Each sport has a unique kind of frustration behind each loss. Football frustration goes right to your biceps. Baseball frustration stays in your hands. Hockey frustration camps out in your eyes. But basketball frustration is the worst of them all. It sits right in your chest. Festering like a virus. Crawling through your bloodstream and into your appendages. It gets in your mouth, you taste it. And there's nothing you can do. When the Heat jumped out to an early lead on the Sixers, it nested. Then it grew at halftime and expanded over the third quarter until it was incorrigible.
Let's simplify this.
Bad List Good List
Elton Brand Evan Turner
Andre Iguodala Lemonade
Doug Collins "It's like a super soaker!"
ESPN - this.
For as much actual analysis as I can muster for a game like this, hit the jump.
Thad missed everything. Turner wasn't on the court. Brand looked old. Iguodala looked hurt. Jrue seemed hesitant. Hawes appeared handless. Speights was disappointing. Lou was himself. Tony Battie was...playing. Absolutely everyone is to blame tonight. Pick your scapegoat, but there's a laundry list of people that are just as at fault as the one you pick. LeBron James scored as many points (29) as the entire Sixers starting five. That's all you need to know.
Miami did what they had to do. They won both games at home against a significantly worse Sixers team. Game One was close. Game Two was not. Not for a second. From the tip to the horn, the Heat outplayed, out-hustled, out-manned, and outclassed them at home. They protected their home court advantage. Could the Sixers give it right back to them in games three and four? Logic and neatness dictates that it's possible. But if you watched even a minute of this putrid stank game, you're not optimistic.
For the greater part of the game, the Sixers shot under 30% from the field. Joel Anthony gave Thad fits all game, but the Sixers best player in Game One kept shooting. He kept attacking, but without a few easy and highly meaningless 4th quarter buckets, he'd have shot 3-14 for the game. With Lou playing like a stale chicken breast, Doug needs Thad to lead the bench to an advantage over Miami's reserves. Tonight, playing a lot of probably ill-advised minutes at the center position, Young could do absolutely nothing.
If you're not worried about Andre, I don't really know when that switch gets flipped for you. 4-15 shooting and 9 turnovers in two games. He did a nice job on Dwyane Wade for a good chunk of the game, holding him to 4-11 shooting and just 7 trips to the foul line. But he's not Shane Battier or Bruce Bowen -- we (not "we") are paying him to play a bit of offense also, and aside from a few nice passes, he's been completely miserable.
The lack of an actual big man is murdering this team. This idea needs its own post so stay tuned over the next couple of days.
What was Doug Collins thinking in keeping Turner out of the third quarter after he was hands down the team's best (only) offensive weapon in the first half? And why run Thad and Andre as frontcourt mates for the first time in ever? Rotation questions like these are the biggest problem I have with Doug as a coach. He stuck to his word and didn't play Andres Nocioni but really the team played bad enough that he may as well have held everybody out of the game and seen what happened. A shellacking is a shellacking. He got T'd up at the end just for funsies.
Nothing we can do about this but suck it up and regroup for Thursday at home. In the meantime, stay off the ledge. This team wasn't as good as you thought they were to begin with. Check out the general malaise at Peninsula is Mightier where they're sipping their mojitos and waiting for round two to start.