Coming off two valiant efforts against 2 of the best teams in the East, the Sixers went through a horrible stretch at the end of the second half and most of the third quarter, allowing the Pacers to come away with a double-digit victory.
For a third straight game, the Sixers fought hard and sported a never-give-up attitude. These types of efforts, however, can only take a team so far.
Early on, the Sixers had an array of open shots that just wouldn't fall. Then, Lou Williams came in. Lou played like an absolute stud in that first half. Defensively, he was getting in the passing lanes and caused deflections, one resulting in a steal of his own. Offensively, Lou could not be stopped. Lou was working off the dribble, getting the bucket, causing contact, connecting on open jumpers, and swishing home two three-balls. A perfect 7-7 in a half for Lou? Where do I sign for this?
Once Lou got hot, the defensive effort increased and the Sixers were getting turnovers and forcing bad shot from the Pacers. Lou's hot streak got the Sixers ahead by 13 midway through the second quarter. The bench was clicking much more efficiently than the starting line-up at this point, something not out of the ordinary from the first games.
A tie ballgame at halftime, the Sixers came out in the third quarter discombobulated. Turnover after turnover after offensive foul caused the Sixers to manage just one score for the first six minutes of the second half. These turnovers lead to an unorganized offensive attack. Instead of setting up some sort of offense, the Sixers panicked and went to playing one-on-one basketball. Once that started, the Pacers widened the margin and never looked back.
This game was lost on the offensive side of the ball, make no mistake about it. Other than the Lou Williams show in the second quarter, the Sixers could not muster any sort of cohesiveness on that end. Other than Lou, Thaddeus Young was the only Sixer who managed a field goal percentage above 50%.
Some thoughts in an excellent bullet-point format after the jump.
- Jrue Holiday's string of less than impressive games continues. After the first couple minutes which saw Jrue hit a nice jumper and runner in the lane, I thought we would finally get to see the Jrue we've been hoping for. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Darren Collison seemed to have his way with Jrue whenever the the Pacers had the ball. He was just 6-14 from the floor, two of those makes coming right at the end of the game when the outcome was already decided, and only managed two assists. Hopefully (which I'm confident it is) Jrue is just going through some growing pains and will work his way out it soon.
- Spencer Hawes, yet again, shows he's clearly not fit to play significant minutes right now. Roy Hibbert was abusing him every chance he got in the first half. Hawes looked slow, had bad defensive rotations, and did nothing on the offensive side other than hitting a wide open 15 footer early on.
- Evan Turner is proving that he is probably the best rebounder on this team. He came in towards the end of the first quarter and quickly picked up six rebounds. Although he was just 4-11 from the field, Turner was getting into the lane and found holes to shoot, whether it be attacking the basket or pulling up short for a little jumper. I can think of three times off the top of my head where Turner shot the ball close to the rim and the ball just rolled off. He very easily could have been 7-11. Oh yeah, he also shouted obscenities at Josh McRoberts (okay in my book) picking up his first ever technical foul.
- Elton Brand played with a ton of energy tonight. He did an excellent job (well, as good as he could have done giving the size difference) on Hibbert in the second half as Collins finally realized Hawes had no shot taking Roy one-on-one defensively. Brand was getting on the floor for loose balls, running the break to an extent I've never seen from him, and playing inspired defense all night. Although he didn't shoot particularly well, I'd say he had the best overall performance tonight coming away with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals, and 4 blocks all while not once giving the ball away to the Pacers. Slim Elton is looking pretty good.
- Andre Iguodala had a very "meh" game. He turned the ball over 5 times, shot just 10 times and capitalized on just 4 of those attempts, went an abysmal 3-8 from the foul line, had 3 assists and rebounds, and ended with a team high (or low) -28 in the +/- category. As much as we love when we get a game from him like we saw last night, we cringe when a night like this comes along. Tough night, he'll bounce back.
- Andres "NoceOne" Nocioni did what he does. He played some intense, in your face defense, hustled for loose balls, crashed the boards, and knocked down a couple threes. Not a standout performance like in his first two games, but not terrible either.
- The Sixers held the Pacers to 41.6% shooting from the floor and 29% from beyond the arc. The defense was definitely there, as those are numbers normally seen in a win. The big difference was at the free throw line. The Pacers hit 18 (on 25 attempts) while the Sixers hit just 8 (on 16 attempts).
- Jason Kapono did not see the floor at all except for his H-O-R-S-E match with the Pacer ball boys before the game (it's on Kate Fagan's twitter). Remember when he started?
- Marreese Speights was in uniform.
Well, the Doug Collins era has still yet to taste sweet victory. With a couple days off, hopefully the boys can get some rest, get back in the gym, and work out the obvious offensive issues that cause this team to go through ugly stretches.
Player of the Game: Elton Brand (first half definitely belonged to Lou Williams though)