For the second consecutive game, the Sixers saw a solid offensive effort wasted away by uncharacteristically poor defense.
The Sixers perimeter rotations were particularly slow and sluggish, including the typically stout defense of Andre Iguodala. Iguodala helped far too much off of Danny Granger and was slow to recover, allowing Granger to go 6-8 from downtown for his 24 points. Combine that with giving up 16 offensive rebounds to the Pacers and the Sixers were doomed, once again giving up an offensive rating of over 100 to their opponent. That's the 8th time their opponent has reached that mark in the last 11 games. Opponents failed to reach a 100 offensvie rating in 17 of the Sixers first 24 games.
This is the kind of game that could easily be ignored if it was played in a vacuum. Playing on the second night of a back to back after traveling and against a hot team, it's easy to explain away tired legs, which is what the Sixers defense looked to me last night.
But this game isn't in a vacuum. They've now lost 8 of their last 11 games, 10 of their last 15, and have gone 11-21 since starting the season 20-9. With the Knicks win they now are a full game back of New York for the 7th seed, and only 1.5 games ahead of the Bucks for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Bucks now control their own destiny. If the Bucks win out, and the Sixers win every game except the game the two teams play together, the Bucks will make the playoffs due to the tiebreaker.
Of course, that also means the Sixers also control their own destiny, as beating the Bucks makes it impossible for the Bucks to win at. But, at this point in the season, does anybody believe the Sixers are in control of anything?
This season is about to go nuclear. Not that I'm saying that's necessarily a bad thing.
I'm a little bit worn down on writing about this mess, so excuse me while I take the lazy route and go all bullet-pointy on you guys.
- Part of the Sixers offense was based around unsustainable shooting, particularly from Iguodala, but htey also got good looks last night. 20 shots at the rim, 12 shots from 3-9 feet, and 32 free throw attempts.
- Iguodala had his first 20 point game since January 16th against Milwaukee. For as bad as he played defensively, he was very good offensively, contributing 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
- Following the "good offensively, bad defensively" them was Thaddeus Young (19 points on 7-10 from the field) and Louis Williams (18 points on 14 shots, getting to the line 8 times). Neither defended a lick. Thad tried, but he was caught losing track of his man way too often.
- Removing the "good offensively" from the equation brings us to Spencer Hawes. Sure, he scored 12 points on 10 shots, but he wasn't all that ball friendly tonight with 5 turnovers. He also did a horrible job of denying Hibbert position early in the shot clock, and Hibbert spent the night deep in the paint when being guarded by Haws.
- Meeks played just short of 20 minutes tonight, a vast improvement over the 30 he played the prior night. Meeks hadn't played less than 20 minutes since returning to the starting lineup, and that was only the second time he's done so since March 23rd.
- Not that it helped Turner, who looked completely out of sorts with the offense, taking only 3 field goal attempts and failing to score a point in over 27 minutes of play. He looked fairly active in the other aspects of the game, though.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CAN WE PLEASE STOP WITH THE LOUIS WILLIAMS CONTESTED FADE-AWAY THREE'S TO WIN GAMES STUFF.