Nov 22 2014

Knicks Top Sixers, Dream For 70 Wins Dies

Philadelphia 76ers 83 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 New York Knicks
Nerlens Noel, PF 39 MIN | 6-11 FG | 5-10 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -12Nerlens played what was easily the best game of his young career. He made a point to attack New York’s feeble front line, and it paid off with 10 free throw attempts as well as a couple chances to show off some nifty post moves. This was exactly the kind of game that Nerlens needed after a few consecutive rough offensive performances.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 29 MIN | 4-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | -6It was a tough night for Philadelphia’s backcourt, and MCW may have been the worst of the bunch. He looked visibly frustrated after throwing a few nice passes that led to missed shots by his teammates early in the first quarter, and that frustration seemed to stick with him through the entire game. He also shot the ball poorly in addition to making a lot of sloppy reads, and it makes you wonder whether he’s just getting his footing back or if he simply didn’t watch enough Ellen this week.

Robert Covington, SF 14 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +12Robert Covington’s tenure in Philadelphia had been a bit disappointing up until the fourth quarter tonight, where he hit four 3-pointers and almost single-handedly kept the Sixers in the game. Hopefully this was a sign of things to come rather than just a flukey performance for Covington, because Philadelphia needs any shooting that it can get at the moment.

Drew Gordon, C 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0You may not have noticed that Drew Gordon played in this game tonight, and that’s fine. He was able to notch an infamous 0-0-0-0-0 line in about three minutes of playing time. Why is he taking up a roster spot again?

Alexey Shved, PG 8 MIN | 1-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -4Alexey got nearly a full eight-minute stretch as the lead ball handler at the end of the first half, and once again squandered his opportunity to impress. He’s starting to look a lot like the player he was in Minnesota, who would hopelessly chuck shots in an attempt to make the most out of his limited playing time. The dream might be over with Shved in Philadelphia.


By the Numbers

0.72 – The Sixers had an assist/turnover ratio of 0.72, recording 18 turnovers and 13 assists. That is the opposite of good.

Quote of the Game

At one point during the first quarter, the on-court cameras caught Henry Sims loudly screaming “FUCK” after picking up a foul. We agree, Henry.

Tweet of the Game

It’s only a matter of time…

Parting Shots

The argument for “veteran presence” is about as trite as it gets at this point, but the utter lack of experience on this Sixers squad seems to only be digging them into deeper holes. The mistakes made tonight were about as careless as they were frequent, and many of the role players look to have either hit a wall in their progression or are Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Rumors swirled yesterday that Andre Kirilenko might be making his way to Philly in a trade that would be a salary dump for the Nets, and it is unlikely that Hinkie will keep the 6-9 Russian around if the deal strikes. But even though Kirilenko is 33 and well past his prime, I’d want him to stick around for a while and work as a guy who, oh I don’t know, knows how to pick up simple on simple instructions, and how to play basketball. These games are only getting harder to watch, and anybody resembling Kirilenko, who was an absolute joy in his prime, could add some much-needed flair to this putrid Philadelphia bench.

  • robbybonfire23

    Two of the biggest deficits for this team include assists, with many players not looking to set up teammates; also the turnovers were prolific enough with just Wroten being the solitary outlandish embarrassment, until MCW made his belated seasonal appearance and racked up his 26 assists on the season, to go with his 27 apple turnovers. Putting this into perspective, Wroten has 73 assists to go with his 48 apples.

    Plus MCW’s 5-24 start from downtown indicates that this coach needs to shut him down from outside – assuming this coach wants to coax a few wins out of this bunch, which may be a stretch. Red Auerbach’s career winning percentage is not in jeopardy around here, any time soon.

    And speaking of MCW taking night’s off, how about 1 (!) assist from our point guard in 29 minutes of play??? Disgraceful, the Knicks are beatable on any given night. This losing streak looks headed toward 40+ when you factor lackluster effort and invisible team cohesiveness with spotty ability and uninspired coaching. Hey, at least my UCLA Bruins won a football game, tonight, so this suffering the worst professional basketball team on the planet albatross is not so bothersome, at the moment.

    P.S. – As regards any “dream” attached to Sheved’s tenure in Philadelphia, his coming in here with a FG shooting percentage of 37 per cent, two years ago, and 32 per cent last year, kind of squashed that illusion around my household. But then, had we opted for Anthony Bennett, instead, we would have three wins by now, so, by our convoluted logic, we came out ahead on that timely decision.

    • Xylon Dimoff

      As far as MCW’s assist numbers go, he did have 3 secondary assists for what it’s worth. Player tracking box scores don’t show assist chances, but I know he had at least two in the first quarter that were blown by his teammates.

      Regarding his shooting, Derek Bodner over at Liberty Ballers reported the other day that Coach Brown is letting the players experiment with shooting for about the first 1/3 of the season, and if there isn’t any significant improvement beyond that point then they have to stop shooting. So if MCW’s percentage doesn’t go up soon I’m sure we’ll be seeing less 3s from him (although I’m not sure that’s what’s best for his development).

