Wow. I have mixed feelings about this game. I just finished watching the recorded version (apparently it wasn't blacked out) with one of my good friends, who so happens to be a Lakers fan. There's nothing like talking up players like Marreese Speights, saying things like, "Watch, you'll see, he's something special." I am now going to live that down until the rematch in Staples. Marreese backed me up with a scoreless five minutes and four personal fouls game. Thanks Mo.
As for the game, I thought the Sixers played very well as team, much better than I expected. The Andre's carried the them, but it wasn't enough to beat a very, very good Laker team. Iguodala built on his season-best performance with his second straight 19+ point game. His jumpshot is looking smoother and he's starting to get to the rim like he used to. I really think the minutes he's getting at small forward have been beneficial. As for the other Andre, Andre Miller played an outstanding game. I usually don't have many nice things about Miller, but tonight, he was by far the Sixers best player. He was an efficient 11-21 from the floor, scoring 26 points. He also has eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and only one turnover. He played his best game of the season and I was very pleased with what I saw.
Besides the Andre's play, the Sixers also cut down on their turnovers, committing only 12 and shot a solid 48% from the floor. The bottom line is, the Lakers are a much better team, and they proved it tonight. Besides the fact that Elton Brand looked more like Reggie Evans than Elton Brand out there tonight, which I'll get to in a second, I thought the Sixers played outstanding (Ok, not outstanding, but better that they've played all year against a good team) basketball. The problem is, they still lost by 12 points. Kobe Bryant was ridiculous. I can't put in to words how good he was tonight. Every time the Sixers would make a run Kobe would answer. The crowd said it best at the end when they chanted "M-V-P".
Another observation I made about the game in general is the fact that it was horribly officiated. I usually don't complain about the refs, but I think this was a poorly officiated games, for both teams.
On to Elton Brand. My God. He looked like a boy among men tonight. His line of three points and five rebounds is not why Stefanski paid him the big bucks. I'll just chalk it up as a bad night for EB, but I sure hope he shows a little more in future games against contenders like the Lakers. My friend, who I watched the game with actually has him on his fantasy team. He was disgusted, to say the least.
Before writing this recap I looked at the box score for the first time and I was shocked to see that Thaddeus had 17-8. During the game, there were a couple of plays were I found myself saying, "Thaddeus! What are you doing?" I don't know if it was like that for anybody else, but his 17 points didn't seem like a meaningful 17 points. And here's a random observation on Thad, he reminds me a lot of Lamar Odom. I think that's his ceiling, a rich man's Lamar Odom.
Lou, Ivey and Green pretty much sucked. The game completely changed when Andre Miller was spelled by one of these guys. Lou is not a point guard, the real Royal Ivey showed himself tonight and Willie Green is still Willie Green. Lou dropped 15 in the fourth quarter, very reminiscent to last year, but that was with Andre Miller at the point and Iggy at the three. I'm very intrigued to see a Lou-Thad switch in the starting lineup. Thaddeus wouldn't be getting demoted, but it would allow both Lou and Iggy to play at their natural positions.
As for the Speights-Dalembert lineup switch, not so fast my friend. Dalembert played a very solid game tonight, nothing spectacular, but solid and Speights didn't look good at all. Either the team rolls with the vets like Miller and Dalembert or goes the other direction and trades one, the other, or both. As of right now, Speights isn't ready. I'll admit, tonight I jumped off the "Bench Sam, start Speights" bandwagon an I'm going to stay off for the time being.
I'm not sure why Theo was playing though. I'd much rather see Speights or even Evans over him. The team was -18 with him on the court.
Overall, I'm happy with the Sixers effort and performance tonight. The Lakers are legitimate championship contenders. The Sixers aren't, at least not yet. Tonight's game was a building block. Normally that's not the case after a home loss, but besides Elton Brand's suckfest, the Sixers played well. They even played some solid defense. Some of the shots the Lakers made were indefensible, especially Kobe's.
Player of the Game: Andre Miller
Favorite Open Thread Comment: "i watched the interview during DNL today and he mentioned the fact that he likes to plan. He said that he has a plan if the team keeps under-performing and he has a plan if they start to roll. He did say that he has not yet decided after how many games he should pull the trigger if the team is still under-performing. I also like how he says he is also a fan. It seems like too many execs today aren’t really fans of the team, they just work for them."-Ben16