March 6, 2015

Sixers Lose a Tough One at Home to Orlando – 4 Reasons Why

Great game, terrible ending for the Sixers.  I’ve been to most of the home games and this was by far the most entertaining and exciting Sixers game so far this season.  They game out slow, gradually picked up the energy, dominated in the third quarter to take the lead, stayed with the Magic throughout the second half and came up 2 points short.  Good effort that simply wasn’t good enough to earn the “W.”

I read all the comments you guys posted throughout the game during breaks and read through all of the post game comments.  I really am not sure why 90% of the conversation is about Samuel Dalembert, but hey I guess it’s just one of those complain about Sammy days for people.  I don’t have a problem with talking about Sam but I think right now people’s focus are in the wrong place if they think Dalembert is the biggest issue.

Howard made 4 total field goals and 13 free throws.  Sammy used up his 6 fouls in 25 minutes, Ratliff used 4 of his in 18 minutes and Brand used 4 of his in 34 minutes trying to help out with Howard.  I was completely satisfied with the way the Sixers handled Howard.  They made him beat them from the line and he did just that 13-18 is fantastic and uncharacteristic for him.  If the Sixers played the exact same game he likely shoots 9-18 next time and it’s a Sixers win.

My Top 4 Reasons Why the Sixers Lost to Orlando (in no particular order)

This game was rather close.  And if you look at the boxscore this is what you would see.  Even in rebounds with the Sixers grabbing 14 offensive boards (5 more than Orlando).  25 assists (7 more than Orlando) on 36 made field goals for the Sixers.  14 Sixers turnovers vs. 17 for Orlando.  79% free throw shooting for the Sixers.  14 fastbreak points to 10 for Orlando.  Not a terrible game by the Sixers at all.  But I point to a few possessions, mistakes and bad judgement that had a major impact on the outcome of the game…

  1. Poor game management.  After Rashard Lewis made that contested three to take the lead with 4.7 seconds left a timeout should have been called by the Sixers to advance the ball and set up a game winning play.  Oh yeah, they didn’t have any.  Why didn’t they have any?  Because Mo cheeks absolutely wasted a timeout during the third quarter.  The Sixers were on a 12-5 run, erased a 10-point half time deficit and had Orlando on their heels having just scored a fastbreak lay up.  The Sixers had the ball with a chance to take the lead and Mo calls a timeout for no reason whatsoever.  I completely flipped out in my seat because I thought that was a critical mistake by Cheeks.  Turns out it was more costly than I originally thought.  What’s worse: the Sixers came out of the timeout only to have Willie Green dribble around two screens at the top and take a contested long duece (basically what the offense does most possessions) only to miss.  Wasted timeout, poor coaching and guidance coming out of the timeout.  I need to dedicate and entire post just to this because it’s becoming a trend with Cheeks.
  2. Missed layups by Andre Iguodala.  4th quarter is money time and Andre Iguodala missed two very lightly contested lay ups (I am being generous here saying they were even lightly contested).  I have no clue why he didn’t simply dunk on both those opportunities but the fact remains you must put the ball in the hole there.  2 baskets, 4 points – the Sixers lost by 2.
  3. Andre Iguodala dribbles the out of bounds trying to slip through two defenders by behind his back, through his legs.  I guess for a split second that big contract got him thinking he was Kobe.  WTF is exactly what I said during the game.  That came with 1:51 left in the game, the Sixers with the ball and up 90-87.  Critical turnover there.  Another reason why his basketball IQ should be questioned.  Although he made two clutch free throws the sum of his 4th quarter resulted in him coming up small to me.
  4. Andre Miller sucked in a big big away.  He was 3-13 from the field and only had 4 assists in 34 minutes.  But that isn’t what pissed me off the most.  The score was 92-91 Sixers and we had the rock with a minute left.  Elton Brand had just hit three straight mid-range jumpers and clearly had his shot and swagger tonight.  Instead of making sure he touched the ball and got a shot (like a good point guard is suppose to do – get the damn ball to the hot man in a position to score) Andre Miller dribbled around the top of the key, around two or three Brand screens and took a highly contested jumper from the right corner – brick.  Again my reaction simply was WTF.  How does Elton Brand not even touch the ball there?  Terrible decision making and floor leadership by Miller in that spot.

I think those 4 things really had a major impact on the game and they were all in the Sixers hands.  They had complete control in those situations and didn’t make the right decision, the right play or execute effectively.  That is the difference between winning and losing close games against good teams.

