September 15, 2014

Sixers vs. Wizards: This is Where the Losing Streak Ends

I don’t have time to write a long pre-game analysis because I am about to run to a basketball game of my own.  But this needs to be a win tonight.  The bleeding must stop.  They are playing a team they have handled easily the previous three times they played them this season.  A lost tonight and this might be the lowest the Sixers have been since Cheeks was fired.

This is the first game of a favorable 10 game stretch.  Win tonight and kick off at least a 7-3 run and start to cease control of the 4th or 5th playoff spot.

I am going to miss the first half  so let me know your take in the comments.  If you want to write up some game notes after the game I will take them from the comments and post them after the game.  Have some group coverage of the team so we get multiple perspectives front and center for a change.  Pete very well might do the recap tonight if he isn’t preoccupied during the game.

Let’s get a win!

Sixers vs. Wizards Group Game Notes – after the game

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Comments

  1. Tom Moore says:

    Would think so, too, but will there be a hangover from Monday’s crushing loss? Also, Wizards are 2-1 since the break (winning over the Wolves and at Jersey), while the Sixers are 0-4.

  2. Morty says:

    Speights could score 20 per game, right now, given a starter’s minutes. And on a team struggling for points…

  3. Morty says:

    … and going nowhere…

  4. Ken says:

    Not to jinx the team but I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost this game as well. This group of Sixers lack the eye of the tiger. They seem to be too satisfied with being (a) an underachieveing team and (b) a .500 team.  Tonight’s a can’t win situation. They win and everyone will say they were supposed to. Lose and the wolves will continue to howl.

  5. Morty says:

    Lou can be so effective on offense when he doesn’t force the game, by which I mean creating for both himself and his teammates.

  6. Ryan F says:

    Morty, completely agree.

    I still can’t understand why he has not gotten more PT.  On nights where they lose it is often because they can’t put the ball in the hole.  I think in his limited minutes he has proven to be a legit scorer from almost anywhere on the court.

    Horrible game so far.  The team can’t rebound or take care of the ball.  Luckily their shots are falling.

  7. Ryan F says:

    Lou can be effective when he isn’t jacking up horrible shots and he’s taking it up strong.

  8. bski says:

    That was a very uninspired half of basketball.  We’ve got to make an effort on the defensive end!  The Zephyrs outhustled us to too many loose balls and rebounds on their way to a 53 point first half.  Lucky for us they are bad enough to allow us to put up 56 points on the other end.  We might very well win this game by being “less bad” than our opponent.  Not really what I was hoping to see.

  9. bski says:

    That 3rd quarter was much better.  Better defensive pressure by us + the Wiz throwing the ball around carelessly = 9 turnovers in a 14 point 3rd quarter for the Wiz.  Time to put this thing away early in the 4th.

  10. CJ wither says:

    why is andre miller having mental lapses at the end of games now. we clearly have the game wrapped up and he’s fouling people in the backcourt for no reason!!!!

    Iggy and sammy had nice games. Obviously mr.steady miller played fine, i would like to see him make his free throws down the stretch. shooting 50%  from the line in crunch time isn’t going to be good for us.

  11. bski says:

    After that foul by Miller I was thinking the same thing, CJ.

    A win is a win, but that was a lousy 4th quarter.  We were pulling away and had all the momentum at the end of the 3rd, but sloppy play and turnovers (especially by Iguodala) in the 4th allowed the Wiz to get back in it and stay too close for comfort.

    Lucky we played a lousy team, otherwise this could have very well been consecutive loss #5.

  12. deepsixersuede says:

    I couldn!t comment last night because ,frankly, they didn!t deserve the effort. Starting to have doubts about this group as far as intensity and effort, you lose 4 in a row you should blow this team out. Are they only gonna play hard against the good teams? I hope Elton can bring a sense of urgency along with his game next year when he comes back.

