The cartoon above comes from Jesse Blanchard over at 48 Minutes of Hell, which covers the San Antonio Spurs and is one of the best basketball blogs on the internet. You can follow Jesse on twitter @blanchard48moh
This comes a bit late, but the weekend and parties happened the last couple of days. The Sixers won by 28. You can find a box score here.
- First off, I should tip my hat to Lou Williams. His 4-4 on threes in the first half got the Sixers back into a game they shot themselves out of. While I hate on Lou more than most others because of his defensive deficiencies, he actually played well defensively. Better than Jrue Holiday did, at least. And his scoring helped the Sixers, who went approximately 1-20 on jumpers in the first quarter, get an eight-point halftime lead. The Sixers have a much, much closer game without him.
- Spencer Hawes, as I mentioned during the game, Space Jammed someone out of his talents. It’s the only explanation. Hopefully his roll continues into 2012.
- Evan Turner just looked better than his box score indicates from the scoring perspective. It would look like he had a miserable night from the field, but unlike on Friday he had good opportunities. He just failed to convert them. Turner should be making those sooner rather than later. He also made plays for others with his passing and rebounding, most notably his alley-oop to Andre Iguodala.
- Maybe even more importantly, Turner was given control of the offense for extended time during two periods during the game: at the beginning of the second quarter and throughout the fourth. When this happened, Evan looked more comfortable and the Sixers played well. I mentioned during Turner’s Christmas present than he needed to have control of the floor to feel most comfortable. Even with Holiday and Williams on the floor at the same time, Turner led the offense. He was being placed in a position to succeed, and that’s a credit to Coach Collins, especially since Williams and Holiday can handle off the ball responsibilities.
- Oftentimes, the broken plays that the Sixers conjure up occur because players are trying to make plays they realistically cannot or should not make. The two main culprits this year have been Jodie Meeks and Thaddeus Young. It’s a;so a case of knowing strengths. Meeks’ strength is as a catch-and-shoot guy, either off screens or standing set behind the three point line. Young plays to his strengths along the baseline, looking for openings in the defense, quickly laying up passes or making a quick dribble or two to get to the open spot for the layup. Meeks should not be driving into the lane. Young should not be backing a defender down 18 feet from the rim. Over time, hopefully we see everyone play to his strengths.
- Also, Young hit two jumpers (in about 5 attempts). If he hits that amount from a decent distance, I’m okay with it, because otherwise Young’s game becomes extremely limited. Even if it’s effective. And Meeks’ shooting is a cause for concern, but I wouldn’t panic yet. It took him a while to get into a groove last season too.
- Elton Brand had 4 assists, which is important when considering that he might not be able to score at the pace he did last year. The ball normally stops when it gets to Brand, so if he can’t score he’ll need to continue finding someone who can. He also had an Iguodalan stat line: 7 points, 6 boards, 4 assists, 5 steals, and a block.
- The team defense at times was spectacular – while certain players struggled (mainly Holiday), for the most part the Warriors were held to only a few open shots. The Dubs failed to convert many of those. Similar to the Suns game, the Sixers capitalized in part on their own play and in part on a collapse from their opponents. If only they can figure out how to win close games…
- And hit free throws (18-31 for the game, <60%). I hope that doesn’t become a trend.
- One more positive note. The Sixers assisted on 29 of 39 baskets. When you don’t have a dominant scorer, that’s what you need.