Let's go back to Tuesday night, if you'll indulge me. The Sixers had just beaten at the Lakers - AT Staples Center in LA. Young leaders Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner played well. The front court, which has been horrible this year, actually played OK. Spencer Hawes nor Kwame Brown spontaneously combusted. Winning that game set up the Sixers to get another victory the following night in a winnable game against the weaker Phoenix Suns. That would provide a nice little 2 game winning streak before heading into another tough back-to-back series against the Thunder (Friday) and the Spurs (Saturday) to conclude the 8 game road trip. Things were looking up, even if just a little.
Enter tonight's game against the Suns. Now, these certainly aren't the "05-05 muscular Phoenix Suns" [sic]. No, not even close. These are the Phoenix Suns who were 11-21 and struggling with a 6 game losing streak entering this game. They are not a good team. But that didn't stop them from beating the Sixers tonight, who are also a bad team at times. And that's part of what the Sixers are: an inconsistent team. A team that one night beats the Lakers on the road only to lose to the [expletive deleted] Phoenix Suns the next night.
Maybe the Sixers deserve a little slack. I discussed in the game preview that this game was a trap game for the Sixers, and sure enough, it was. Entering this game, the Sixers were 2-7 in second games of back-to-backs. With this loss, now they're 2-8. Clearly they struggle in these type of situations.
It really showed, because the Sixers looked tired and terrible tonight. Not everything should be blamed on a lack of rest, though. The typical frustrations were apparent: long 2s, overly conservative offense, largely unsuccessful isolation plays, not attacking the basket and drawing contact to get to the FT line, etc. These things happen even when they are rested. This is the bad side of the inconsistent Sixers.
The first half featured a lot of back and forth action and ended with the Sixers up 1. The Suns came out of the half strong, however, and took a lead that they never looked back from, despite the Sixers effort to keep it close until the end. It was just an ugly, frustrating performance.
Tonight's opportunity appeared as an oasis but it turned out only to be a desert mirage. The Sixers looked like a tumbleweed rolling around randomly without direction in the sand. The pain after this game felt like sitting on a cactus. Alright, you get the point.
- Jrue Holiday posted a ("pathetic") triple-double (pts-ast-rebs). He didn't really play as great though, so I'll get to him more later. One thing I'm noticing more and more with Jrue is that he follows his own shot well when he's near the rim. Leads to high percentage baskets on second chances. Good work.
- Thaddeus Young did Thad things and put up 14 pts on 10 shots along with 10 rebounds.
- Dorell Wright had 14 pts on 9 shots off the bench.
- No one spontaneously combusted (yet).
- Suns PG Goran Dragic put in a good effort for his team with 20 pts on 13 shots (9 FTA) and 6 assists. I thought he played great defense on Jrue, too, which is surprising because Jrue really went off on him the last time these two teams met in November. Jrue also did a good job of playing defense that night. Role reversal!
- The defense. Slow rotations (slowtations) leading to wide open shots, players driving wide open on the baseline, no interior presence... you name it. It was bad.
- Luis Scola also played well for the Suns also 21 pts on 14 shots (8 FTA) and 9 assists. But he did it in the most annoying fashion, so it's going here in "The Bad". (OK, so maybe I'm biased.) Unfortunately, I predicted that he would annoy everyone in the preview and sure enough he did.
- Jrue Holiday put up some decent numbers but he didn't play well for the entire game. He really could have played better on both sides of the ball.
- Evan Turner had 13 points, but on 16 shots, 2 rebs, 1 ast, 3 TO, and 2 BA. Not the best night for him.
- Spencer Hawes was 3-11 with 6 points. He's pretty terrible.
- Sixers not getting to the FT line enough. Hey, what's new, right? In the last Sixers-Suns game the Sixers got to the line 23 times. Tonight they only got there 12 times.
- Tough back-to-back against OKC and SA coming up. Sixers will be lucky to get 1 win out of those.
- Still annoyed by Luis Scola.
- Fan frustration with this loss is apparent.
- DNP: Kwame Brown, Maalik Wayns, Damien Wilkins
- Complete 76ers vs Suns coverage
- Phoenix perspective - Bright Side Of The Sun
Next: @ Oklahoma City Thunder, 8:00 PM EST.
Player of the Game: ANDREW BYNUM PLEASE COME BACK