  13. bski says:

    As you can tell from my comments last night, I feel the same way Suede.  Looking back, the Sixers played one good quarter last night (the 3rd).  We played the same last night as we did in the previous 4 games.  We only “won” because the same lackluster effort yielded better results against a weaker opponent.

    I had hoped to see the Sixers start to turn things around by imposing their will.  That they did not means that they either do not have any will or that they do not have the intensity, the focus, or the desire to impose it.

    It sure looks like DiLeo has gotten all the juice he possibly can out of this group, which goes back to my question from last week.  Can someone else (a Jerry Sloan type coach) get more juice out of them or is this all we will ever get from this group?  I’m sure a Sloan-type would make a difference, but I’m leaning toward the latter.

    Brand should make a difference next year but, unless Young and Speights improve greatly, we still won’t have enough with what we’ve got, IMO.

  14. 2one5 says:

    This team is going no where fast, they need the other team to cooperate for them to win they need them to turn the ball over shoot bad threes that lead to long rebounds which we can turn into fast break points. 

    As I stated before Speights must be placed in the starting line up Thad starts at the 3 and iggy at the 2. The question of if they can play together must be answered this season. If this summer we are again debating about these 2 being able to play together than I will be pissed. 

    ES has stated that he is trying to build a team like detroit the huge difference is that team had players with different skill sets and they accepted their roles.  We have too many “basketball players” with similar skill sets that dont have clearly defined roles because none of them are great at any one part of the game they are all pretty good at a couple things and really bad at others this team needs major changes.

  15. tk76 says:

    I agree with 2one5.  This season should be about player development and evaluation  They have an interim coach and their marquis player is out.  Stop fooling themselves with 4 seed talk.  I’m not saying tank… but developing Iguodala/Thad at 2/3 and bringing Speights along (play him next to Theo) is a lot more important than getting the 6th seed as opposed to the 8th seed.

    I guess its just what coaches do (unless management directs otherwise), but this team seems like it would play its young guys out of position (or not at all) in order to squeeze out a couple of wins.

  16. bski says:

    Sounds right to me guys.  Even though at first blush it seems like an odd way to proceed, we really need to make next year and beyond more of a priority than this year.

    If we do intend on having Brand around for four more years, the thinking has got to be about determining what we’ve got, what we need, and setting ourselves up to make a serious run.

    Sure, making the playoffs this year is good and will provide additional experience, but we know this team, as constructed, is not going anywhere, and we want to go somewhere.

  17. RRose says:

    I agree with a lot of you about next year.  It’s hard for me to stomach losing or watching them play for another season besides the one their in.  I do agree that Speights is a better option on the floor.  I honestly think he will be a better player than Thad.  I will be just as excited if they end up a 4th seed or a 6th seed.  Playoff games are much more fun to watch then regular season games.  So just win baby, let the seeds take care of themselves.  Brand is gone until next season, we can evaluate the team then.   Lastly, Josh Smith would have been better for this team.   I had to say it again.

  18. Tom Moore says:

    Eight turnovers and six missed free throws in the fourth quarter isn’t a recipe for success. Given Monday’s crushing loss to the Nets, just getting a win at this point is something, but they’ll have to play better to beat the Knicks Friday — let along the Magic Saturday.

  19. jkay says:

    2one5: you talk like Speights is a proven commodity. he puts up points in spurts and has a polished skill set – if thats all you got for putting him in the starting lineup, lets just say it aint the best. to me he is more a fluke this year than Thad was last year. we’ve got a promising rookie – thats it. Might we not just keep it that way?
    suede: no need to sound so depressed. all NBA teams coast every now and then. sixers game is based on hustle so they look real bad when its not there. well hope they get their mind right for the Weekend.

  20. Ryan F says:

    jkay – I dont think any of us believe that Speights is a proven commodity, but if he is buried on the bench only seeing 15 min of game time, how will we ever know?

  21. Rob says:

    Horrible 4th quarter, but a much needed win indeed!!   We can’t do that against the Knicks at MSG, where they play a lot better than what their record shows, and especially against the Magic.   

