Sixers comeback falls short; lose to Wizards 90-89

I almost became angry, than I remembered it's still pre-season.

Saul was court side for the game and posted his observations in the comments. I'm moving them to the front page so we have some actual insight from last night's game. Thanks Saul.

Spent all of halftime chatting with Kate Fagan of the Inquirer (a little about the Sixers – we agree that there are a lot of ifs, and if they all work out then the team could win some 45-46 games, but could also crash and burn if they don’t – and more about why there’s so little enthusiasm for professional basketball in Philadelphia. Neither of us really had good answers there), then spoke very briefly to Sammy and Thad after the game. Exciting stuff.
Unfortunately, I on’t really have much to offer as far as the game itself went. Sitting courtside, it was a much different perspective on the game than I’m used to, and it was easy to get caught in trying to understand what the players were saying to each other and the refs and watching the other things happening on and around the court – at the expense of actually following the game. Here’s what I did see:

  • No one looked particularly good. Kapono hit some nice (and timely) 3s, but also took some bad jumpers. He did not look like he was trying to do too much, though.
  • Speights is very skilled around the basket and he can shoot. But we knew that. He also took some shots where he perhaps should have passed. We knew that too.
  • I love Jason Smith. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s energetic, and he can shoot. Hit a number of jumpers, including a big 3. He also had the play of the night, a beautiful, emphatic cutting dunk to give the Sixers a 78-76 lead, their first of the second half, which had started with two long Wizards runs sandwiched around a shorter Sixers one.
  • One of the really worrisome things (Fagan makes this point and a number of other excellent observations on the game in her blog post over at philly.com) was that the Sixers often took a good 10 seconds off the shot clock before they really got set. Often, they got down the floor and ready to run a play with just 10 or 12 seconds left on the shot clock. That’s a lot of wasted seconds, and resulted in a few bad shots.
  • Iguodala, just like most of the rest of the team, had a streaky kind of night. At one point in second half, he hit jumpers on three straight possessions, but he also had a lot of bad shots and was largely invisible otherwise. His stat line read 4 assists and 3 rebounds, which seems about right. He didn’t do much other than score his points.
  • Jrue was interesting. He got himself into trouble with his dribbling a few times, but wasn’t too bad overall. He wasn’t asked to do too much, but what he did, he did pretty well. He also played some excellent defense – I remember one play specifically where he did an excellent job staying in front of Mike James, who was looking to drive.
  • Thad drew a good charging call in the first half. The refs overall, though, were pretty bad, missing the calls on some obvious fouls on both sides. They were, however, quite sharp (oddly enough) when determining who should get the ball after it had gone out of bounds.
  • Not much (unfortunately) to say about Brand. He didn’t look great, and was not a primary option in the offense tonight. He only took four shots (making one), and at least a couple of those were not good shots. One was a botched layup when he tried to take it coast-to-coast himself and couldn’t pull it off.
  • The defensive rebounding was quite bad, especially in the first half. JaVale McGee, Dominic McGuire, Nick Young, and Brendan Haywood all had at least one play on an offensive rebound, several when Dalembert, Speights, or someone else just couldn’t get to it or hold onto it. The final rebounding margin was 50-38 in favor of the Wizards, and 14 of those 50 were offensive boards.
  • Lou was Lou. Not great, but not awful tonight, either. One thing I did gain by sitting so close, though, is a newfound appreciation for his speed. He is really fast.
  • Sammy had three good blocks and made his defensive presence known, but didn’t do much else. Both of his makes were midrange jumpers, and he hit 3 of his 4 foul shots. Perhaps he shouldn’t be shooting those jumpers at all, but i think he’s something of a better shooter than we sometimes give him credit for.
  • Got to see the lefty baby hook from Thad. That was exciting.
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