      • robbybonfire23

        When I do hockey stats on players, FIRST thing I do is throw out secondary assists. Basketball does not need secondary assist creampuff stat fillers, either.

        • Xylon Dimoff

          Well, your complaint was that they weren’t moving the ball enough, and secondary assists are a prime indicator of good ball movement. And I’m not sure what makes a secondary assist much more arbitrary than a regular assist.

          And as far as the ball movement in general goes, the Sixers are actually third in the league in passing. They’re not losing games because they’re not moving the ball, they’re losing because they have one of the worst rosters in NBA history.

          • robbybonfire23

            If you are a hockey fan you have seen hockey teams that pass, pass, pass and frequently do not get a shot on goal out of it. A lot can go wrong when you take the indirect route to the objective.

            You may have touched on one of the keys for this team’s failures, in citing the proclivity for passing, because when you pass a lot, but you are coming up short in the assists column, as this team assuredly is, this indicates break-downs are frequently occurring during the passing process.

            It seems that a high number of passes during a possession is no guarantee of getting off a shot. Also, the high number of passes is undoubtedly lending itself to the ghastly total of turnovers this team is committing.

            This falls back on coaching – and while I don’t want to pass judgment on this coach before the team is competitive and primarily focused upon winning, you can see some self-defeating strategies, starting with the pass-happy offense, along with his giving some “grinder” players too many minutes, and others with perhaps a modicum of promise not enough minutes, so that some doubts are creeping in as to what we have here by way of a strategist and tactician, and whether he fits this exceedingly long-term planning organizational philosophy?

          • Xylon Dimoff

            I really think you’re throwing blame at the wrong people here. The team is about league-average in assist opportunities created per game, they just don’t convert them because this is one of the worst rosters in NBA history. The primary scoring lanes are shut off because nobody on this team can shoot, and passing is basically the team’s only option if it wants to find an efficient shot at the basket. The Sixers drive to the rim more than any team in the league, yet only shoot about 40% on those shots. I’d rather see them try to execute some efficient scoring opportunities through passing rather than them just driving recklessly into a wall of defenders.

            And regarding Brown’s development, well we have no idea of knowing whether anybody else would do a better job. Player development and game execution are to completely separate categories and it’s very possible that he might be much better at one than the other (see: Scott Brooks). I agree that some of his decisions this season have been questionable and he hasn’t been quite as impressive as last season, but the fact that he keeps the team hanging around in the games that they have is pretty remarkable by itself.

          • robbybonfire23

            I am not advocating driving on a defense that is in place, that’s an offensive foul. I am not advocating anything. Just observing that they turn the ball over too much, plus I am not impressed with all the passing, because it indicates players are not getting open, and with a 24-second shot clock, they run the seconds down to where they have to take a bad shot. So many of the low percentage, bad-angle shots are forced by the clock, so that a deliberate, passing-style offense is obsolete and self-defeating in this “run n’ gun” league.

            Interesting stat, driving to the rim but getting just 40 per cent shots when that happens. I don’t have the answers to all these arcane, esoteric print out stat sheets. My problem with this team is the fact that it could be competitive right now, were it not tanking, plus the fact that MCW and Noel are looking more like budding lunch pail guys than future stars in this league.

            Embiid, so long as he stays sound, and Wroten are not going to have enough help to bring one single championship home to Philadelphia, a reward for patience and for all this weak-sister posturing, which came with the empty promise of future glory.

            This team will be lucky to win a division title in the next five years, given that Toronto and Boston seem to know what they are doing. Anything derails Embiid and this team built on a sandcastle will be permanently reduced to “Just make the playoffs, Baby.”

            Three years of humiliating, abject incompetence just to get back to the .500 level, is not cutting it, from where I stand. Because the .500 level in three years is the upside for this dark ages franchise, truth be told.

      • robbybonfire23

        If MCW’s “development” is more important than his playing a team-first oriented game, then I say “bring it on.” But when the hell does winning one friggin’ game become THE priority around here?

        • Xylon Dimoff

          The two aren’t mutually exclusive. The Sixers aren’t 0-13 because MCW is shooting 20.8% in a laughably small sample size, there’s way more problems than that outside of him. And yes, in rebuilding seasons, an argument can certainly be made that player development is more important than winning games. But again, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. The problem isn’t that MCW and Noel are trying to develop, it’s that the team is forced to play guys like LRMAM and Brandon Davies 20-30 minutes a game.

  • robbybonfire23

    Every play-making guard in basketball would have double his number of assists if forwards hit for a higher percentage of inside, outside, and off-balance and bad-angle shots. It’s part of the game. Maybe better-spotted passes from these PG’s would help, in that regard. It’s the same in football, the QB threads the needle, or you can have an interception, it is a fine line between success and failure on every play.

    I wouldn’t get too wrapped up with “sympathy” for MCW’s modest assist totals. What this team needs is a swift kick in the ass and a little fire, not a pat on the back when they have collectively under-achieved with the best (well, worst) of team’s in NBA history, so far.