    Why are some games on CN8?  The game against the Knicks will be on CN8 as well.  The pictures are so fuzzy on that channel! 

  22. Morty says:

    jkay: Considering the type of shots Speights is taking and making, the way he uses both hands, knows how and when to cut to the basket, and is even a decent passer, I don’t think fluke is the right word. He’s still quite a work in progress, especially on the defensive end, but like I said last night, on a team struggling to score the basketball…

  23. The Greek says:

    Not only could Speights score 20, he could do it easily.  The problem is that they don’t look for him in the post.  I guess chucking up ill advised shots are preferred.

  24. Rob says:

    Speights might have that chance getting increased minutes on Saturday when we host the Magic.  We have a deep frontcourt that has a big task of containing Dwight Howard.  Now, defending Lewis and Turkoglu is the bigger issue for the Sixers.  But anyway, that’s my take regarding big minutes for Speights. 

  25. 2one5 says:

    @Jkay
    speights is not a proven commodity my suggestion for him being moved to the starting line-up was because he is the best option at the 4 if thad is moved to the 3 and iggy to the 2. My suggestion is not for the team to win now but to make sure by end of this season we know if thad and iggy can play together. I feel we need to know that before we can decide what to do going forward. 

    The jury is still out on speights but I believe putting him in the starting line up and getting Willie G out maybe a good shake up for this team.

  26. Tom Moore says:

    Sixers are 7-0 against Wiz (4-0) and Knicks (3-0), and 21-28 against everybody else.

    The problem with starting Speights is Young and Iguodala aren’t shooters. Both are threes, which is and may continue to be a problem.

  27. Ryan F says:

    Tom – That is the exact reason why I cannot understand why Stefanski didn’t or couldn’t make a move.  If Thad is supposed to be a “great” player one day, and we already have a guy at the same position who is solid and better than Thad will ever be IMO, why didn’t he try to package him with Miller to get us some help where we need it.  Maybe he tried and nothing worked but I doubt it, he probably said there was no way he would move Thad and tried getting the most for nothing.

  28. Ryan F says:

    I think Thad is going to be a GOOD player in this league for a while, but he’s a SF and we already have a guy who eats up minutes at that position.

  29. Tom Moore says:

    Did you notice what happened with Iguodala’s ninth rebound late in Wednesday’s game? It  was originally given to Young, who tapped it to him. In those instances, Young almost always is credited with the board, which the league might have done afterward if Iguodala had ended up with a triple-double.

  30. jkay says:

    Ryan F: if he’s our best chip, why in such a rush to trade him. personally i think its only a matter of time before he’s gone (sorry Greek). why not wait for the package to gather some real steam (say 15plus ppg by next year). not like you’re gonna get anything good this year.

    2one5: Much as I love Speights increased playing time for him is not deserved. he’s not a solid player yet; offense is easy to him but other than that….? he rebounds poorly and can D up even sized players, he’s never gonna learn if he thinks what he’s doing is satisfactory. there’s a reason he’s a rookie. if he starts and scores 26…so? doesnt necessarily mean elton brand drops down the depth chart. next year PT will increase but you’re trying to force it. i HOPE it will happen quickly though. say 2 yrs. who knows maybe we could be talking Brand trade then.

  31. Tom Moore says:

    BTW: The Sixers wouldn’t say if they’re one of the 15 teams borrowing money from the league. Check out my blog (starts with headline “Sixers won’t say”) at: http://www.phillyburbs.com/opinions/blogs/intell_blogs/tom_moore.html

  32. jkay says:

    typo – can’t as opposed to can

  33. jkay says:

    2one5: above post #30 redundant. ignore.

    Wow LeBron is really going off. this will be his first MVP if the Cavs take 1 seed from KG-free Celts. IF he was on our team, stuff would be soooo simple.

