Brandon Jennings 33 helps Bucks down Sixers

I just want to start this post off with two images.

First, check out the Sixers players positioning when Louis Williams started his final shot:

Lou-start_medium

Here are the Sixers players positioning when he finally attempted the shot:

Lou-end_medium

Jodie and Iguodala pinched up a little bit, but only because Lou got himself trapped by Brandon Jennings defense and very nearly lost the ball. Thaddeus Young also came up as an outlet valve but returned to his original location.

Three incredible bad things about these photos:

  1. Nobody moved. Nobody. 15 solid seconds of Lou dribbling at the top of the key. A team based on screens and cuts allows 4 defenders to stand around and take the play off.
  2. Outside of Thad, nobody is even in position to shoot. They're all standing round, hands to their side. They're essentially not even in the play.
  3. Thad was actually very open. With enough time left on the shot clock for Lou to make the pass. Somehow, this one big entire mess of a play actually worked, but Lou either didn't see it or didn't care.
*sigh*

I'm not really sure what to say. Two weeks ago when the Sixers lost to the Grizzlies, I slept and wrote the recap in the morning, and it allowed me a slightly different perspective than had I written it immediately following the game. No such luck on this one. This was a game they should have won against a team they should have beaten that was playing poorly. There was so much negative in this game it's hard to take out anything positive.

  • The end of game struggles will get all the headlines, but the Sixers lost this game in the third quarter. After going up 8 with 6 and change to play, the Bucks went on a 14-4 run to end the third, then scored the first 6 in the 4th. The Sixers were playing up hill from there on out, and never did re-take the lead.
  • Jrue Holiday and Elton Brand were terrible on D. Jrue made just about every mistake imaginable. Going over screens when he should have gone under, not picking Jennings up in transition, not getting his hands up on jumpers, losing Jennings off the ball. Really bad showing by Jrue tonight in all aspects, which was interesting considering how much Jrue has dominated Jennings in past matchups.
  • Jodie Meeks made 3 three's and scored 13 points in his first game off the bench, but I'm willing to bet it was coincidental. I'd be surprised if this starting lineup sticks, and equally surprised if this is any kind of catalyst that gets Jodie out of his slump.
  • The two new starters were terrible. Turner shot 1-12 and didn't play particularly good defense. Nikola Vucevic was beaten every chance he could be by Drew Gooden and grabbed 1 defensive rebounding in 17+ minutes.
  • That being said, I'd continue to try it. What do the Sixers gain by reverting back to Jodie/Lavoy? Both of those players had ample chances to play well and have been struggling for a while. Might as well see if Turner/Vucevic can play their way into a comfort level.
  • The Sixers actually shot 27 shots at the rim and attempted 23 free throws. The Sixers have only attempted more than 27 field goals at the rim twice this year (28 in a win against Cleveland in what feels like eons ago, and 30 in a win against Atlanta).
  • To Lou's credit, he was fantastic in the 4th, and very nearly gave them a chance to win a game they had no business winning. But the last 2 possessions were horrible.
Overall, the team looked tired. They're 3-8 in their last 11 games, but things are not as bad as they appear, just like they weren't as good as they appeared earlier in the year. The Sixers have actually outscored their opponents (89.8 to 89.5) over the last 11 games. Eventually, a ball will bounce their way.

In short, they are who we thought they were, even if we allowed ourselves to hope for better when the year started.
Player of the game: Louis Williams
Next up: Wednesday, at home against Boston
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