Random Game Notes

I saw J.J. Reddick make 25 straight threes in pregame and Andre Iguodala was only able to make 5 in a row once.  That is the difference between a professional shooter and everyone else

Why the hell did Mo take Thad out with 3:54 left in the first quarter when he scored the first 7 points of the game and looked extremely sharp.  No freakin’ wonder he ends up disappearing later in game.  Poor in-game player management by Mo.

Marreese Speights needs to get more low post touches.  He is our best true low post offensive player.  Also, this kid just has a knack for being in the right place at the right time at the end of quarter doesn’t he?

Elton Brand is playing below the rim on offense right now.  I would say he has some lingering issue with his Achilles but he doesn’t have any problem exploding and blocking shots above the rim on defense.  I wish I knew what the issue was on offense.  He needs to start working with the heavy ball when practicing his offensive moves.

I have so much stuff running through my head right now I could go on for days.  Instead I will try to break them up into some smaller post between games.  Tough loss but some better play.  Need to improve much most to have a chance on Friday.

Next game: Friday @Boston Celtics

Happy Thanksgiving

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  1. BoomDizzle says:

    Dannie- I was at the game tonight as well, it was exciting but very disappointing.  You are dead on with your four points, though:

    1.  I had not been keeping track of the timeouts, so when Miller heaved that mess of a halfcourt shot to end the game I was flipping out that they didn’t call a TO to advance the ball.

    But seriously, how can you have burned all of your timeouts??  Isn’t this a situation a coach should plan for?

    I remember at one point late in the fourth, we called a 20 second timeout immediately after Orlando had called a TO (if I remember correctly).  It seemed unnecessary at the time, and we sure could have used that at the end of the game.

    2.  Agreed.  I couldn’t believe he didn’t dunk that second one.  That was a really pivotal moment and would have gotten the energy and momentum in our favor.

    3.  This was just ridiculous.  I don’t even know what to say.  He makes a couple plays a game that just seem so desperate/ambitious.  He avoids the cliche “play within yourself” with an insecure obsession.

    4.  Miller was pretty much a non-factor.  These are the games where we need Lou Will to be reliable so that he can get in the lane to make plays when Miller’s size and head/pump fakes aren’t effective.  He really would be a great change of pace in place of Miller if he could be more consistent.

  2. BoomDizzle says:

    On a positive note, Marreese Speights really played his best game of the year.  The one play that sticks out is the possession he got the ball in the paint and sank a turnaround jumper over his defender.  I was impressed.  Aside from that, he made a few nice active plays on D to force turnovers and busts his ass every minute he is on the floor.

  3. guest says:

    I agree with most if not all of your points Dannie, but after Iggy missed that second layup, didn’t we get the rebound and end up with two points after that? I could be mistaken which is more than likely.  I am an avid Andre Iguodala fan, so take that into account before reading the following statement. I recorded the game so I had the ability to watch the under the leg waste of a possesion by Mr. Iguodala. I jumped out of my seat and screamed at the t.v. but this seemed rather uncharacteristic so I decided to rewind it and take a closer look at the play.  It turns out, Iggy got the loose ball and of course immediatly tried to ignite a fast break. I was watching his head to see exactly what he was trying to do with the ball. I noticed he was looking right to Thaddeus young I beleive, im not positive though.  Thaddeus (or whoever it was) was running with his head down court, not looking for the ball.  Iggy then was cut off by a defender before he could realize what he was going to do with the ball.  He was caugt in a tough situation because there was a person right behind him and a person inches away from him when he was at mid-dribble going at a fast speed.  The way he tried to get out of the situation was a bad one of course. 

    Now I realize that was a wasted possesion that was key to our loss, and that it was a bad play by Andre and should have never happened.  And I realize that he had a poor fourth quarter at best (except the two free throws), but I give partial credit to the Magic Defense on that particular play.  That was really the first time that game, that the Magic stopped the fast break before it started.

    All of your other points were right on key I think.  Wow what a tough loss that was, going into the Celtics game.  Well, I guess they gave it their best effort.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  4. Dave T says:

    Dannie: Definitely a nice four points…especially the Andre Iguodala missed layup issue…they were definitely moments that didn’t help us win…but I see most of those more as tiny individual plays that could have swung a different way on a different night.  A player having a brain fart at the end of the game is bound to happen…and honestly I’m at the point where I just don’t expect much from Cheek’s in how the game is managed, so this comes as no surprise to me either (sadly). 

