11 March 2012
1) the "revamped" Sixers lost at Milwaukee 97-93, falling for the eighth time in the last ten games (22-17, .564). We are now 2-8 in games decided by five points or less. This started as an "issue", then was upgraded to "serious problem", now has reached "nightmare" status, and we wil see why.
2) Elton Brand's inability to finish and overall poor production is more than alarming, and this is hurting the team. Time to state that loud and clear.
3) Evan Turner, inserted into the starting line up for... desperation, I guess, given his latest subpar outings, had one of the worst displays of offensive basketball I've seen in many years, finishing with 1/12 shooting.
I have to elaborate now.
As for the first point, I'd say that one thing is losing a game when, say, Chris Paul hits a tough turnaround fadeway jumper from seventeen feet over Andre Iguodala, or when other great players make great plays down the stretch (for a pretty complete list you might want to check the post below this).
But when it's guys like Drew Gooden, Beno Udrih and Ersan Ilyasova (= two journeymen and a less than average NBA player) to make big plays on both ends of the floor in the final minute, while the best, and only, thing you can do is give the ball to Lou Williams and pray God, well you have a POOR COACHING problem. (more after the break)
Because yes, Lou was red hot and singlehandedly got the Sixers back into the game with one of his classic fourth quarter eruptions, but on the final possession we went with the usual "iso" play, that we saw not working so many times. To his credit, at least this time Lou took a decent shot, that simply didn't go in. Maybe, and I mean maybe, he could have dished to Young, that was moving to the basket, but hey, that's how it went, and I've seen worse solutions.
My question is: is it really so hard to DRAW A F'N PLAY to get an open look to another player? How about Jrue? Thad in the low post? Meeks? No way. Iso, missed shot, game lost.
Second. As much as we all love Elton Brand, his attitude, leadership (?), his being so professional, etc etc, he is NOT GETTING THE JOB DONE.
I know it's even impolite to be so hard on him, because he really gives 100% every night, and it's not like I am not realizing or appreciating it. But hey, let's face it, dude is averaging around 10 and 7 on 46% shooting, that is b-a-d for a big man, never plays in the paint, and when he gets there he either gets blocked, misses an easy shot or kicks the ball out on the perimeter.
Declining is ok at 33 y/o and with all the bad injuries Brand had, but now he seems to have lost ANOTHER step: his usually reliable mid range jumper has been off the mark too often for my taste this year. Yes, the defense is still solid, more or less, but it's crystal clear that we need more at the PF spot. Notice I am not bringing Brand's gigantic salary into this discussion. Maybe I should.
Evan Turner now. Excellent, and I mean excellent, rebounding. But the shooting was simply atrocious, with missed lauyps, easy shots and a couple of bad turnovers, such as a travel violation on a 3-vs-1 fastbreak after few minutes.
Let's be honest, Turner did NOTHING to deserve to start in the last games, but of course Collins' move is an attempt to try to shake things up after such a tough stretch. That is understandable, and I hope/think it won't be changed again after just one bad game.
(Vucevic started as well and his -21 in the +/- category, together with one def rebound in nearly 18 minutes of action, should suggest you that he was far from great this time)
Back to Turner: I've made a little reseacrh and he has an open streak of twelve straight games below 50% shooting. In this stretch he shot 21/85 (24%) and had only eight FT attempts in 257 minutes played (average of 21.4 min per game). I am aware that Turner does contribute in many other areas, I just hope we will not get another "Fat" Lever from a #2 overall pick (LOL).
Hey, maybe I'm being too pessimistic, but we lost to a Bucks team that rose to 15-23 (...) and was playing withouth Andrew Bogut.... do you see many reasons to smile?