Poor start, Conley sink surging Sixers

Turnovers put the Sixers in an early hole, and Mike Conley buried them.

The Sixers started off the first quarter uncharacteristically turnover prone, putting themselves in an early hole they could never truly recover from.  The Sixers committed 7 turnovers in the first quarter, while forcing the Grizzlies into none of their own, setting the tone for an overall sloppy game.  As noted in the game thread, the Sixers came into the game 3rd in the league at protecting the ball, with the Grizzlies third in the league at forcing turnovers.  Something had to give, and it went against the Sixers.  By the end of the game, the Sixers had accumulated more turnovers (16) than assists (14), compared to 20 assists and 5 turnovers for the Grizzlies.

Even when the Sixers made their third quarter run, eventually pulling to within one point, coach Collins never really felt confident.

"That tell's me who's the aggressor," Collins said about the turnovers.  " They set the tempo of how the game was going to be played, and even though we fought back I never really felt like we had any kind of grip on what was going on. "

The Grizzlies started the game on an 8-0 run on the backs of Conley and Randolph and the Sixers wouldn't threaten fro there on out.

After being held scoreless in the first half, Mike Conley wound up being a difference maker.  The fourth year point guard -- who signed a 5 year contract extension at the beginning of the year -- scored 22 second half points, including 15 in the decisive 4th quarter.  The play of Conley was another example of the up and down play by Jrue Holiday, who shot 4-10 from the field for his 10 points, dishing out only 5 assists while committing 3 turnovers in over 38 minutes of work, while getting torched on the defensive end late in the game.

A few quick thoughts after the jump.

 

  • The ball movement in the first quarter was amongst the worst we've seen all year.  As Doug Collins said, the ball stuck.  
  • Jrue Holiday hasn't had more than 5 assists since February 2nd against New Jersey.  He's averaging 2.9 assists per game over the past 7 games.  He's scored 10 points or less in 5 of the last 7.
  • Despite Holiday's struggles, the Sixers were a +8 in the 38:36 he played, -19 in the 9:24 he sat on the bench. 
  • Thaddeus Young really kept the Sixers afloat offensively, particularly in the second quarter.  After scoring 10 points in the entire first quarter, Young scored 14 in the 8:33 seconds himself.  This game also was the perfect display of Thad's limitations on the other end of the court.
  • Similarly, good Lou and bad Lou showed up tonight.  I thought Williams played dreadfully in the first half, despite putting up 9 points.  He over-dribbled the ball, and failed iso after failed iso led to Lou being put in numerous bad positions, resulting in low percentage shots and turnovers.  Then Lou's 6 points late in the third really helped put the Sixers in a position to win heading into the 4th.
  • The Grizzlies size, and offensive rebounding ability, really hurt the Sixers early.
  • Despite O.J. Mayo barely playing in his first game back from suspension, and Rudy Gay only playing a little over 12 minutes before leaving with a shoulder injury, the Sixers were not able to capitalize.
  • Marreese Speights was a DNP-CD for the 3rd time in his last 6 games, with Darius Songaila once again getting minutes.  Speights hasn't appeared in more than 10 minutes in a game since dropping a season high 23 points in 17 minutes off the bench against Orlando in late January.  Speezy wasn't exactly happy after the game.
  • This was, in my opinion, by far Iguodala's worst game since adopting more of the "point forward" role.  Yeah, he scored 7 points on 2-15 shooting against the Spurs, but his defense on Ginobili was a huge reason they won that game.  Iguodala struggled in all facets of the game tonight, scoring only 9 points on 7 shots, while having as many turnovers as assists.  Overall, Iguodala's averaging just 10.3 points on 22.3% shooting, with 5.7 assists and 3 turnovers in the past three games.
Overall, we knew this would be a tough game, with how well Memphis is playing (particularly at home), and them presenting a tough matchup.

Player of the game: Thaddeus Young
Next up: Tomorrow night, @Houston
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