Pace: 89 possessions (slow)
Offensive Efficiency: 118 points/100 possessions (league-leading)
Defensive Efficiency: 83 points allowed /100 possessions (league-leading)
Some bullet points to tide you over until Brian Robb’s Brendan Jackson’s full recap:
• I’m going to say this with the appropriate caution and crossing of fingers/toes/knees/eyes: KG looked better tonight than he has in any game since that fateful February night in Utah. The stats certainly won’t show it—he scored 3 points on 1-of-7 shooting and committed five of the C’s (grossly high) 18 turnovers. But he is nearly there on defense. He was all over the place tonight, causing havoc in the way only he and a few others in NBA history ever have. On screen/rolls, he was hedging out to cut off the ball-handler’s dribble penetration before his man even set a screen. He made those ball-handlers (mostly Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala) take pause and think about what they wanted to do with this maniac already prepping to guard them, and that pause allowed the C’s back line players to take the first couple of steps on their rotations.
One on possession with about 9:55 left in the 3rd, KG roved around the top of the key in this manner and then managed to dive down and contest a Thaddeus Young jumper along the left baseline. Great stuff.
• Sheed’s help defense was also on tonight. It’s something we’ll be monitoring carefully now that David Thorpe and others have brought it to our attention. Sheed was active tonight. And when he and KG are active defensively, this team is going to be very hard to score on inside.
• Boston: 14-20 from three. Yikes. This team is going to be so damn difficult to guard this season. When your second unit is running pick-and-pops with Ray Allen, Eddie House and Sheed, life is good. The bench scored 23 of Boston’s 44 first half points on 9-14 shooting, including 5-6 from deep. Overall, the C’s are 52-107 (49 percent) from deep in this young season. That’s the 2nd-best mark in the NBA.
• Philly: 1-15 from three. C’s opponents are now 22-86 (25.5 percent) from three this season, also the 2nd-best mark in the league. And they’ve already held one opponent to zero threes (Charlotte) and another to just one.
When you can hit threes and defend them, you’re going to win a lot of games. That was the basic formula in Orlando (and to a lesser extent, Boston) last season.
• Is it some sort of Philly tradition to refuse to call Doc Rivers “Doc”? The announcers referred to him as “Glenn” Rivers all night, and it was clearly intentional. Deference to Doctor J?
Some more quick hits, after the jump.
• Marquis Daniels (6 points, 4 assists, 3 boards and a team high +31 in 28 minutes) is fitting in nicely. He hit two perimeter jumpers tonight, and if he can hit those jumpers with some consistency, he’s going to be very dangerous. Teams aren’t respecting Daniels’ perimeter game when he plays off the ball, as he is doing at least half the time despite his nominal status as the back-up point forward. Iggy roved off of Marquis on those possessions which started with Marquis in one of the corners. This allowed Iggy to break up a Rondo-KG alley-hoop in the lane late in the 1st quarter.
But Marquis responded perfectly tonight, in two ways: 1) Hitting those open shots; 2) Pump-faking, driving baseline, drawing the defense and dishing to Sheed in the opposite corner. Good stuff from Marquis.
• I’ll highlight this later in the Sweet section of Sweet and Sour plays, but we saw a bit of Paul Pierce at the point forward spot tonight with the second unit, and it worked beautifully.
• Rajon Rondo was too unselfish tonight in the first half. When he refuses to take open floaters, teams realize it and anticipate his dump off pass a split second earlier, which makes life more difficult for the big who receives that pass. Rondo was more aggressive in the 3rd quarter and knifed into the lane for two nice lay-ins on screen/rolls.
• Speaking of the second unit, Doc is using that double high post set we talked about in the pre-season much more often with the back-ups than with the starters. And that, too, is working nicely. Once the ball-handler passes to one of the guys in the high post, the C’s initiate a series of cuts and screens designed to confuse the defense and create switches and open looks. It’s working well.
• Shelden Williams was 2-of-4 on jump shots tonight. I saw him hit those jumpers. It happened. I may have to revise my “no jumpers unless the shot clock is winding down” rule for Shelden.
• That “Scal-a-brin-e!” chant in garbage time: The low point in recent Sixers basketball history?
• The Philly bench is just awful, other than Marreese Speights.
• Lester Hudson looked good in garbage time. It’s too early to say things like “he could be a useful NBA player,” but he could be a useful NBA player.
That’s it for now. Watch for Brian’s full recap later. The C’s play the Baby C’s tomorrow night in Minnesota.