they worked out those kings earlier, maybe they will be able to exorcise those same demons against better teams... at some point- but not tonight.

BTW- I gave Thad the POTG.

I talk him up all day, just to watch him stink it up. He was -16. No one else worse than -4. Thad was probably the 3rd most important player for OKC after Durant and Westbrook.

I had forgotten just how terrible Thad can be when he is nervous and uncomfortable on the floor. he rarely looks like that anymore.

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eddies' heady's on Mar 10 at 0:02
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So we score 21 points in the 4th quarter with Lou playing roughly 11 minutes of the total 12.

But only score 4 points TOTAL the last minute of the 4th and the whole overtime with Lou playing only 27 seconds? Those 4 all coming in the overtime.

Hmmmnnn...

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Statman on Mar 10 at 1:13
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I thought there were a lot of positives to take from this game (and commend GoSixers/John for pointing that out). I re-watched the key plays in the game on DVR and here is what I observed:

* Durant's foot was definitely on the line on the 4-point play. I could see it clearly even on the non-HD telecast.
* Durant made an amazing shot with 0:36 left where Brand's body made contact with the ball, forcing Durant to throw it up on the run from his waist. If that shot (a 10% shot for anybody but Durant) misses, the Sixers are well on their way to a win.
* Iguodala got by Durant on the first isolation with 0:14 left but made the mistake of pump-faking before shooting, allowing Durant to recover. Iguodala just doesn't have a natural in-between game where he would have instinctively gone up for the shot once he got to daylight. And Durant is an underrated defender because of his height and length; really difficult to get off any shot over him.
* I think when Coach Collins looks back at the tape, he'll see that fouling Westbrook at the top of the key would have been the thing to do.
* Ibaka was absolutely moving on the screen that freed Durant. He was backpedaling and stuck out his rear to cause Iguodala to run an extra step. All that said, I thought Iguodala got a good challenge on the shot, and Durant (a 35% 3-point shooter) just made it. I don't have too much of a problem with the execution on the play. (In retrospect, maybe double Durant and force Ibaka to make the shot.)
* On the offensive foul, Iguodala again had a step on Durant and definitely had Thad for an easy lay-in once Westbrook switched, but he (Iguodala) wasn't looking to pass. I've been calling for this all season: the isolation play has to have at least a second option, and I would even make Thad (or Brand) the primary option off dribble penetration.
* In OT, the one missed opportunity was when Meeks fumbled the return pass from Iguodala. I feel confident Meeks would have made that with a clean catch-and-shoot, after having just missed from the same spot a few seconds earlier.

Other comments:
* Thad looked rushed, in a way that he hasn't for some time. He played that way for a lot of last year. I did remember thinking that OKC game-planned for Thad, because they seemed ready for his moves and he got off no good shots in the 2nd quarter. He has to expect that going forward.
* Iguodala also threw a few ill-advised passes to offset his several good ones. Of course, he doesn't face the long arms of Durant every game.
* I thought Iguodala's defense on Durant was good for the most part; Durant had at least 2-3 dunks off loose balls/fastbreaks and at least 6 points on Thad's fouls. That said, Durant made more jumpers over Iguodala than anybody else all year (and he seemed to make a higher percentage with a hand in his face). Tip your hat to him.
* My POTG was Jrue. After a very rough start against Westbrook, Jrue was excellent for long stretches of the 2nd/3rd quarters, and he got a couple stops on Westbrook late. However, it's not entirely accurate to say that Jrue wasn't involved in the offense at the end: he missed a 3-pointer early in the shot clock with 1:47, and the 24-second violation at 1:09 was mostly on him (I think he got it with about 6 seconds to go).
* From now on, the go-to play HAS to be a drive and dish as the primary option, whether Iguodala or Jrue is running it. Dish it to either Thad diving to the basket or Brand for the pop.
* With all the negatives listed above, the fact that the Sixers were up 5 with 0:37 left says a lot about this team. Let's see if they have enough to get over the hump against the top teams. I tend to believe that performance in big games does get better with repetition.

Good stuff. I just finished writing a "perspective on the loss" post for the morning that echoes a lot of these sentiments.

One thing that struck me about OKC, and probably a big reason their smoke and mirrors D was so good last year, is that all their perimeter guys have so much length. You can't get the ball in the corner against them, you really can't just rise and shoot against them on the perimeter and they're not that easy to drive on. I thought Jrue did just an excellent job of attacking the p&r in a patient way, waiting for the "show" to leave, then making his cut, or following in the big man's "wake" (this is one of my favorite moves for a ballhandler, when the big turns to find his man and runs through the lane and the dribbler uses him as an unintentional pick). Jrue should've probably forced a shot on that possession that ended in a violation, but even with 6 on the clock when he caught it, I don't think he was getting even a 30% look in that situation. Not stuck in the corner w/ that length on him. That possession was lost when it got to him in that position with so little time left on the clock.

It stings, but there are a ton of positives.

Iguodala didn't foul Durant once, right? He had 5 FTS, One was the hand in the cookie jar on Thad that he made (the three that was actually a two), two others were the hand in the cookie jar that he missed, and the other two were that b.s. bump they called on Jrue.

That's 8 points, plus those two dunks in transition at the end of the third, that's 12 points and leaves Iguodala with 10/23 for 22 points.

And Cousins finishes with 29, 7, 2 assists, 3 steals, 7 turnovers, and a whopping 18 FTA. For the month so far, he's averaging 24 and 12 on 48% shooting, over 4 games.

