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Hornets hang on to beat Sixers, 84-77

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The Sixers ended their 8 game road trip on tired legs, falling 84-77 to the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans arena.  

Playing the 4th consecutive game without Andre Iguodala and the 8th and final game on their season long 8 game road trip, the 76ers stalled offensively through most of the second and third quarters.  After going ahead 40-31 with 3:27 left i the second quarter, the Sixers went into a massive offensive funk they could never recover from.  They would score only 11 points over the next 12 minutes, as the Hornets stretched a 9 point deficit into a 9 point lead.  

An ill-fated late run -- capped by a Jason Kapono designed dribble drive that predictably ended up in a turnover -- pulled the Sixers to within three with 39 seconds remaining after having been down 11 earlier in the 4th.  Sloppy play down the stretch doomed the Sixers, as they inexplicably tried to lean on Jason Kapono, who had not seen the court in 20 of the previous 21 games and hadn't scored a point in nearly 2 months.

Ultimately, it was the guard play that held the Sixers back.  Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Evan Turner and Louis Williams combined to score 23 points on 44 shots in one of the most inefficient and ineffective performances you'll ever see from the group.  The Hornets are good defensively (6th in the league), but not that good.  The Sixers legs looked tired during the middle period, settling for long jumpers while getting to the line only 14 times.  The free throw rate of 13.6% was one of the worst of the season and well below their season average of 22.6%.  A mark, amazingly, bested the previous game against the Lakers at 13.6%.

 

  • Holiday's foul trouble once again came back to haunt him, and once again it was unnecessary fouls that did him in.  With a guy like Chris Paul, it makes it all the more important to not take needless fouls, and Holiday needing to be removed at the end of the 2nd quarter changed the complexion of the game.
  • I thought Turner got good looks, but couldn't make a thing from range with the exception of the 26 foot eerily reminiscent prayer.  
  • Jodie Meeks scored one (1) point in over 19 minutes of action.  He's averaging 3 points per game over his last three games, all starts, and 8.1 points on 27% shooting over his last 10.  Time for the experiment to stop and Meeks to return to his more natural role?  Me thinks.  
  • Nocioni had his third consecutive quality start (sorry, had to get a baseball reference in there.  40 days until pitchers and catchers), particularly in the first quarter, where he scored 10 points.
  • I thought Marreese Speights played well today, getting the surprise start game played.  .  And by that, I thought Speights played about as well of a Speights game as you could expect.  He hit his shots, at least.
  • The Hornets ended the second quarter on a 12-0 run.  They ended the third on a 12-7 run.  Ballgame.  
Player of the Game: Elton Brand.  And it's not even close.  And it's not like Brand was superb, but "good" on this game takes the award running away.
Next Up: Washington on Wednesday, at home!

At The Hive