  34. 2one5 says:

    @ jkay
    About speights thats fine we dont need to start him put evans at the 4, theo, i dont care I just want thad at 3 and iggy at the 2 for the rest season I’m trying to say that I want to know if they can play together or learn to play together, if not, one must be moved for a legit 2 guard. I dont want to go into next season with the same set of questions we have now. I dont care about the playoffs 6th to 8th seed is the same thing. 

  35. sfw says:

    Looks like Battier took out Lebron last night. That rarely happens.

  36. Dannie says:

    SFW – Did you watch the game?  I watched much of it and it was Ron Artest defending LeBron when they were on the floor together.  Sometimes Battier got matched up on him on switches but for the most part Artest was the primary defender.

    Ron Artest if underrated as a player in my opinion.  I wanted the Sixers to get him when he was available when AI was still here.  Perfect guy to pair with AI to hide his defensive deficiencies. And Ron Artest isn’t a guy that dominates the ball  either.

    One subtle thing that REALLY stood out to me.  LeBron usually bullies guys because he is so physically dominating.  Last night he couldn’t do that against Ron.  One play in the post LeBron just tried to body him and push him back under the basket, Artest held his ground tougher than anyone I’ve ever seen defend LeBron.

    That Rockets team defensively is great to watch.  And swapping out Alston and Lowry adds a tough, quick point guard defender they never had.  Brook does the scoring Lowry is the pest.  I think Houston makes a nice run and if they can find some harmony on offense can scare some of the top teams because of their defense.

    I just wanted to make sure praise is where it should be, with Artest. He doesn’t get enough credit for being a talented player that actually knows how to and loves to get after it defensively.

  37. Dannie says:

    Jkay – If the Sixers had LeBron things would be better, but not simple.  Still lack shooters and that makes it easier to defense LeBron. 

    The blueprint is simple, the execution takes a lot of luck and savvy.  Get a dominating player like that and surround him with unselfish defenders and reliable shooters.

  38. The Greek says:

    jkay, lol dude. 

    I love the fact that the majority of us are thinking alike.  Get thad, speights, and Iggy on the court at the same time and see what happens.  But then again we were all hooting and hollering for Willie Greene to be sent away last year and that never happened.   Although I do know see that the reason that willie greene is always starting is because Andre Miller can’t guard air.  Which also leads me to wanting to see Iggy Guard the opposing pg.

  39. Dannie says:

    Greek – Like he guarded T.J. Ford at the end of the Pacers loss. Hmm

    Not a believer that Iguodala is all that quick on the perimeter defensively to defend point guards effectively.

  40. sfw says:

    Dannie, just looked at the boxscore. Wow, with Artest & Battier Houston should defend the hell out of the opposition.  Thanks for providing the straight scoop on that and for fixing my link the other day.

  41. Tom Moore says:

    Ivey is the Sixers’ best perimeter defender. Hard to say who’s second — Green or Iguodala, I guess, because it’s not Miller or Lou Williams.

  42. Dave T says:

    2on5: Absolutely agree with sliding Iguodala to the 2 and Thad to the 3.  To me the issue is not so much a “Speights deserves etc” at the 4…I’d be fine with Speights starting the 4 to get him some burn, and also be fine with Reggie Evans starting the 4, as he has proved more than capable of doing as a fill in.  But I think you make a great point in saying that this team SHOULD KNOW GOING INTO NEXT SEASON if Iguodala and Thad can coexist at the wing spots together. Or, if they can’t right now…at least give them more PT at the 2/3 spots so they’ll have experience under their belt so when 09-10 rolls around and Brand is back,things will come easier.

    Bski: I could not agree more about your comment with the Sixers lack of fire.  This utterly disgusts me; I am absolutely sick of the team not showing up some games.  Others will argue “it’s a long season, they will coast.”  I agree…you cant play ALL 82 games like they are your last.  Fatigue and burnout will set in.  But what pisses me off most is the inconsistency within a game. I’m all fine with the Sixers collectively just giving crap effort one night every now and then.  It happens.  But why on EARTH, in games when you DO show fire and intensity, can you not keep this going for three quarters, let alone four? 