    To me, the reason we lost are more the overall team play reasons rather than a few specific moments.  The three big ones for me:

    1.  A complete, total disaster on defensive rotations. No point in me babbling about this again since I probably made 4 lengthy rants about this out of frustration in the other Orlando post…but I was keeping track, and there were honestly about 10 different occassions where the defense either didn’t provide help at all on drives, didn’t rotate AT ALL to get out on the perimeter and contest an open shot, or rotated far too late to have any effect. 

    This is simply unnacceptable, unexcusable, and is something Mo should be grinding into them every practice from now on.  The box score of the Magic only hitting 9-26 three point shots is a total lie, because Rashard, Hedo, Pietrus and Reddick had a good five-six WIDE open looks, that happened not to go down.  Usually, with talented shooters like that, they would, and we wouldn’t have even been in the game. 

    2.  Defensive consistency.  Nothing frustrates me more than watching us play excellent team defense twice in a row, only to then completely abandon this and completely let up our energy and communication on the next two plays.  This happened numerous times throughout the game…we’d start looking like the defensive team we all predicted from the season’s beginning…and then a minute later the Magic are waltzing in the lane for a layup, or making one pass to a wide open interior player and our hands weren’t even there in the passing lane.  We don’t play defense with any pride, zest, passion, whatever you want to call it.  Again, unnacceptable. 

    3.  Ball movement. Especially in the first half.  I don’t mean spacing…I thought that was a huge improvement yesterday.  But I started to keep a talley chart of how many shots went up in our halfcourt offense with: no passes made or just one pass made…and my notecard started to be filled up so quickly I stopped keeping track. 

    This is truly pathetic.  All the improved floor spacing in the world (a plus tonight), and all the improved movement without the ball (pretty meh tonight, but there were flashes), means nothing if we do not start sharing the rock and spreading the ball around on each possession.  I look at us compared to the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Pistons, Jazz, Suns and Raptors…all teams that actually play as a team, together on offense, that will regularly have 3-4 passes in their sets…and I just have to laugh at the discrepency. 

    Brand is an excellent passer that can fascilitate from the high post.  A-Miller, when he wants to be, is an excellent floor leader.  When they are patient, Iguodala and Lou Williams also have the ability to pass well and help the team offense out.  I just don’t understand this mentality of “one pass, contested jumpshot…two passes, contested iso play.” We’ve really got to start moving without the ball better, setting good screens, and moving the rock around so that more teammates are touching it on each possession.  With the players on our team, if we keep relying on this many iso plays, and keep being this selfish with the basketball and settling for ill advised jumpers…we will never find success this season. 

    And what do all three things have in common?  IMO, these things are all Mo Cheek’s fault. It is his job to get us to improve in the above three categories.  Personally I have never had confidence in him being up for the job, but I wish him the sincerest, best of luck to proving me wrong. 

    One big thing I really liked: Elton Brand’s body language. Watching the camera stay on him during timeouts and stops in play was a pleasure.  He really looked like an extension of the coach out there, was getting in young players faces, bringing guys together, giving advice and suggestions…just seemed very passionate and into this game, and I feel his energy and outlook fed to others.  That was great to see; the more of a vocal leader he becomes, the better.

  5. deepsixersuede says:

    Boomdizzle, your comment about L.Will. was dead on. Along with taking Thad out early when he was playing well I thought L.Will. was getting anywhere he wanted when he first came in and was really affecting the game before he got taken out. But the second time in he starts jacking three!s again. I think it is time for an E.S. INTERVENTION; Please tell Mo to get it into L.Will.!s head that he is the backup point guard, so act like one. With his quickness he can create havoc for the other team if he would look to create instead of just score. Dave T., Mo!s greatest quality as a coach last year was that the players played hard for him; if this lack of effort for long stretches on defense continues then he may be in trouble because lets face it, he isn!t bringing much else to the table. Dannie, our talk on Sammy was spurred by Theo!s sense of what to do ,the little things, that help you win, and Sam being Sam is okay if surrounded by intelligent players and a coach that DEMANDS accountability, 2 things he isn!t surrounded by right now.

