Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Time, the Comeback Falls Short

I really don't have a whole lot to say about last night's game, so here are the highlights:

I will say this, Andre Miller came out completely on fire, scoring at will, but as I've said before, when Andre Miller comes out shooting a lot, it hurts the team.

Sure, he was on fire and helping the Sixers keep pace with Orlando, but he failed to get anyone involved early on. And I mean anyone. Thaddeus Young was the only other Sixer to do any damage in the first quarter, and most of his points were on cleanup duty. It's just a fact for this team: When Andre Miller decides he's going to be a scorer and throw his distribution aside, the Sixers don't win.

Miller's line may look impressive from last night, 30 points, 7 boards, 12-20 shooting, but he only handed out 3 assists. Three. From your starting point guard. Who averages 6.5 on the year. Andre Miller didn't play his game, didn't do his job properly, and the Sixers suffered for it.

For a while there, this game looked like deja vu from game one. The Sixers fell behind by 18 again in the third quarter, and again, they mounted a comeback, this time led by Andre Iguodala, to cut it to 5. At that point, I was beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe the Sixers could pull it off two games in a row, especially with Dwight Howard ineffective and in foul trouble.

But it was not to be. Courtney Lee, who had a very strong start in game one, bested that performance, going off for 24 points last night and keeping the Sixers at bay. And down the stretch, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu found ways to score, never allowing the Sixers to really threaten late. The bad news for Philadelphia is Lewis and Hedo did it by going a combined 2-7 from three. Once they start knocking down their shots, and they will, the Sixers will be in big, big trouble.

Here's the thing about that fourth quarter: Dwight Howard fouled out with about three minutes left to play, leaving absolutely no shot-blocker inside for the Magic. Yet the Sixers, a horrible shooting team that actually plays best when getting to the rim, didn't go inside. Like, at all. With Howard out of the game. Instead, they settled for low percentage jump shots, not a good thing for a team that can't even make high percentage, open jump shots, and essentially took themselves out of their game. It was pretty pathetic strategy and makes you wonder what, exactly, Tony DiLeo was telling his guys out there.

Still, it's hard to harbor any ill will. The Sixers come back home tomorrow tied up 1-1, which is better than I thought would happen. The good news is, even with Orlando pulling away late last night, the Sixers proved through two games they can play with the Magic. The bad news is Orlando has been ice cold from three, and they're actually one of the better three-point shooting teams in the league. Oh, and the Sixers lost when Dwight Howard had a pretty bad game.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. I don't sweat Dwight Howard...his performance isn't indicative of that team's success (see their guard/wing play for that). The announcers were building it up like some great coup when Dwight left the game but he wasn't the reason their shooters were getting open (at least the whole reason). Courtney Lee taking Dre off the dribble and SVG's high screens to get Theo switching off his man or away from the basket were the big reasons they got mismatches.

  2. If Hedo was healthy, this would be no contest. He usually kills the sixers.