    This is exactly why I want Avery Johnson as our next coach. He holds people accountable and can change a culture.  He has no problem sitting players that aren’t playing hard and taking a hard line stance.  I’d bench Iguodala in a freaking heartbeat when I saw a whole quarter go by with lack of effort from him.  This happens five games in a row, I guaruntee you Iguodala is coming out with guns blazing on offense and playing defense like he did his rookie year. 

    Dannie: Could not agree more about Artest.  I mean, if it wasn’t for the Detroit brawl, for the last 5 years Artest would have been, IMO, ranked as the 2nd best SF in the NBA.  Over P Pierce, over Marion, over Melo, over VC, over Peja.  Artest’s defense is a thing of beauty, and he is truly one of the few legitimate on ball defenders in the NBA that will not back down, will man up anyone, is frekaing fearless, and just intuitively understands how to stop a man with his feet.  On court, the Sixers could take a few lessons from how intensely he plays.  His bball IQ has also always been great…wonderful at setting screens, moving without the ball, and an underrated passer that is usually an unselfish player. 

    Dannie, just as you thought we were insane to not pick him up that one year, I thought Denver had lost their minds in not trading for him when they had the chance a year and a half back.  To have a frontcourt 3/4/5 of Artest, K-Mart/Nene and Camby?  Who the hell could possibly score on that?  Talk about intimidating, jesus.  And they didn’t pull that deal because of LINUS KLEIZA!!!  That frontcourt along with AI/Melo is a team you could have gone to war with. 

  43. RRose says:

    I would still rather have iggy on the ball at crunch time defending the other teams best guard whether its point or SG.  He did well with Mayo so for the bad against Ford there was a good against him.  Miller on the ball defense is as bad as Sammy’s over the shoulder, one-handed, no look outlet passes he throws.  Can Moses or Ruland explain to him how to get a break going with a good outlet pass?  His bball IQ is -10. 

  44. bski says:

    Dave T….I don’t know if I’ve just been irritable lately or what but I’m almost ready to pull the plug on this season.

    I have been very faithful to this team, as I’m sure everyone else here has been also, but I’m not seeing what I’d like to be and what I think we should be.

    My eyes could be weary, after all it is a long season, but I just don’t (still don’t) see solid screens, sharp cuts, focus, or determination a lot of the time.  What I see is a lot of drifting, floating, and going through the motions.  It’s enough to lull me to sleep, which is why I’m to the point of letting my attention drift away from this team.

    I understand that you can’t play every game like it’s game 7 of the finals, but the Sixers are too far in the other direction, especially for this point in the season.  We are almost 3/4 through the season.  The end is in sight.  If you can’t buckle down and play with intensity every night from here on out over the last 20-something games, especially when you’re fighting for the playoffs, then why am I watching you?  

    Again, it’s probably me but the game against the Wiz has really pushed me to the brink.  The Sixers looked like they were content to just run up and down the floor and trade baskets with the Wiz.  I’m not saying they took them completely for granted, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they didn’t feel particularly threatened by them and figured that they would be able to make more than enough plays to beat them.

    It’s time to see something come together, starting tonight.  Being almost 3/4 through the season, and having DiLeo as head coach for almost 1/2 the season, we should certainly know what we want to accomplish on both ends of the floor and should have the focus to do a better job of getting it done.  A sense of urgency wouldn’t hurt either, IMO.

    I’m probably a little too bent out of shape over this, but I’m telling you if I don’t see something from them, and soon, I won’t be tuning in much longer.

  45. The Greek says:

    Dannie in a perfect world I would like to see Iggy covering the opposing teams best wing player.   The bottom line is that I would rather see Iggy cover the point then have Willie Greene on the court.  

  46. Dannie says:

    I’d rather have Ivey on the ball at the end of the game.

