Game #20: Ugh… Belated Thoughts On Sixers/Celtics

a 79-92 semi-blowout LOSS at the hands of the Boston Celtics, and resident Super Villain, Rajon Rondo


Let’s start with the caveat that it is really hard to win both ends of a home and home against a bitter rival. Particularly a rival who is better than you are.

After the crazy, I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter overtime win on Friday, you could talk yourself into a couple of scenario’s for Saturday night in Boston:

1) After a grueling overtime session, the verdant legs of the Sixers would run all over the Celtics as the hoary veterans of Boston (Garnett, Pierce, and Terry a combined 106 years of age) would be running in concrete all night…


2) Still smarting from a game they should have won, the Boston squad delivers a singapore caning to impudent young Sixers

Guess what happened…

the video’s grainy, but that was Doc Rivers showing what he would to the churlish bottom of Evan Turner on Saturday night.


Scoring a embarrassing 16 points in the 1st quarter, followed by a humiliating 12 points in the 2nd. Down 20 at the break, on the road, in Boston. GAME OVER…

But as this loss concluded 1/4 mark of the regular season, I thought this would be a good time to take stock fo what we’ve learned about our 11-9 Sixers.

(Editors note: we will now commence with some nerd stats, and a zapruder like break down of the Sixers defensive rotations. It won’t be very funny, unless you think Spencer Hawes attempting to execute or defend a Pick and roll is funny…)

Doug Collins excercise ball

OVERALL OFFENSE: Collins’ stubborn game plan for the Sixers Offense is clearly a pick and pop game rooted in the highly questionable premise that Hawes/Allen can set a screen, make a jumpshot, and execute an entry pass from the high post.

In reality it’s been the worst screen setting imaginable, followed by Hawes/Allen mostly bricking jumpers. it looks something like this… (video courtesy Rich Hoffman at

Spencer Shooting an abysmal 31% on long twos this season, Lavoy shooting 34%. teams are begging them to take this shot. Clearly the only thing keeping Hawes on the floor is that Collins really likes that mullet/mustache/Sixers Jersey look…

Collins mustache mullet hawes mullet

The result is the Sixers running isolation with one hand tied behind thier back, and the occasional mismatch post up of Thad Young. Currently good for the 24th ranked offense in the league, in spite of a cake early schedule…

JRUE: The story of the Sixers young season is the emergence of Holiday as a sort of, maybe, Star point gaurd.  Holiday has converted an eye popping 72.3% of his shots at the rim (By comparison Lebron James is making 75.3%) and a Dirk Nowizki-esque 50% from 10-15 feet.


The scary thing is he’s racked up his 18pts 9asts averages while quietly having the worst long range shooting season of his career. If Holiday reverts to his career averages for long two’s and and three pointers, he would be brushing up against the Elite offensive point gaurds in the league.

The downside, he still can’t draw a foul to save his life, drawing only 1 foul shot per 4.13 fg attempts.

TURNER: Sort of the reverse story from Holiday, Turner’s micro-rennaisance is the direct result of making team’s pay for leaving him wide open for 3, and drawing a nearly respectable level of foul shots.

let’s not fool ourselves, he’s not a great scorer. But he’s doing just enough to allow his superior passing and rebounding skills to make a viable offensive player, who maybe can keep growing.

THE REST: Thaddeus Young continues his unerring pursuit of  being Thaddeus Young. He’s exactly who you think he is, which is a pretty damn useful player on both ends of the floor.

The gang of Shooters who can’t get thier own shot. They look good against bad defenses when Holiday/Turner can drive and dish. Against Boston/Chicago/Minnesota? They look useless. this will be a continued theme.

OVERALL DEFENSE: We all know they have a problem in the middle, that’s undeniable. But the rotted root of the Sixers defensive woes is they are a horrible help defense team, playing an elaborate help defense scheme


Let this play illustrate:

Pause at the 1second mark: The double comes on a red hot Rondo. Right decision.

Pause at the 2second mark:  Rondo goes up for a pass. RIchardson and Wright are inexplicably double teaming Jared freakin’ Sullinger. Turner thinks he is hedging off of his man to help on Garnett, but in reality is two far away to do anything on either player.

Pause at the 3second mark: Pass Comes, turner is betwixt and between, out of the play. Wright attempts to display the relativity of simultaniaty by going for a steal and exciting dunk BEHIND the pass recipient. Alas, Wright has yet to fully unlock the mysteries of Time and Space…


Pause at the 4Second mark: 5 Sixers watch an uncontested Celtics Dunk

PICK AND ROLL DEFENSE: An example from Saturday. A middle school pick and roll play. The Double comes on Rondo, No one else seems to notice this. uncontested dunk.

Hawes is by far your biggest culprit, generally hanging back an letting the oppenent play 2 on 1 against the gaurd. Lavoy a close 2nd. Unfortunately your wings seem too slow/oblivious to offer help behind.

Here is a Pick and Roll Montage from the TWolves game (courtesy

pause at the 22second mark. Ridnour runs a pick and roll with Love, Young hedges and pushes ridnour back, good man

Pause at the 24second mark: A 2nd pick comes, Hawes let’s them paly 2 on 1 on Jrue, ostensibly to hang back and be a tall white guy under the rim…

Pause at the 25second mark: Ridnour uses the pick to get a slight angle on Jrue, Hawes lurking tall and white

Pause at the 26second mark: Hawes NOW decides to stick his man. Abondons Holiday for a 2nd time and concedes the layup.

Primary Conclusion? Hawes is very bad at defense:

Secondary Conclusion? While I think last 2 years showed that Doug Collins has a fabulous defensive system. He clearly doesn’t have the players to run it.

Tertiary Conclusion? An Offense that get’s shut down by good defenses, and a defense that get’s shredded by good offenses, means the Sixers won’t beat very many good teams.

Quatanery Conclusion? The Sixers are not a good basketball team, but do a good job of beating other not good basketball teams. America.

spencer hawes flag


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