The Sixers lost. Stop me if you've heard that before. At this point, we'd have the breaking news banner up and throw parades with all of Adam Aron's confetti if we ever get a win.
The Nets came to town and beat the 76ers 99-91. The Nets, a team known for its age, salaries, and lack of entertaining basketball, dominated early and leading by 20 as the Sixers could not get out of their own way. However, the Sixers made a comeback, eventually taking a two point lead, before coughing it away yet again. Here are some of the stories.
The teams combined for 44 turnovers (24 BKN, 20 PHI) and neither was great at taking care of the ball. The Sixers started with three turnovers in three possessions, good for a 100% turnover rate through that point in the game. Not great, Bob.
Evidenced by the larger number, Brooklyn had more turnover issues than Philadelphia. The Sixers' length and athleticism at times overwhelmed the Nets. Additionally, the Sixers pushed the tempo relentlessly and turned it into a disjointed shell of an organized basketball game. It takes skill and nuance and craft to succeed in an organized game, and the Sixers have the least skill, nuance, and craft in the NBA. I think it's tracked by SportVu.
The faster, less-organized game really suited the Sixers, and Brooklyn played into it.
Three Point Shooting
The Nets did not respect the Sixers' shooting. The team ultimately shot 9-24 on threes, powered by Hollis Thompson's 4-6 performance. The Nets sagged off shooters as a strategy, opting to clog the paint. The paint clogging worked - Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams combined to miss 20 shots, most of those near the paint.
I couldn't count on one hand how many times the Nets guards went over screens, because in order to count on your fingers you must start with one, and I wouldn't make it that far. Typically, when guards are good shooters, defenders will chase them around screens, so as to prevent pull-up jumpers. The Nets did the opposite, as they did not fear the results of the strategy. Really, the only potentially threatening Sixer in that regard is Alexey Shved, who did not play.
The Sixers entered Wednesday's game shooting under 28% on pull-up shots, so the Nets decided they would allow the Sixers to shoot them. It's a smart, common strategy. Missing u, Pierre Jackson.
The Starting Lineup
Along with the disastrous start, iterations of the starting five appeared throughout the game and all felt unsuccessful. The parts of the starting five that don't exactly flow - the dual bigs of Nerlens Noel and Henry Sims and the "point guards" - haven't been working. As Derek explained yesterday, Brown is willing to give the pairs time, with the hope that eventually their problems will correct. It works directly against winning now, however, and tonight's performances mirrored what we've seen so far from the duos, with no progress being shown.
Brown moved away from the dual point guards more in the second half, opting to play K.J. McDaniels for 20 of the 24 second half minutes alongside either MCW or (primarily) Wroten. At this point, while I'd prefer if Luc Mbah a Moute weren't starting, K.J. should be playing at least 30 minutes a night. He's ready to play now. If you start them together and temporarily abandon the fruitless guard combination, I'd be okay with that as well.
Wroten isn't a point guard, by the way. As exhilarating as he is, and as crazy as his pass attempts can be, he doesn't have the court vision or the sense of responsibility it takes to be an NBA point guard. I'm legitimately scared whenever he is in position to make a crucial decision, which is about the worst trait a point guard can have. He's a killer third guard, though.
On a positive note, Brandon Davies was delightful. He did it all, like Monta Ellis did but without comparing himself to Dwyane Wade. Davies plays hard all the time, but tonight was something else. He pinballed off every other person on the court, crashed onto the floor on four occasions in 21 minutes, and got up while bleeding and gasping for air. A devil-may-care attitude can only last so long before injuries happen. A unfortunate landing on a photographer, or a competitor's foot, could derail his relatively strong season.
Regardless, he played with such energy and heart that you couldn't help but feel he was the heart of this sad, sad excuse for an NBA team. Maybe Brandon Davies was always destined for this?
The next game is Saturday, home against the Mavericks. Let's not remember what happened last time against them, okay?