Sixers started this past week with a win over the Mavericks. The highlight of course was the return of Elton Brand. While Iguodala was faced with boos, Brand was met with some cheers. I still don’t understand why that is but whatever. Sixers and Mavericks were in for a long night of turning the ball over, especially in the 4th quarter. Mavericks scored 28 points off 17 Sixers turnovers. Meanwhile, the Mavs were doing a decent job in the first 3 quarters with only 7 turnovers. But, they ended up having 8 turnovers during the 4th quarter to finish with 15.
In all of the turnovering…is that a word? Turnovering? Well it is now. Anyway, the Mavericks got within 100-98 on Carter’s layup with 17.4 seconds remaining.
Orange Juice Mayo O.J. Mayo then had a chance to tie the game but missed the first free throw. He misfired on the second one on purpose and Jae Crowder even had a chance to win the game with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. That shot hit the backboard and rim before bouncing away. Sixers win.
The next game ended with two streaks of games: Sixers won their third straight and the Bobcats lost their 3rd straight. The Bobcats had the worst winning% in NBA history last season but they don’t appear to headed in that direction this season as they’ve been playing pretty well. This game shouldn’t have been that close but lack of defense from either team was the theme of the night. Sixers shot 58.5% at halftime…and only led by 4. Not good.
Jason Richardson continues to make the Bynum trade not 100% bust (It’s at like…90%) with his shooting. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter against his former team to help the Sixers pull away and to finish with 22 points. What I’m noticing with this team is that balanced scoring still seems to be the theme for the team but Jrue and Turner are the clear go-to guys. I like to see that. As I’ve said last season, I’m not against the lack of a consistent 20+ scorer, I just needed a clear scoring leader who can hit the big shots. Turner and Holiday have been fitting this role nicely so far.
The next night, the Sixers lost to the Bulls and it was close. Really close. Even on the stat sheet it was close. But rebounding, or lack of rebounding became the ultimate dagger for the Sixers. Sixers actually looked like they were done with 22 seconds left in the game. They were down 6 with Thad Young at the line. He made his first but missed his second. He ended up getting a put-back on his miss though and the Sixers were down 3.
But then Rip Hamilton was fouled and he went to make both FT’s because he’s Rip Hamilton. He gets buckets. I say that to say the Sixers got an opportunity of a lifetime that they gave up. Down only two with 14 seconds left, the Sixers sent Rip to the line again. As I said, Rip gets buckets. He hasn’t missed a FT since only the beginning of time*. So he makes his first. Sixers down 3. He misses his second though and the Sixers could’ve gotten the rebound. But, and this story goes beyond this game, the Sixers don’t have anybody who can rebound. Collins had Evan Turner boxing out Noah. Yup. He also had Dorell Wright and Thad Young. Sadly, they were all better and had a better chance of grabbing a rebound than their tallest member of the team, Spencer Hawes. It’s not all about height but it sure helps. Lavoy Allen could’ve been used. Bynum, get well.
*This what we call exaggeration.
I see Sixers as a lock to being a playoff team. But, as the the past seasons, this team without Bynum is headed to the same quick 1st round exit. And please don’t count for injuries; that’s just wrong. I am confident that we’ll see our first winning season in a normal 82 game season since the 04-05 season though. So there’s that. And we’ve been close. Ever since Collins took over, they went 40-42, 41-41, and then the lockout record 35-31. I feel if that season had 82 games, the way the Sixers were playing at the end of the season, they would’ve had another losing season. But it is what it is.