  6. deepsixersuede says:

    Guys, I keep thinking of when Croce hired Greenburg and J.Davis and realizing it wasn!t working cleaned house quickly. Dannie, I don!t know how it works in the N.B.A. but can an assistant coach be gotten if offered a head coaching job because if this continues through the allstar break I would love to see a Thibeadeax with E.Jordan as an assistant coaching tandem looked at. The Celtics are a team that is greater than the sum of their parts and always do the right things defensively and we have to find a way to get our guys on that page.

  7. The Greek says:

    Dannie, I mentally wrote a couple of my beefs from yesterdays game down and you beat me to the punch on a couple of them.   This is why Kate Fagans blog can sleep with the fishes. 

    WTf did Mo pull thad out of the game after he had scored 7 of there first 9 points?  

    Firt time they posted up Speights resulted in a right handed hook for 2pts.  The second time they posted up Speights resulted in a made left handed hook.   Things were going great for us with Speights in the game in the fourth, so naturally Mo brought in Dalambeart for Speights.  Sammy if a Fkn Loser, I can’t take him anymore. 

    Iggy, hey bud you shock the hell out of me when you can drain open jumpers.  And Im talking about jumpers as close as 5 feet, everything he shoots I expect to be missed.  This is not a guy that you want to get more then 8 shots a game.  Nice dribbling betweeen your legs Malaka.  Your late game heroics remind me of Richard jefferson.  Another Arizona guy who just smells in the 4th quarter, but he at least Jefferson shines in the first 3 quarters.  

    Lou W, will never be our starting pg. 

    Andre Miller, im very dissaponted with your play so far.  

    Our puzzle has a couple of the same pieces, and is missing some key pieces.  And worse off the guy who is trying to fit the pieces is just a terrible head coach.  There is no reason to extend Andre Miller, how about trading him to a condtender along with sammy d’s contract for a young pg who can actually hit a shot.  You can’t win with our outside shooting, can’t do it. 


  8. Dannie says:

    Guest – Iguodala’s 2nd missed lay up came with about 30 seconds left and the Sixers down 1.  Andre Miller got the rebound and called a timeout.  Then that is when the Sixers could barely get the ball inbounded and honestly got lucky and bailed out by Hedo failing over Iguodala which led to the two made free throws.

  9. Dannie says:

    Dave T – You and I are talking about completely different things here with the reasons the Sixers lost this game.  The 3 you are mentioned are not about JUST this game.  They are bigger problems that we have seen throughout the first 15 games of the season.  They are issues that Mo Cheeks as the coach should have a handle on by now.  They are core basketball practices that make you a good team throughout the course of an entire season.

    When I played ball after ever close game (1 or 2 points) my team lost the first two things every coach pointed to after the game were:

    1. Missed lay ups and
    2. Missed free throws

    Because those are things players have completely control over and things that are often taken for granted.  We always talk about this team getting out on the break because they NEED easy baskets because they are not a great shooting team and not a great offensive team in terms of execution. 

    Shooting 79% from the free throw line is good enough to win so no problem there.  But missing lay ups in the 4th quarter because of lack of razor sharp focus and a killer instinct is unacceptable and the difference in a 2-point game.  Every coach after every close game in my life points to missed layups after we would lose a game by 2.

    I agree with you in terms of the major issues, but those are the reasons why this team is 7-8 overall and struggling this season as a whole, not specifically why they lost this game.  Against good teams they are going to execute well and put your defensive rotations to the test.  The Sixers have matchup problems against Orlando because of Howard being virtually unstoppable if defended one-on-one and with Brand having to defend a three point shooter who can also slash to the basket.

    Also I don’t think the boxscore lies at all.  Orlando actually shot 34.6% from three which is slightly better than their season average (33.1).  Their shooters didn’t have an off shooting night they had about an average shooting night.

    Not exactly sure why you are comparing the Sixers in anyway to the Celtics, Lakers, Jazz, Raptors, Spurs or Suns.  Three of the teams have what I would consider elite coaches and all of the teams have at least one elite player.  That bar is way too high for the Sixers.  Great players make offenses look significantly better.

    I have a lot to say about Cheeks and his coaching so maybe we will get into it this weekend.

  10. Dannie says:

    Can someone explain to my what Andre Miller was thinking when he heaved that almost half court shot with 2 seconds still on the clock?  He should have never even had the ball in that situation with his lack of speed or ability to pull up and shoot a jump shot.

    4.7 seconds is an eternity and a good player could get all the way to rim with that amount of time.  I would have rather Iguodala get that ball there.  BUT he decided he should inbound the ball and at that point was out of the play.  Miller’s floor leadership and decision making this season has been inconsistent thus far this season and my patience is running thin with him.

