Our team is not about excuses so instead of lamenting the fact that we were shorthanded we will just congratulate the 76ers on a very well played game. They have a very nice team and we parallel each other in many ways. They have a very strong bench and have shooters that can make you pay for backing off of them. They are physical on defense and have a couple of very athletic players who can use either length (Young) or strength (Iguodala) to make you very uncomfortable.
So hats off to them, they won fair and square. Do I think that it might have been different with our other players? Yes, but that does not imply that I think we would have cake walked to a win. They are a good young team.
However having said all of that Iím not worried about tonightís loss other than the fact that it goes in the ďLĒ column. This upcoming week is going to be a test to say the least but letís be honest with ourselves here, we need to know if this team is really about being one of the best in the east or if we are just going to at the top tier of the lower end.
Now I pray to God that Tylerís eye is ok and that he can go vs. the Hawks. If he misses then our entire teamís chemistry and physical play changes. If both he and Hill are out then I think that this is going to be one painful week.
Letís do the good the bad and the ugly tonight.
Team effort: I was proud that we battled hard all night long, not only were we missing players but the players who we were counting on to pick up the pace struggled (in a couple of cases that is putting it mildly). But overall I think the teamís energy was right where you wanted it to be, I think everybody left everything on the floor but at the end of the day we are still suffering from an amazing lack of ability to hit open shots.
Roy Hibbert: Spencer Hawes has done a magnificent job of resurrecting his career in Philadelphia. He has become one of the good young centers in the NBA and I think the 76ers should be happy to have him. However he couldnít guard Roy and if anybody would have been able to get the ball to Roy (or better yet hit an open shot to take the double team option away) he would have had a monster night. But between his ankle, fatigue and our guards amazing ability to not get a good entry pass he just outplayed Hawes. Again, that sound you hear in the background is the cash register ringing with David Faulk pushing the buttons.
Tyler Hansbrough: When he was on the court he was very effective and was really on his way to fouling out the front line of the 76ers. However a scratched eye took him out of the game so he didnít have the stat line that he could have. Am I the only one who panics whenever Tyler gets a hit to the head? I just do NOT want anything to affect his balance or make him miss games. He is FAR too important to our club this season for him to miss any extended time.
Dahntay Jones: Ok I know this isnít going to be popular because yes there were a couple of times that the offense stalled when he was in the game. But overall I thought he did a very admirable job of filling in for Danny and he certainly had one of the most spectacular blocks of the season when he jammed Hawes right at the rim. He shot 50% from the floor so in a way he was an improvement over Granger from that aspect anyway. Yes he has his warts but I think he did exactly what you would want the backup to do when they have to step into a starting role.
David West: He tried to keep us going. He is having a very rough time getting his shot to fall (like everyone else on our team) and Iím beginning to wonder if he isnít further out of shape than what we originally thought. But overall he played a smart game and his rebounding was solid. I probably would put him in the decent category other than good but weíll go with this for now.
Lance Stephenson: He would have to improve his game from tonight to be bad, in fact he was abysmal. He had a good steal and a nice break away, but other than that? If it were possible to assign someone to the D-League mid game I would have been all for it. I donít get it to be honest with you. Other than a decent ability to handle the ball and make some very good passes I havenít seen really a lot of reasons why we are force feeding this guy min. and Iím not a Lance hater at all. But he canít shoot, is a horrid defender and is sometime careless with the basketball but other than that I guess he must be a heck of a player.
Darren Collison: This was just not Darrenís night. Heís been very good for most of the season but he couldnít make a clean pass in the post to save his soul tonight and obviously shooting was not on the menu either. Iíll give him a pass because for the most part this season he has been very good. But even his defense took a step backwards tonight.
Paul George: SNL cast members are (or were Iím not sure if they still do or not) called not ready for prime time players. Well, um yea. Donít let the decent stat line fool you, this was not a good game by the young talented player at all. Lots of sloppy dribbling, a few head down drive to the lane and charge over the defender when other options were available and once again like everyone else just some very poor shooting. Now he did do a good job on the glass so I want to credit him with that. Heíll do better next time.
A.J. Price: Ok his overall game was not ugly, it was in fact bad, but Iím sorry two boneheaded plays in the 4th quarter were just too much for me. I donít know which was worse his pull up jumper that he missed only to eventually get the ball back and take and miss the exact same shot again with almost no time off of the clock and not looking for anything else or his brilliant pass behind Collison that blew a four on one fast break. Now mind you both of these plays occurred when the game still mattered and in could have been a chance for us to get some momentum, not saying it would have, but this didnít help. Itís early in the season for him and I still would prefer him on the floor to Lance but sorry this just wasnít his best game, not by a long shot. To his credit though he did do a better job on defense than Collison did.
Ok, tough loss but not something we can dwell on and certainly not something that any of us should be making any kind of grand statements about one way or the other.
We all need to get together tomorrow and pass around El Paceroís drum and beat on it for awhile and do a healing dance for Tylerís eye and Georgeís back. While were at it we should all chip in some money to get Danny a bottle of Maalox.