11 January 2010
(Due to the usual "technical issues" to effin' Int'l League Pass broadband, I completely missed the 106-108 home loss vs the Raptors, that brought our record to 10-25, .285.
It was Sixers' ninth home loss in the last ten games, and fourth straight and we squandered a 60-49 first half lead...).
I did watch, end even enjoyed, the following 94-104 W at Detroit (11-25, .306), and I must say I was pleased by nearly everything Sixers did on Saturday.
I'll condense my thoughts in the sections that follow.
1) Yes, it looks like Sixers can play defense if they want. Before the game Stefanski talked to reporters and said that Sixers should "emphasize defense", that everything starts from there. Great. But read "Questions", also.
Speaking of "D in the D", I liked what detroiter Willie Green did against Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon, I liked how Dalembert controlled the boards and finished under the rim, I liked how Iguodala took care of business vs Tayshaun Prince (that eventually got injured again) and Jonas Jerebko. Then again, it was the Pistons, reaching their 12th consecutive loss, and playing without Stuckey in the second half...
2) Yes, Eddie Jordan played some savvy lineups this time: without Iverson, sidelined by a bad knee, he went often with Iguodala at the two and Young, Brand and Dalembert. I hope we will see more of these in the upcomign games.
3) No, the 10 man rotation didn't last long: Jordan used basically 7 and 1/2 players: Marreese Speights didn't play at all in the second half, because Sam and Brand were doing well vs the smaller Pistons. It made sense, though.
1) If the emphasis should be on defense, how come that Stefanski hired an offensive minded coach, with a HORRIBLE track record as for defense? Just asking....
2) How good is to score 16 points on only six shots? I think Iguodala played extremely well on both ends, letting the game come to him, never forcing a shot. He was perfectly in control, he showed maturiry and leaderhip last night, leading the team.
3) Would this be a good time to trade Dalembert? I think so. He's playing well and some teams that have concrete, realistic goals for this year (title/playoffs) are in desperate need of a big man, for many reasons: think Houston, but also Portland, or Denver. Maybe we have a good chance to ship Sam and get back... well, everything that might be useful: some expiring contracts, young players, picks.
Sixers could fill the hole in the middle next season, getting a defensive minded big man that can rebound and block shots: basically another Dalembert, with a lighter contract, and, possibly, a higher basketball IQ. In this sense, it will be difficult to do worse.
I would be ok with a Brandan Haywood-Kendrick Perkins type of player there.
Why we won the game
Detroit is struggling, to put it nicely, and we showed we can play in our halfcourt. First time in 36 games or so. Brand dominated Pistons' big men all night (see the pic), and Jrue Holiday hit what was actually the game winner, a three pointer off a kick out by Brand that put the game out of reach for the undermanned Pistons (75-89, 5.45)
To be optimistic
Well, it was perhaps the best defensive game of the year for us, and the way we came out of the locker room, building a 26 point halftime lead in the second night of a back-to-back was an appreciated sign definitely.
To be worried
This year we always followed good games like this with horrible or "just" disappointing ones, so I hope that tonight against the Hornets we will watch a focused Sixers team playing with the same great intensity and team attitude.
As usual I have low standards, so that would be enough, I'm not even talking about a W....
Schedule that will take Sixers to the 41-game mark, which means half of the season, looks "doable": New Orleans, New York, Sacramento, @Minnesota, Portland. Is it too much to ask for four wins?
It would mean finishing at 15-26, with a projection of 30-52 record at the end (uhm, not sure I actually like this, LOL).