  11. The Greek says:

    Miller’s floor leadership and decision making this season has been inconsistent thus far this season and my patience is running thin with him.

    That unbelievable right??!! The thing that I pointed pointed out To Mckie4MVP about 2 weeks ago was that It’s a secret that Igoudala is a bad finisher in traffic.  If it’s not a dunk then it probably wont go in.  His dribbling has gotten worse, Iggy I would be happy with 13 points on 47-50 % shooting  6 assist , 5 boards, 2 steals.  You got us in this mess stefanski, now get us out.

  12. The Greek says:

    Yeah Dannie, when Miller shot that shot I was just dumbfounded.  And did you see Cheek’s reaction when Iggy committed that sinful between the legs turnover?   Lets just say if he was our dad we wouldn’t fear getting grounded.

  13. deepsixersuede says:

    Dannie, want to throw out something I discussed this morning with S.F.W. on the phone. Remember when we dealt Korver how we put a level of accountability on other players to take his minutes and be productive, well I have a similar move in mind with A.Miller. Chicago seems to have found a good backcourt combo in Rose and Gordon with Roses! strength allowing him to guard some 2 guards and the team seems very competitive this season. A.Miller is nothing more than an expiring contract right now in my opinion. If you look at possible destinations,[Minn.,Port.,etc.] they would more or less rather go with what they have than acquire him at the allstar break.Chicago refuses to go over the cap and if they want to resign Gordon has to free up money. I call and offer A.Miller and his 10 mill. expiring deal for Hinrich ,a player you won!t get till late in the year which I don!t mind because I start Ivey and bring in a D.Washington type young point guard for the time being. A.Miller is not part of this teams future in my opinion. By him being here guys like Thad and Iggy and Elton have less accountability and responsibility, something that a pointguard that just distributes the ball and defends may bring out in all of them, sorry to rant but this team as constituted just looks stagnant out there and it starts out front on offense and defense, along with the coaching.

  14. The Greek says:

    Suede, Im with you bro.  Nothing but an expiring contract that we need to deal.   Just make sure that you could package sammy or Iggy with him.  Thanksgiving to everyone here and if your on facebook you should check out the reclinergm fan page

  15. The Greek says:

    Sorry i meant to say happy T day to everyone here!

  16. sfw says:

    All have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! Agree with all Blogging points both during and after last night’s game! Gobble Gobble!   

  17. guest says:

    Yes, the Miller shot was definetly a bad one and the inbounds definetly should have gone to Thad.  He is a good enough dribbler to get the ball down the court for a decent shot attempt in 4.7 seconds.  And yes, we did get bailed out on those free throws. But to be honest, I would have rather gotten the ball inbounds cleanly and held for the last shot.  Because I feel more comfortable shooting the last shot, then have them shoot the last shot considering how good of a shooting team they are.  The problem was, Miller, was either only looking for Iggy, or Iggy was the only one moving for the ball.

    I realize that Iggy definetly didn’t look like a very good player last night, but to say we need to make a major roster move right now, I don’t believe in.  I will take Iggy driving in the lane and getting a good look at a layup.  When I see him driving in the lane, I’m rather confident that he will either get fouled or score.  The problem, at least for me, is obviously Andre feeling like he is going to get fouled.  I think he drives the ball, not only wanting, but thinking that he will be fouled.  How bout’ you go up strong with the ball, and whatever happens, happens.  Honestly, when he rises up for a dunk, how many people in this league will try to jump with him, and get a clean block.  Not many.  If we are going to make a roster move, it has to be Sammy (as much as I like his defense and rebounding) or Lou (as much as I like his youth and athleticism).  Any move other than those, would ruin any team chemistry we have in the half court, and effect our fastbreak/defense as well.

  18. deepsixersuede says:

    Guest, would agree about any major changes but A.Miller, because this team has to get used to life without him sooner or later. Getting a read the rest of the year on this roster with a do less p.g. may give E.S. the knowledge he needs as far as the rest of the pieces, who steps up, who doesn!t. A.Miller seems to make 35 to 45 % of the decisions for this team and his laid back approach,I feel, is affecting this group. Last years frenetic group needed his calmness and leadership but with Elton here to take that role I think the sooner it becomes Elton!s team the better.

