So the Sixers shouldn’t have lost this one. Let’s get into why they did.
- The Sixers had no answer for Derrick Favors inside. Spencer Hawes wasn’t strong or quick enough to handle him down low, and he showed an impressive mid-range jumper to go with the post play. When he’s not in foul trouble (which seems like every game except yesterday’s), he’s quite effective.
- I almost predicted Hawes’ tip-in fiasco – I mentioned during the last edition of game notes that Nikola Vucevic was the only big we had who had touch around the rim. He might’ve been able to tip that in. Though I wouldn’t want Vucevic in at that point in the game.
- Hawes had an up and down game. Offensively, there’s little he did wrong. Even his mistakes (like the attempted backdoor pass to Lou Williams and the tip) were nice ideas. He shot well from the perimeter, making all of his jumpers as well as a running hook. Whereas last season the offense performed markedly worse with him on the floor, this year he’s almost a centerpiece. But his defense was, well, bad. A common theme among the Sixers’ bigs is an inability to cover the pick and roll well. Sometimes, it’s the fault of the guards, who leave them on an island by taking the wrong routes on picks. But at other times, like on Gordon Hayward’s end-of-game curl, the Sixers bigs just don’t rotate to open shooters. And Hawes was very much guilty here.
- Andre Iguodala abused Gordon Hayward last year. Hayward got stronger, and that advantage melted away. He had a solid if unspectacular game, except for those free throws. He HAS to hit at least one when they have a chance to take the lead. Went 2-5 overall.
- I’ll take Lou Williams‘ look at the end of the game again. He usually finishes those. Normally I complain about the lack of a play, which wasn’t the case here. Lou had an open look, but failed to convert the shot. He also had an up and down game, waltzing to the line regularly but being more guilty than anyone on the lack of defensive effectiveness against the Jazz screens. He has an uncanny ability to get caught on screens he shouldn’t be defensively – he throws himself into some of them for absolutely no reason.
- Without Lou, though, the Sixers offense would’ve been sunk.
- The point guard match was a wash – Jrue Holiday and Devin Harris failed to get teammates involved consistently, neither defended the other well, and both scored a bunch of points. Holiday’s turnovers, relative to his lack of assists, is not good. If this continues, I’d be alarmed.
- Jodie Meeks, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young all no-showed. And if Young takes 5 dribbles and spins into a 20-footer for no reason again, I’ll call for his head. Okay, not really. But he should not be in that position at all.
- Elton Brand still has heavy legs. If this doesn’t turn around, we’re in trouble.
- The Sixers let a game get away that should have been a win. The Jazz played well near the end, but the Sixers had a chance to put them away early and failed to do so. The Sixers get another chance at the Jazz at home.
Next game is tonight against the Warriors. Kyle should have some things to look for later.