Tipping off minutes after one of the craziest college football games of the year, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls found themselves playing the anti-thesis of a fun, crazy, or exciting game in a 93-88 defeat for the Sixers.
The 76ers jumped off to an early lead in the first half, but a 9-0 Chicago run in the first half put the Bulls on top by 3 at the end of the quarter. The Sixers would find themselves victimized in the first half by poor shot selection. Long twos are not a recipe for success in the NBA and early on, the Sixers were pretty much married to them. This poor shot selection helped contribute to a 6-point 2nd quarter Bulls lead. Seriously. If I see a Sixers long two again, it will be too soon.
But somehow, thanks in part to a lovely Thaddeus Young block that helped set up a Dorell Wright three, the Sixers remained in the game in the first half despite playing some ugly, ugly basketball. In fact, despite living by the long two and largely ignoring the three point shot and shots at the rim, the Sixers and Bulls went into the half tied at 41.
The second half was much more of the same. Sixers take bad shots, Hawes sucks up the joint (more on him in a moment), everyone sucking, Bulls sucking, periodic Kirk Hinrich moment of doing something not awful, etc.
Despite every bit of awfulness possible, the Sixers were still in it. Thanks to a savvy tip in from Thaddeus Young after a missed free throw to cut the Bulls lead to three with 20 seconds left, the Sixers found themselves with a chance. But thanks to the Sixers' frontcourt not being able to capitalize on a rare Rip Hamilton missed free throw, the game was settled when the Bulls got the rebound, and the Bulls held on for the win.
Despite a rough go of it tonight, Evan Turner's developing jump shot has been an amazing revelation. Seriously. Go back and watch Turner's first quarter jump shot with Luol Deng in his face. Go on. This recap will still be here when you return in a few hours. On the whole, it was not a great shooting night for Turner, but he had seven assists with only one turnover. Not all bad.
Jrue Holiday had himself a decent game with a few slick plays and 23 points on 9-17 shooting. This was certainly much more improved than last time the Sixers played the back end of a back-to-back with travel in between when he was invisible against the Chicago Bulls. This certainly was not his best game, but it was not his worst either, and compared to some of the others around him, Jrue stood out for good reasons.
Thad Young had a solid defensive game, but he was pretty lacking on the offensive end today. He has someone who has been an overall bright side in the lackluster Sixers frontcourt, but today was not a banner day for him, though Thad at least had his moments.
Spencer Hawes, on the otherhand, was flat out awful. From poor shot selection to painful defense, Hawes was terrible even for him. He ended the game with 6 points on 2-7 shooting in 22 minutes played. He contributed zero assists and had three turnovers. Hawes consistently shies away from contact like opposing players are the boogeyman and he is a scared little child crying for his Mommy. Hawes consistently refuses to attack the rim, instead opting his unreliable and inefficient long range two point shots. To be blunt, Hawes consistently sucks. Any positive he brings with his passing, he immediately wipes away by his porous defense, his inability to run the pick-and-roll, and his inability to set a remotely effective screen.
And yet, the worst part is not that Hawes sucks. Perhaps Hawes was brought back with the knowledge that trading for Andrew Bynum was a possibility. Sure, Hawes has no experience at the power forward position, but with Bynum, perhaps he could have made something of it. Perhaps there was never any real intention of starting a Kwame-Hawes frontcourt as was believed at the time of the Kwame signing. It would be unfair to unknowingly project this ignorance on the front office. The worst of Hawes is that he continues to see minutes while Arnett Moultrie continues to twiddle his thumbs on the bench. Through 17 games, Moultrie has played in only five of them and has played a grand total of 26 minutes thus far in the season. Lavoy Allen, Spencer Hawes, and Kwame Brown continue to see minutes while Moultrie sees nothing but Doug Collins's posterior. This is unacceptable. If Moultrie is not going to play, send him to Sioux Falls and the D-League yesterday.
Even when it was painfully, painfully obvious Hawes was not having a good game even by his own low standards, Collins continued to play him to the Sixers' detriment. Instead of experimenting with a raw rookie in Moultrie to try to change things up in a game where the Sixers as a whole were performing poorly, Collins stuck with Hawes and Allen. And the Sixers paid the price. And they deserved to lose this game.
For the Chicago perspective of tonight's game, check out Blog a Bull.