  19. guest says:

    Yes, suede, you are right about that.  Eventually we will be forced to let him go most likely.  I guess after watching the past two seasons, we have struggled the first half of the season, but with our youth and atleticism we overwork teams the second half of the season.  It’s hard for me to see that changing right now, because we have the same type of team.  I just don’t want to over-react to a couple tough losses, and a couple dissapointing losses.  I wouldn’t question E.S.’s moves if he made them, because it’s likely to work.  But I don’t want to get too caught up in the first month of the season.  I say you let this team try to work it out for another month and see where that leaves us.  We just can’t let this team get too out of position to make the playoffs, without making a move. 

  20. bski says:

    Dannie…I was primarily concerned with Sammy on the offensive end, specifically with trying to limit Howard’s defensive impact on us.

    Also, I understand the point you are making with Dave T. as far as looking at reasons specific to our loss last night vs. season long issues.  However, one of those season long issues (defensive rotations) has impacted us specifically on two occasions and has led directly to two losses.  Both times it was the same guy making the mistake. 

    Last night, Thad came off of Lewis and ended up triple teaming Turkoglu (since Iguodala was on him and Dalembert was waiting in the lane).  Against the T-Wolves, Thad came off Miller.  In both cases the player Thad left killed us with a 3-point dagger to win.

    You’ve made 4 very good points and I agree with them.  I also agree that taking care of things within your control (layups and free throws) is critically important, especially for a poor shooting team like us.  I am not saying that Thad’s leaving a 3-point wing shooter at crunch time is the sole reason for each of those two losses, but they are specific instances of the larger problem and as such are worth noting.

  21. Ken says:

    What is find to be frustrating is seeing the Sixers year after year allow opposing teams uncontested 3 point shots. When will the madness stop! Also, the defensive intensity simply disappears too often. Finally, what is it going to take for the Sixers to employ a few shooters, like most other teams?

  22. Dannie says:

    BSKI/Dave T - I gotta disagree completely on this.   I went back and watched that last play over and over again just to confirm the initial thought I had watching the game live at the Wachovia Center – Thad played it exactly right.  It was NOT a mistake by him at all.

    First off Dalembert had already fouled out and Brand was defending Howard.  The play was executed very well by Orlando so lets please give created where credit is due.  Here is what I saw…

    1. Hedo at the top with Howard setting up for the pick and roll just inside the arc.  Brand defending Howard and Iguodala on Hedo.
    2. Rashard Lewis in the strong side corner defended by Young.
    3. Reddick in the weakside corner defended by Green and Johnson on the weakside wing defended by Miller.
    4. That is a perfect set up offensively because if the defenders involved in the pick and roll can’t contain penetration the corner defenders must step in and not allow a lay up which is an easier, higher % shot that wins the game just like the three did.  If Thad helps Lewis is the shooter, if Willie comes all the way over and helps Reddick is the shooter.  Those are the exact guys you want taking that shot.
    5. Hedo rubbed Iguodala off a big pick by Howard and Iguodala actually ended up going under the screen having to keep himself between Howard and the ball so Hedo can’t simply dump it off for a game winning dunk.
    6. Brand had to pick up Hedo on the switch and didn’t have the lateral quickness to stay in front of him.  Hedo got his right shoulder in front of Brand which to Thad the help defender indicates help is needed to prevent a lay up.  If Thad doesn’t help Hedo has a clear blue lane to the rim.
    7. Thad did exactly what he was suppose to do and exactly what coaches teach you to do.  If you have to give up a shot make it the much lower percentage three rather than a lay up for a 6’10 player going to the basket.  In fact if you watch the play again he did a fantastic job of hedging to make Hedo stop his penetration and he did close out on Lewis and get a hand in his face.

    I am shocked and frankly dumbfounded by the comments about Thad making a mistake here.  In fact look at his movements in slow motion.  As soon as (i mean immediately) Hedo picked up the ball to pass you can see Thad’s reaction straight out to recover on the shooter.  Let me repeat this again so everyone is clear on my opinion on this Thaddeus Young DID NOT MAKE A MISTAKE on that play.  In fact he played it perfectly.

    Best case scenario if Thad doesn’t show there, is Brand recovering and blocking/altering the lay up or Iguodala recovering and blocking/altering the lay up. The problem with that to also consider is the fact that now you leave Dwight Howard sitting right there alone in perfect position to put back any missed shot at the basket.