  47. tk76 says:

    BKSI, its been a long, frustrating season.  I still think they might have one more run in them, but either way I’d focus on watching to see how the young players are performing.  Spights obviously, but also seeing how well Young adapts to the wing is interesting.

    Over at Depressedfan, there is talk of Ed suggesting the Sam/Speights/Thad/Iguodala/Miller line-up will get some more PT.  That in itsl;ef should be sonmething to look forward to.

  48. Tom Moore says:

    I agree, Dannie. I think Ivey is the best on-the-ball option.

  49. deepsixersuede says:

    Dannie, with the cap going down maybe Artest signs for the midlevel exemption. Would he be considered a guy E.S. would pay luxury tax for ?

  50. bski says:

    TK76….Thanks for trying to pick me up a bit.

    I really don’t like being negative.  For some reason though this poor post all-star break stretch has gotten to me.  I usually find something good to focus on—I’ve actually become very good at it thanks to the Phillies, who gave me no other choice for YEARS— that keeps me watching, like the development of Speights and Young like you mentioned. 

    I think what’s really got me is that they are so up and down.  If they established something, gained some traction, and made steady improvement, I’d feel a whole lot better about them going forward.  The way it looks to me now, we’re going to need either major growth and development in the young guys or a roster shakeup in order to improve significantly next year.

    Anyway, I’ll keep watching—I always do—and I’ll find something with the team to perk myself up again.

  51. Dave T says:

    Bski: People usually think bad teams get annoying and tiring…but it’s really the mediocre teams that are always the most frustrating to follow.  At least if a team is bad, you freaking know it.  Kings, Thunder, Wizards and Grizzlies fans KNOW they aren’t going to the playoffs, know their teams will likely get pounded on any single night, and are ONLY there in support of the continued future growth of their teams.  Teams a little above or below .500…so much more frustrating because they tease will good play and get hopes up…only to dash them and have just as many negatives.  It’s tough. 

    But I will say this: I know any time I get pissed off and frustrated at our assembled roster (really from 05-09), I just think back to the three 93-95 years.  Talk about hopeless…Jeff Malone, Sharone Wright, Shawn Bradley, Trevor Ruffin, Vernon Maxwell, a young terrible ballhogging Jerry Stackhouse.  THOSE were some TERRIBLE teams, and I will never ever forget how depressing it was to be a fan then (although I do pine for the Clarence Weatherspoon days…). 

    It reminds me to appreciate the fact we will at least make the playoffs this year and the future is looking anywhere between mediocre to very bright, all depending on the growth of Thad and Speights, how Brand returns to health, and Iguodala taking his game one notch to another level.

  52. bski says:

    Dave T…..Yeah, I guess it’s my expectations for this season more than anything that’s taken my enjoyment down a notch.

    Two years ago we traded Iverson, so I basically gave them an adjustment/transition grace period.  Expectations were low.  Just wanted to see how/if  Miller would fit, how Iguodala would respond, etc…

    Last year we struggled for a while, so again expectations were low.  Then Stefanski says play the young guys and get out and run.  Fun to see that come together like it did.

    This year with Brand coming in, well you know what we were all expecting.  Tough for the team to deal with him in the lineup, then out of it, then back in (a little bit), then back out permanently. 

    The thing is, I’m not really disappointed in the season because, with all the Brand stuff going on, I really didn’t expect that much again.  What gets me is that, just like we don’t have Brand now, we didn’t have Brand last year either and I don’t think we are playing as well now as we did then.  I kind of see it as a regression from what the same guys did in the past, when I was hoping for further development over what they did last year instead.

    There did seem to be development during both the 06-07 and 07-08 seasons.  I haven’t seen that during this season.  Maybe the coaching change is having more of an impact on this.   Maybe we didn’t really progress the way I thought we did over the previous two seasons.  I don’t know.  It just seems to me like we’re spinning our wheels this year and I’m having a tough time with it.