Sixers show lack of energy in huge loss to Pistons
To view this site, you need to have Flash Player 9.0.115 or later installed. Click here to get the latest Flash player.
It would be tough to argue that the first half of Wednesday night’s 94-76 loss to the previously winless Detorit Pistons wasn't the ugliest half of basketball since Doug Collins took over the Sixers.
“I was just talking to Rod [Thorn], Josh [Harris] and Tony [DiLeo], and in their words, it was one of the few times since I’ve been the coach of this team that they played with a lack of effort,” Collins said.
Actually, the first half of Wednesday’s debacle at the Wells Fargo Center could have been the worst stretch of hoops played in the NBA this season. Sure, the Toronto Raptors connected for just one field goal during the fourth quarter in Indiana on Tuesday night -- the first time that ever occurred since the shot clock was instituted in the NBA.
However, the Raptors used that one field goal and three free throws to hang on to win the game. Winning cures a lot of ills.
In this one, the Sixers never had a chance. They started out poorly, and then it got ugly. After that, the Sixers simply treaded water until the final buzzer put them out of their misery (see Instant Replay)
“We had no energy and eight games into the season you wonder why,” Collins said.
But what was the most alarming, at least for Collins, was that there was very little that as salvageable from Wednesday night’s defeat. The Sixers had no energy, no swagger and no life. As Collins pushed and prodded with his players, calling a timeout midway through the fourth quarter when the deficit reached 20 points to right some wrong, one had to wonder if the coach was the only one who cared.
Any idea why?
“I have no idea. We had a great practice yesterday. We were playing against a team that was desperate, 0-8, and I told them that they are a lot better than the record. I have no idea why. I really have any idea.”
The stats only tell half of the story for the Sixers. Yes, they were outrebounded by 19 (57-38) and shot just 29.8 percent to set a building record for futility. They also had just two players -- Lavoy Allen (14) and Jrue Holiday (12) -- reach double figures in scoring. But strangely, the Sixers set a building record for fewest turnovers in a game with four.
Yes, the Sixers committed just four turnovers, forced 18 of them and lost in a blowout.
How does that happen?
“I don’t know how many times I asked the coaches sitting on the sidelines, ‘What’s going on?’ I had no idea,” Collins said. “It was as if we were in slow motion.”
Not only were the Sixers in slow motion, but the Pistons pushed them around, too. Rookie Kyle Singler drove to the basket as if he had been doing it for years, while third-year center Greg Monroe seemed to get a hand on every loose ball and every carom off the rim. Singler finished the game with 16 points, while Monroe ate up the Sixers for 19 points and 18 rebounds.
Monroe combined with forward Jason Maxiell to pull down 30 rebounds. The Sixers were lucky to get 38.
“They picked us apart,” Collins said. “They threw the ball wherever they wanted to tonight, and all we did yesterday was work on getting into our offense. Then coming out of a timeout tonight, we’d call a play and our guys had trouble getting open. That just comes down to the will to get open. That’s all. And as I said before, I have no answers why we were so flat. I have no idea.”
The fact that the Sixers got pushed around by the winless Pistons didn’t sit well.
“It’s discouraging,” Holiday said. “When you see somebody beating up on you or punking you, you have to hit back.”
Instead, the Sixers answered with a hail of missed shots. Even when it appeared as if the Sixers were pushing the momentum back their way, the bricklaying became too discouraging and too much of a handicap to overcome.
The Sixers got within single digits in the second quarter only to finish 1 for 9 with five straight misses over the final 5:09 of the half. Later, with 6:11 left in the third quarter when Dorell Wright was fouled on a three-pointer attempt, the Sixers used that nugget to go 1 for 12 with seven straight misses to close the third.
“You want to come out and say that missing shots doesn’t take you out of your game, but it’s human nature -- human basketball nature,” said Spencer Hawes, who went 1 for 5 for five points. “The key is to not let it affect us collectively the way it did tonight.”
The poor shooting is another mystery to Collins. With veteran sharpshooters Jason Richardson and Wright getting clean looks along with veteran gunner Nick Young coming in off the bench, the Sixers were expected to be able to score -- even without Andrew Bynum.
Headed into the game the Sixers were shooting 36.5 percent from three-point range, which was significantly better than the league average. However, in their four losses, poor shooting has been one of the biggest culprits.
“When you shoot poorly it’s deflating. I have no idea why we’re shooting so poorly,” Collins said. “The one thing I thought this team was going to be able to do was shoot. And when we’re shooting so poorly, it sucks the life out of you.”
As for the effort, at least the Sixers know where to find that.
“It comes from [us]. We can’t blame anybody,” Holiday said. “Sometimes you have to look in the mirror.”