At the start of the fourth quarter, the Philadelphia 76ers found themselves down 80-54 and all the electricity that was in the building at tip-off had completely vanished. Sure, we understand that the Sixers are nowhere near as good as the Miami Heat, but they showed they had heart as they outscored the Heat 33-17 in the fourth quarter.
However, the Heat were able to hold off the fiesty Sixers and left South Philly with a 97-87 win. Dwayne Wade led both teams with 30 points. Sixers rookie Evan Turner scored a team-high 16 off the bench. The Sixers played their hearts out but were simply overmatched.
They just did not have enough fire power to stop Wade and company. After watching game 1 (yes, only game 1), here is what we know so far. The Philadelphia 76ers have talent on the team. They actually have a lot of talent. They are active on the defensive side of the court and are dangerous in the open floor.
POSITIVES: Evan Turner is a player. Throw out most of the negative stuff that “experts” were saying about him. Honestly, if you only listened to them and never saw the KID play you would think Turner was the guard version of Sam Bowie. Or that he just learned how to dribble the ball and that a fourth grader’s jumper was light years better. Wrong! Turner showed he has talent and the skill to play at this level, but he may just need some time to adjust to the talent and speed of the best players in the world. After all, every rookie can’t come in and have an instant impact like a LeBron James or an Allen Iverson.
Thaddeus Young looks like the player we saw pre-Eddie Jordan. His defense looked better, and at one point in the first quarter it looked as if Young and the rim had exchanged wedding vows. Lou Williams did what he does best, he scored. Williams finished with 15 points (same as Young) and showed enough to be considered the sixth man that the Sixers need.
NEGATIVES: The team still executes the fast break at a high rate, but unfortunately they cannot live on that alone. They appeared to be at their best on the fast break, and not in the half court offense. Don’t get me wrong, their half court offense is better than last year, but that’s about as hard as it is for a Usain Bolt to beat Charles Barkley in a race.
It’s very hard to win everyone stands around on the floor and watches the ball handler dribble more than a toddler. They settled for jump shot after jump shot and never really attacked the basket. In fact, not one player in Philly’s starting lineup attempted a single free throw. As a team they shot just 8-of-11 from the line (Miami shot 23-of-31). That’s simply unacceptable. Teams that live by the jumper, die that way 90% of the time. And last time I checked, the Sixers’ roster is not filled with sharpshooters Jrue Holiday looked his age.
He was hardly the same guy that dominated the NBA Summer League. But I’m willing to give him a pass simply because he is still young and the point guard position is a hard one to grasp for young players. Did Marreese Speights play? I thought I saw him miss a few layups in the 1st half and go soft to the basket every time, but I’m not sure if it was him or his evil twin. However, I do know this, if he doesn’t get his act together and realize he is 6’10”, he may find himself further at the end of the bench. And this is coming from a guy that thinks he has a ton of potential.
To quote Dennis Green, “They are what we thought they were.” They are a young team that will lose their fair share of games. But after Game 1, they appear to be headed in the right direction. Sixers forward, Andre Iguodala (10 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assist), addressed the crowd before the game, “we’re going to get to where you want us to be.” After watching the team battle Miami, I believe him.