The Sixers shot 54% from the field, to the Suns 53% Monday night. They also shot better from the charity stripe. Not to mention winning the turnover battle as well as the battle under the boards. It just wasn’t enough to beat the Western Conference leading Phoenix Suns.
Coming out on top in the categories above will get you a W in the NBA on most nights. However, when it comes to the Sixers and what ails them, the 3 point shot has killed them even back to last season. And it once again buried them, this time courtesy of the Phoenix Suns and Jason Richardson. Richardson was the main culprit, at one point going 6-6 from three-point land, finishing 6-8, on his way to scoring a team high 29 points.
The Sixers went 5-13 from beyond the arc, while the Suns shot an impressive 15-30. And if you do the math at home (and I know all our faithful Phinally Philly readers can) that’s 50% from the three-point line, hard to win a game when a team does that against you.
The Sixers seemed to have things well under control in the first half leading by 12 at Half-time. However, in the second half the Suns did what 7-1 teams do, and the Sixers did what 3-4 teams do. The Suns made adjustments, and the Sixers did their best to respond but were eventually worn down by the better team, period.
In the second half the Suns worked the pick-and-roll more, really attacking the Sixers weakness, and they weren’t able to adjust accordingly. Which allowed Steve Nash to dominate, he finished with 21 points, going 8-8 from the free throw line.
* Both Elton Brand and Samuel Dalembert played limited minutes. When asked about it after the game Eddie Jordan stated that the Sixers weren’t “experimenting,” he’s just trying to find out what guys can do.
I think it’s pretty clear, no matter what Jordan says. He’s starting to realize how Brand and Dalembert bring this team down, especially when playing against high-tempo teams like Phoenix. What Brand gave the Sixers tonight (4-8, 10 pts, 2 rebounds, 1 steal) is acceptable if you’re an average bench player. Though it’s certainly not acceptable for a player being paid like Brand is, nor with the expectations that come with him. As for Dalembert his numbers compared to Brands from tonight are similar, but he looks lost as usual. In Sammy’s own little world he thinks of himself as one of the NBA’s best Centers and you can see it on his face and by the way he acts on the court. He simply can not be on the floor anymore than he already is, or the Sixers don’t have a chance.
* Surprised we haven’t seen Jason Smith’s minutes increased yet. He can certainly help the Sixers on both ends of the floor and his range from outside can definitely produce match up problems for opponents.
* Jrue Holiday showed us a possible glimpse into the future with his strong play on both ends. We already knew he had a strong defensive game but he also showed he can be aggressive on the offensive end when given the chance. So far Holiday has shown at least the raw traits needed to be a good point guard in the NBA. The ability to shut down the opposing teams scorer, and showing assertiveness with the ball when opportunities present themselves. The kid could be molded into one heck of a player.
* Thaddeus Young had a relatively solid game, working to get out of his season long slump. His progression is important to the success of this team, and so far he’s had trouble finding his role in Eddie Jordan’s new system. He’s too good of a player to continue to be a non-factor out there. He’ll come around, tonight was a good first step against a tough Phoenix team.
* Marreese Speights played nearly 30 minutes and impressed during almost all of them. Speights continues to be, in my mind, the Sixers best player so far this season. He’s been an absolute monster under the boards and when he gets the ball, no matter who he’s matched up against, he’s rarely been denied. I called for more playing time for this guy and Eddie Jordan has listened, now all he needs to do is put him in the starting line-up.
About the Author
Written by Mike Santa Barbara
Sports writer covering mostly Philadelphia sports for over 10 years. Work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com and Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (CSNPhilly.com.)