– This is the best I could do for highlights right here on the site.
Think of this as a review of the last post, 3 things to watch for. I’m expecting everyone who reads this to have seen the game and have read a review of it. If not, well, read these:
Game Recap (via philly.com)
Box Score (via ESPN)
Back to the review, I listed three keys to the game before the game started, and now afterward I’ll go over those three points plus the actual keys to the game.
1. Lou and Andre needing to play and play well. First comes the good. Lou looked rusty, especially early, but 2 of his 3 made field goals were bail-out shots, which the rest of the roster struggles to make. Iguodala played great defensively against LeBron for most of the game – LeBron shot 4-14 from the floor and never tried to go at Iguodala in the half-court game unless necessary.
Now comes the bad. Lou shot 3-10 overall and only shot 2 free throws. Lou needs to get to the line more for the Sixers to make a dent in the Heat.* Andre took only 7 shots, looking very reluctant to shoot, and had 4 turnovers. Of his 7 shots taken, 2 were jump shots down the stretch. Granted, the second was unavoidable, but that’s not what we want, right?
*While Doug Collins complained about the refs all night, the free throw difference wasn’t that extreme given the Sixers’ strategy – they fouled if they got beat defensively. The Sixers didn’t press the issue enough, forcing Miami to foul them. It was pointed out during the ABC broadcast – the Sixers were hesitant to force contact on fast breaks, which led to a few missed layups, maybe turning the game in Miami’s favor.
2. Spencer Hawes. Yeah, I missed the boat. If he played more, Hawes may have had an impact, especially in the first half. But he got into foul trouble, made a couple of nice plays, and was ineffective otherwise. The Sixers were more effective with the ever-popular Thaddeus Young on the floor than Hawes, and Spencer may not see much more playing time for the rest of the series.
3. Defending Wade. The Sixers actually did a great job defending Wade for the first 45 minutes. He got into foul trouble, which helped immensely, and didn’t shoot much at all from the floor. But he killed the Sixers in the last 3 minutes, when, of all people, Andre Iguodala was covering him. On the surface, this was a stroke of genius from Collins, since the Heat pretty much let everyone know beforehand that Wade would get the ball down the stretch. So with Andre covering him, the Heat would struggle, right? Well, no, he actually burned us. Andre made a key mistake which led to the kicking-foul that got Wade an and-1. As described by NBAPlaybook.com’s Sixers-Heat preview, Wade “rejects” the screen more than anyone in the NBA. That is, a pick is set but he moves in the opposite direction. Andre played behind the screener, which led to Wade getting an open drive to the rim, until Young fouled him.
So, overall the Sixers did okay but not great in these three factors. Doing well here may have given the Sixers the game. Regardless, they played tough basketball and made Miami work much, much harder than they wanted to. And they have a puncher’s chance for the rest of the series.