    Give Orlando credit for put the right guys in the right spots, executing their play and Rashard Lewis for making a contested three after shooting 6-16 prior to that shot.

  23. Dannie says:

    Also, regarding the Mike Miller three point basket I have this question for everyone that is putting that on Thad as well… Was it a player mistake or a strategic coaching mistake?

    How do you know Mo Cheeks didn’t tell the players to double team Al Jefferson in the situation?  If he did, did he add the qualifier of double team him except for the guy defending Mike Miller?  Was Thad just carrying out the directive from the coach or losing track of his man and doubling when that wasn’t what they said to do in the huddle?

    Look all I am trying to convey to you guys is lets not just look at the outcome or the surface events.  Also consider what is behind them that may have lead to what the final result was. 

    We obviously can only speculate on this because we weren’t in the huddle before these or other plays.  We aren’t in the locker room getting the overall defensive strategy.  But I think only placing blame on the players when the mistakes could just as easily be poor coaching strategy and direction.

  24. Morty says:

    First of all, happy Thanksgiving!

    Second of all, the biggest take away from this game is that Brand finally looked like the player we have expected. He definitely did not get the ball enough on the last couple possessions. If this was the game that Brand found his touch and his mojo, the loss will have been worth it.

    In my opinion, the biggest reason we lost this game was the poor play of Miller.

  25. The Greek says:

    Ofcourse he didn’t get the ball late in the game even though he was hot, this is a Mo Cheeks coached team.  He is a black hole, one of our many.

    Dave T, its’ funny I was thinking about you when Speights came in and played some excellent D! lol

  26. bski says:

    Dannie…Thanks for laying it out like that.  You also bring up a valid and intriguing point.  We do not know how much of our difficulties and things we call into question are attributable to the players making “mistakes” and how much is on Cheeks and the coaches for poor preparation as well as faulty recognition and game planning among other things.

  27. Dave T says:

    Dannie:  Maybe I gave the wrong impression, but I didn’t mention the last play of the game in any of my comments about defensive rotations.  I’m fine with the way Thad played it, and feel that was the Magic making a nice play, as opposed to a defensive lapse on our end.

    Also, I’ve always felt things like “missed layups” are something much more on the individual player, and not on the coach.  A coach can repeat a mantra of how many layups are missed repeatedly, but often this will have no concrete effect on whether this improves or not.  It is up to the player to practice specific individual drills with hand-footwork around the basket so that any layup type shot…reverse layups, going off the correct foot, positioning, attacking with strength, ability to use both hands equally, scoring from the baseline and behind the basket…will come naturally and as easy as breathing 

    A coach has far less control over this than an individual player…he can only do so much with a missed-layup type of play.  Screaming about it tends not to help to much.  I feel when it comes to dumbass plays at the end of games, the only thing you can do is mention it, point it out, explain what should have happened, and then move on.  
    My philosophy tends to center around the fact that games are not won or lost in the 4th quarter off one or two plays…be them tiny mistakes or true bonehead plays.  I think there’s an unnecessary fixation in basketball that hiccups in the 4th quarter are what causes the loss.  To me, it’s much more a conglomeration of many mistakes made throughout the game.  I also think this is what a coach has the most direct control of.  Hence, I think a coach is wasting his time when he gripes about a botched play or two…that type of stuff will happen.  

    Where a coach should be SCREAMING about and pushing in the team’s face is the same types of errors that have been made numerous times throughout a game, especially if they are caused from a. lack of consistency  b. lack of enthusiasm  c. lack of flat out not knowing what to do/confusion  d. lack of fundamentals when executing.  

    To me, in the Orlando game, this was defensive rotations.  In the first half, this was ATROCIOUS.  We need to be a top 5-7 defensive team in order for our parts to play at a quicker pace and overcome our shooting deficiencies.  This Orlando game, we did not do this.  This is the reason the Magic was so effective scoring against us, and a reason they hit long range shots against us.  

    I don’t see how you can argue this wasn’t a huge cog having to do with this individual game…just because it represents a larger problem in many games of the season doesn’t mean it didn’t affect last night’s score.  It is exactly the recurring problems from one game to another that tangibly effects the outcome of each game more then any one timeout situation, one missed jumpshot or botched play.  