As far as this game, I think it's an instructive example of the difference between teams that have superstars and teams that don't. Of course the Sixers can play with a good team, but down the stretch our options in close games are kind of abysmal

Nothing brightens my night more than Tray bragging about a guy using 32 possessions to score 29 points. I only wish you would've mentioned this was the fifth time Cousins has achieved the rare 10+ turnovers+fouls plateau.

I believe Cousins is now tied for the league-lead in this prestigious category with your other favorite player: Monta Ellis. Although Ellis at least sets up his teammates once in a while.

The real shame was that they played some great defense down the stretch. They got two or three stops when they were up five and played some good D while they pushed the lead up there. Then Durant hit a ridiculous shot and a contested 27 footer with Iguodala playing great defense on him. I have zero qualms with the late-game stuff on that end of the floor.

The late-game offense is disturbing though. It's one thing to miss shots, but they really didn't get many good ones. I actually rewatched the offense after Lou puts them up 5.

1st Play: 1-4 Set (More like 2 bigs up top and two smalls in the corner) with Iguodala initiating. Turns into a 24 second violation, but it wasn't an iso. Iguodala and Brand, who is high, run a screen roll. It's not aggressive though and Brand rolls to the block. Iguodala swings to Thad at the top of the key, who has the spacing to attack Ibaka, doesn't even try though. He swings to Jrue and then screens for him. They know the personnel and blitz the ball screen, knowing Thad won't pop. Jrue is stuck and he swings it AI9, who misses a three.

2nd Play: Freelance play. Andre gets in the lane and draws three guys. Elton gets the ball with Durant running at him kind of from the side. I think he can bull his way in and get fouled if he wants. He swings to Lou who gets a baseline 12 footer, a good shot for him. That's a good possession, and Iguodala was largely responsible. Here's the one caveat, it's a pretty quick shot with 12 seconds left. Yeah, that time would have obviously helped, but if we don't have a guy who can get his shot one on one, I like going early to ensure we get a good look. It's like playing to win instead of to not lose.

3rd Play: 1-4 low, and EB comes late to set a screen for Andre. He kind of waves it off, making it a glorified iso. Great crossover, maybe too good because he slips, which is why he can't get it off initially. I still hate that play. Hate it when LeBron runs it, hate it when Lou runs it, hate it when Iguodala runs it. Would have been a really tough shot anyway.

4th Play: Iso, but it's with six seconds. Easy call though. Westbrook actually backs up even further, to make sure the official knows he's set, and Iguodala's head was down. Killer play because Durant got a look, now it's not as bad. That's his fault.

So that's 4 plays, one good shot. One that Iguodala helps with, two that are his fault. The big deal is that he really is passive using pick and roll. That's gotta change if he's the closer. Brand is a weapon in pick and pop.

Also agree with Turner's passive D on the screen. Really kills us there. Seriously, that should almost be a double on Durant. Who gives a shit what Ibaka does? Is he even going to launch a three if he's wide open? I'd much rather see that. Turner needs to work on communication in late-game spots, because this is the second time he screwed it up, along with Detroit.


The late-game offense is a big problem though. If people are dreaming maybe getting a round in the playoffs, Doug's gotta figure this out. A smart defensive team like the Thunder does things like blitz a Jrue-Thad desperation P-R and go under on AI9 when he's the P-R ballhandler.

Thanks Rich. I think you need your own film breakdown show like Ron Jaworski :-)

Questions for you:
- Why is "Thad attacking the basket" never an option at the ends of games? He's always deferred in those situations, back to the beginning of his career. Is it a matter of the coach calling a play for him?
- Do you agree with me that the Iguodala isolation play would have a better chance of success if the primary option is to pass after the initial penetration? Or at least that there should be more than one option?
- What end of game play would you design for Jrue?

For me, it would be a high screen by Brand and a drive for a score or a drive for a kick. His read.

Would you have speights in an end of game set because of his ability to shoot from the outside. Guys like Brand and Speights have their spots and I'm usually confident that they'll make it from their spots.

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Rich reply to Rich on Mar 10 at 13:10
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I don't know why his attacking the basket isn't a play at the end of games. That should at least be a third option with the clock running down right. That what we are looking for with an equal opportunity offense, right? Part of it is Collins but most of it is Thad. He had a chance to go last night but didn't. I have a theory that he likes getting putbacks and dunks at the end, like in Indiana.

I do think that Iguodala is better with passing options on the iso. I just don't think the nature of an iso is to pass, it's to score.

Yeah I'd tell Brand to pick and pop, provided Brand sets a good sceen. I'd also have Jodie camped in the corner on the side Jrue drives to. Then if Jrue gets in the lane, Jodie's defender has to make a decision.

Well as disheartening as this loss is, they did play really really well for very long stretches. This was actually one of their better games of late. Too bad this was one of the best games for the Thunder as well, especially on D when they struggled a lot this season for some reason (Green and Krstic?).

The thing is though the Thunder are probably the best clutch team in the league (or at least close to it). They are now a ridiculous 7-1 in OT, 9-4 in games decided by 3 points or less.

All in all, the improvement is evident. 2-3 months ago they would've lost this game late in the third early in the fourth and the whole fourth would've been a choke parade. Now they only choked in the last minute or so. There is still a long way to go, but they are going in the right direction.


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