This game was exhausting. The Sixers came out of the gate extremely sluggish and found themselves trailing by 20 during the first half. It was an uphill battle for the rest of the way, and every time the Sixers got close, the Pacers answered. We knew this game would be tough. The Sixers were on the road for the first time in 20 days. That's never easy. That, along with a brief history of letdowns (last year) in the first game after the break, and the Sixers had their work cut out for them. They obviously weren't up for the challenge.
Andre Iguodala continues to impress. He didn't have the best night, shooting wise, but he set teammates up beautifully. He dazzled on fast breaks. He played solid defense, highlighted by a brilliant steal and slam, and he made shots when he had to. The only problem I had with Iguodala tonight was his tendency for letting the refs to get in his head. It happens to the best of the best; just ask Kobe, but Iguodala's game seems to be vastly affected by it.
Thaddeus Young had an all-around good game. He did his thing on offense, but the thing that stood out for me, was his rebounding. He grabbed numerous rebounds in traffic and was very active on the glass. That's been my main complaint with Thad this season -- the lack of rebounds. So any night he grabs 9, especially in the fashion which he did so tonight, I'm going to give him a Liberty Ballers pat on the back.
Reggie Evans was, once again, huge in each of the Sixers runs. There's no need to explain how. If you've watched a Sixers game this season. You know what Reggie Evans does. My house continuously echos the words, "Reggie, Reggie" when he's in the game, and for good reason. He gets me pumped regardless of how the rest of the game is going.
Willie Green was horrible tonight. Again, no explanation needed, but if this was the first basketball game you've ever watched, I'm sorry. Normally when a role player chucks up 16 shots in a game where he only collects 2 rebounds and 1 assist, he gets benched, which brings me to my next point.
Tonight was one of the first time all seasons where I thought DiLeo did a horrible job of coaching. There was absolutely no reason to leave Willie and Sam (we'll get to him in a second) in for as long as he did. They seriously killed the Sixers while they were in there. I didn't think he called timeouts at the right times either. Poor performance by DiLeo in my opinion.
With all the Dalembert trade rumors flying around, I had the mentality of, "Dude he's been playing good defense and rebounding well as of late. There's no need to trade him now and mess up the chemistry." Well, tonight changed my mind. It reminded me how he is the "Hot Hands" Hanon of this basketball team. It reminded me that he's soft and weak, especially for a 6'11'' center. He's not basketball-smart -- at all. None of these problems are new; they've just been masked by his solid play for the past month or so. If we're ever going to contend for a title, we cannot have a player like Dalembert on the team -- just way too many mental lapses.
Louis Williams can't go unnoticed. He jumps in the air and throws up a horrible shot, or horrible pass too often. He's really, really, really bad at point guard. And he cannot his a three to save his life. Very disappointing season thus far for the Lou-man.
You also can't win games shooting 38 percent from the field, 13 percent from downtown, and 65 percent from the line. That's exactly what the Sixers did tonight.
I thought tonight's crew called a horrible game for both teams. They let the game get way too out of hand in the third quarter. It all started with a sequence of a no-call, a hard foul and a technical foul. Danny Granger fouled either Iguodala or Green on one end; no foul was called. Then, as Granger dribbled downcourt, Andre Miller gave him a solid shoulder shiver to the chest. Granger reacted like he was the baddest dude on the planet, and Andre Miller looked at him like "Are you serious right now man?" Granger got T'd up. The next few minutes of play were very chippy on both ends and poorly refereed. They also missed quite a out-of-bounds calls and had to gather for a 2-minute conference on a blatantly obvious goaltend call.
I'm not shocked by the loss. Being the first game after the break, the first road game in 20 days and being played against a team who have given them problems all year, I expected a tough game. The only thing the Sixers can do now is come out tomorrow, and play with energy. They can't allow this loss to linger, or effect their next game. They've done a pretty good job of that thus far, so I have confidence. Tomorrow we're back in Philadelphia to take on the Nuggets. It's not an easy matchup, but at least it's at home. They need to use this game as a springboard for the rest of the season.