Posts Tagged ‘Spencer Hawes’

It’s hard to judge a team on two games, especially a game against the Nets, who were down Gerald Wallace and have every reason as an organization to want to lose games and try to retain their draft pick (it was traded to Portland, but is top three protected), or a game against the lowly Toronto Raptors.  I have to admit though, that after me throwing him under the bus just a couple of days ago, Collins seemingly made some very shrewd and difficult lineup changes prior to Tuesday’s tilt against the Nets.

Prior to the game, I was convinced that Doug would bench either Jrue or Evan for Jodie Meeks, but I never would’ve thought to bench Spencer.  It seemed like Spencer was such a vital component of their early season success.  His shotblocking, his rebounding, his great high post passing, and his ability to sink the face up jumper all seemed like critical components to the way the Sixers ran their offense, and neither Vucevic nor Lavoy was ever stellar as a starter in his place.  What I failed to take into account, is we’d never really seen Hawes play with the second unit, get the opportunity to dominate backup frontcourt players.  It’s okay if Vucevic just holds his own with that first unit, hits a few open shots, and holds his own on the boards and plays decent defense.  Spencer wasn’t doing a great deal more than that lately, and often he seemed to be doing less.  It also adds a much needed body to Collins’ rotation, which had been at just 8 players throughout the four game losing streak.  That had to be a factor in a season where guys are already worn out.

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Very tough loss to the Heat tonight for the Sixers.  If Iguodala hadn’t been raked badly in the eye by Mario Chalmers in the 3rd Quarter, I think it’s likely that the Sixers win tonight.  Of course Heat fans could easily say that having D-Wade sit out the night was just as detrimental to their squad, but that underestimates just how important Iguodala is to the Sixers on the defensive end.  Evan Turner went HAM tonight, dropping 26 (12 of 19) and 8 boards, but couldn’t slow Lebron as LBJ tied his season high with 40.  He got a little help from Spencer and Iguodala (while he was on the floor), but Jrue, Lou, Meeks, and Thad were a combined 15-42.  It’s a tough loss for multiple reasons:

1) It solidifies the Sixers futility against the Heat, as the Heat have only lost one game to the Heat in the “Big Three era,” that coming on the Sixers court in the first round of the playoffs last year

2) It moves the Sixers a full game and a half back of the surging Celtics.  And despite the fact that the Sixers have a more favorable schedule, they also have more road games, and have lost all of their momentum going into the home stretch.

3) They seemed to be right in the thick of things with Iguodala in the game.  Iguodala wasn’t “shutting down” Lebron by any means, but he was keeping him off the line, making him work a lot harder, and wreaking havoc in the passing lanes and the open court.

4) They broke down to hero ball again at the end of the game.  Lou Williams was in the game at the end and continued with the hero ball antics he seems to have been greenlighted for all season.  It was refreshing to see him on the bench as the Sixers continued to run their offense and sealed the Hawks in a close win on Saturday, but this was a regression.  It’s tough to say whether Doug would’ve had Lou out there if Iguodala had been out there, but he could’ve gone with Meeks, Jrue, & Turner – and instead he went with Lou.

It’s not the last chance the Sixers have to recapture the Atlantic or the last chance for “statement win,” but it would seem to indicate that the Sixers are in real trouble if they line up against the Heat in the first round again this year.

For those of you who hoped this was solely a blog about the Portland Trailblazers, the team I grew up on and will always love, as any self-respecting native Oregonian must, given the lack of other professional competition in the Land of the Empire Builders – I’m sorry to disappoint.  Having married a Philadelphian and lived in Philly for the last couple of years, I’ve begun to closely follow a second team, the 76ers.  Don’t worry, if there’s ever a rematch of the ’77 Finals, my allegiances will always still be with Rip City.  But when I moved here, having lived in New York, New England, and Oregon previously, I couldn’t believe how affordable a set of partial season tickets in excellent seats were for my family.  For a diehard basketball fan, I went initially (as I had to Kingdome games in Harlem) just to see the competition.  I hoped the Sixers would make the games interesting, but in the Eddie Jordan era, they seldom did.  I was struck by the lack of support or interest the Sixers had from local sports fans.  They weren’t good, but they were young and they were promising, and they were clearly trending in the right direction, even if after they lost a key leader with Andre Miller’s departure and got a patch of terrible coaching I could see that they were headed somewhere in the not too distant future.

This year, they’ve shown the ability to put it all together for brief stretches.  Lately, not so much, but with Spencer working his way back into the rotation, I have to think it’s coming soon.  I’ve been working on an interesting (or at least interesting to me) statistical project based on analysis of film from some individual Sixers games.  The project require hours of video analysis and I haven’t had the time to sift through all the film yet, but I’ll be sure to share my findings soon on that front.  I think they may provide some additional support for the value of Andre Iguodala on this team, although it’s hard for me to believe that after years of giving him shit about being an overpaid pseudo-star, this city doesn’t realize just how valuable he is to this franchise right now.

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