    Also, just because the Magic are a good offensive team doesn’t excuse our inability to make defensive rotations.  I’d argue we should be putting forth MORE energy and mental toughness on this one aspect of defense when it comes to the big games against strong offensive teams.  So what if Dwight Howard is doubled teamed often?  I’m not arguing it will take longer to help or get out to the perimeter when that’s the case…I’m saying that we weren’t doing this at all, or far too late, and it had nothing to do with the fact we were helping in the interior sometimes.

    Also, the specific 7-8 plays I’m referring to happened when we weren’t double teaming anyone, which makes the total look of team confusion when we take 10 seconds to rotate to the three point line, or step up to help when an opposing player drives, all the more embarrassing.  This stuff is just inexcusable, and what worries me is I have barely seen any improvement in this area in 15 games.

    Lastly…I disagree with your defense of the box score with the Magic’s three point shooting.  I don’t think you can compare our defensive effort to their normal three point shooting as a team.  Who cares what their normal % is vs. what we held them to.  What matters is HOW we did it.  And the way we held them to a decent % was because we got friggin lucky, not because of skill.  Rashard Lewis, Hedo and Reddick can hit 3′s at a 40% clip or above.  Pietrus is at 35% or above.  We let these guys have FIVE blatently wide open threes where not one Sixer uniform was NEAR them.  This is shitty D, and from 40% long bomb shooters, total luck their shot was off.  

    I know I sound like a broken record here, but defense should be, and needs to be, our strong point.  A team should look like they play defense together as one organism, that is shifting, helping, rotating and constantly moving and communicating based on what the other team is doing.  It requires not only the technical profficiency but will and desire to do so.  

    We are showing neither of these two categories in the majority of our games.  The Magic scored many easy backups because we are not helping each other out on D when one man gets burned or is occupied helping someone else.  This is why we lost.  And if we show the same lack of defensive teamwork and cohesion against Boston, then the green machine is going to slaughter us.

  28. Dave T says:

    (above…by backups I meant buckets).  

    Dannie, didn’t mean to come after you like that haha, I had a long drive today off not a lot of sleep, hope I didn’t take a crappy tone there.  But I just really disagree with a lot of what you said in your response to my earlier post.   

  29. deepsixersuede says:

    Dannie, Sometimes a player hits a tough shot to be you,kudos to Lewis. After watching it over I expected a dump down to Howard after the switch, something that was a surer thing than Lewis!s 3. We need to put 48 hard minutes together Friday, these short spurts are killing me.

  30. deepsixersuede says:

    Iggy 2 guard rankings through 15 games; reb.-[#1] ; ass.-[#4] ; steals- [#5] ; blocks- [#5] ; turn.-[#5] ; ppg.-[ #17] ;f.g.%-[#24] ; f.t.%-[#31] ; 3pt.%-[#37] ; some good,some bad.

  31. jjg says:

    He’s #1 in rebounds because he’s NOT a 2 guard.  2 guard’s main 
    role is to score:  17, 24, 31 & 37 rankings in scoring/shooting categories indicate his play has been, for the most part, rank.  An unconventional player, especially when the ball is in his hands, whose sum is less than his parts imo.  That position has to be upgraded somehow, though big contract muddies the water.     

  32. Dannie says:

    Dave T – We will just have to disagree.  We have different views on certain things basketball related.  Much of which probably has to do with our personal basketball background -  as players, experience with coaches we played for and talk to etc. Which is fine. 

    For example the whole lay up thing.  Sure a lay up missed is on the player but if you have a player that misses multiple lay ups or a team that misses multiple lay ups that is on the coach to make that right.  If you have players that miss lay ups late in games habitually that is also on the coach.  Particularly it means you have a conditioning issue which often times leads to a lack of focus issue.  Those things can be corrected by the coach.  If it can’t what is the point of having one.

    I was going to prepare this long, long response but I decided against it.  Instead I will address some of what you are saying in short posts because they are things I have wanted to write about anyway.

    And Dave, don’t worry about coming after me.  I didn’t read that at all.  You were just attacking my comments which is all good.  We just don’t like personal attacks here.

  33. The Greek says:

    Guy the reason Iggy misses layups is because if he isn’t dunking he is a weak finisher.   I know it’s hard to believe that a guy who can jump like Iggy can be a bad finisher but it’s true.  We should bring in Armon Gilliam to teach everyone how to shoot a baby hook!

  34. Dave T says:

    Dannie:   You’re right, it sounds like we just have different philosophies when it comes to certain things.  Let’s hope we never wind up as co-coaches of the same team, they’d be a mess with our mixed messages!