It seems like afternoon games are always weird.
After beating the Kings handily only a week ago, Paul Westphal's bunch was much less agreeable today. Armed with franchise player Tyreke Evans, the Kings bounced back from an early deficit to pull within 5 points at halftime. They'd go on to zoom ahead in the third with a huge quarter out of Hornets castoff Marcus Thornton and force the Sixers into a tough spot with time running out in regulation.
Thornton had just hit a three to tie the game. Then the Sixers went to Andre Iguodala for a few straight isolation plays, despite the fact that Jrue Holiday was completely on fire in the fourth quarter. Iguodala came up short and a drive by Thornton put him at the line, where he sank both free throws. Andre got another chance down two and got fouled himself, where he would hit only one of two foul shots. After Beno Udrih calmly knocked down both of his bunnies to put the Kings up 3, Doug Collins put Louis Williams in, who was 0-8 from the field at the time. Andre passed the ball into Spencer Hawes, who caught it with 4 seconds left and went right to Lou, who crossed midcourt, got away from Samuel Dalembert, and hit a 27-footer to send Marc Zumoff into a frenzy and the Sixers into overtime. Eric Snow went on to commend Lou for being a scorer, because when you're a scorer it doesn't matter how many shots you've missed, you have to always think you'll make the next one.
In overtime, Lou would go on to miss three more shots, making him an even 1-12 for the day and despite a few big shots by Jrue and Jodie Meeks, the Sixers came 3 points short of the win. They drop to just one game over .500 and head to Chicago tomorrow to face the East-leading Bulls.
Analysis, video, and haterade after the jump.
- I'm not gonna go too hard into the Lou situation right now, because it deserves its own post (and it'll get one), but it should be noted that in 14 minutes of game play, Lou was 1-12 with 5 points, 3 turnovers, no assists, and 4 fouls. That's good for a usage rate of 52%. Yes, the shot at the end was huge, but he had one of the worst games I've ever seen out of a professional basketball player. We'll dig deeper on that later.
- Jrue Holiday was completely money tonight. His jump shot was wet, his ball-handling was wet, my pants were wet. Those are all good things. Jrue dominated Udrih, Thornton and Evans for 28 points on 19 shots, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. He hit his foul shots, limited turnovers, and controlled tempo all game long. In the extra frame, he got a little too jumper-happy and would have been better off taking the ball to the basket against the stretched out Kings defense. Really pleased with how he looked today.
- The decision to go away from Holiday in the last few moments is one that makes me question a lot of Collins' philosophies. As Tanner reported on Twitter, Doug went on record as saying that regardless of the situation, the ball is going to be in Iguodala's hands at the end of the game. Iguodala is still our best all-around player. But seeing as he's injured, seeing as he doesn't excel at creating for himself, and seeing that Jrue Holiday was feeling it at the time, there's no reason why they had to go to Iguodala isolation plays that take the rhythm out of the offense and usually come up short. If he stayed with what was working, Lou may not have needed to will that shot in.
- It's criminal of me to go this long without mentioning the rebounding deficiencies of this team. Only a few days ago, Derek cited team statistics about being top 10 in defense and rebounding in regards to my article about the Sixers somehow being just a few games away from clinching. Rebounding was the primary reason they lost to the Heat, and definitely a huge factor in today's loss. Bolstered by 19 rebounds from old friend Sammy D, the Kings outclassed and outglassed the Sixers 58-36 in rebounding totals. That is hideous. It's a miracle that it was even close when you consider that deficit. While Spencer Hawes and Jrue Holiday did well getting to boards, Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, and Jodie Meeks were miserable. Failing to box out, failing to run down loose balls, and just a general malaise for the better part of the game caused the four of them to combine for just 7 rebounds. Meanwhile, five Kings players got at least 7 boards, including guards Thornton and Udrih. Inexcusable.
- It was brought up a bunch of times in the thread, but how good was Hawes today? Aside from an ill-advised corner three that came up wayyyy short, Spencer played terrifically on both ends of the court, scoring 16 points on 11 shots, a defensive rebounding percentage of 34.2%, and held the guy many people think the Sixers should have drafted, DeMarcus Cousins, to just 12 points on a terribly inefficient 5-17 shooting. Really nice game from Spencer -- his game has been getting better each month.
- Evan Turner played 20 minutes. He was just okay. At least he didn't get Andres Nocioni'd out of playing time.
- Meeks hit a bunch of huge shots but didn't do anything else. If he's a 6th man, that's okay because he's not really a liability (Lou), but since he's starting and playing 39 minutes it is disgusting that he went the entire game without a rebound, steal or block, and only one assist. Gotta give me more accouterments, Jodie.
- VCU just beat Kansas. That's insane.
- The bench in general played miserably, shooting 4-26 from the field with just 6 rebounds in 59 minutes. Thaddeus Young had his worst game of the season. Nothing was falling for him and he was nowhere near defending Jason Thompson.
- It deserves repeating: Marcus Thornton was a complete stud tonight. 32 of the most ballsiest points I've seen this season. Kid can play.
- Marreese Speights did not play for the 4th straight game, and 16th this season. This streak of DNP-CD's is the most this year. Question: If Lou can play because of his offense and despite his "defense", why can't Mo get the same treatment? Especially considering Mo is a pretty good rebounder.
- Check out the terrific Sactown Royalty for a less anti-Lou perspective.
Here's your Lou video via outsidetheNBA. It's not him rapping, I promise.
Let's see what they can do against the best team in the East after losing to one of the worst in the West. It's certainly a setback. As of this writing, Boston is a half-game up on Miami and both teams are in action tonight (Bos @ Minnesota, Mia vs. Houston). Keep up with your scoreboards, folks. The magic number remains at 3.
Brush yourselves off and let's do it again tomorrow.