You have to use a timeout there.
I know it’s not in Brett Brown’s late-game DNA. I know he likes to keep teams off-balance, push the pace, and not allow defensive substitutions. He even said post game that the Sixers had a play ready to go in case the Kings hit a shot on their final possession, which they did.
But we didn’t see that play materialize on the other end. JJ Redick hesitated with a semi-open look. Call the timeout there and don’t end the game on a Joel Embiid fade away elbow jumper.
Here’s how it went down:
There’s nothing wrong with Brown’s philosophy, but it doesn’t mean you can’t call an audible. Remember the first Rockets game, when they didn’t use their timeouts and lost on a buzzer beater?
Brown changed his approach in the very next game, calling a timeout with 36 seconds remaining to settle his team and draw up a low post look for Embiid, who hit what would ultimately be the game winning shot in Dallas. A young team was learning how to finish, and it started against the Mavericks.
So this is an annoying loss, considering the fact that they were up by six with 1:15 remaining and couldn’t get the job done. Add to the fact that the Sixers didn’t even play that well against a team that shot the ball at a higher clip than usual. It felt like this would be another one of those games where they would find a way to win despite not firing on all cylinders.
Now you head to Golden State with a bad taste in your mouth, when you probably should be 7-4 on a six-game winning streak.
1) Help us out here
Charles Barkley would say the Sixers’ bench was “turrible” last night.
The Sixers got 17 points on 6-18 shooting from Amir Johnson, Richaun Holmes, T.J. McConnell, Justin Anderson, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. Anderson alone was 2-5 from three-point range but didn’t hit a shot inside the arc:
Anderson’s biggest contribution was actually on the glass, where he snagged five offensive and five defensive rebounds.
The Sixers just don’t have somebody who can be a consistent scorer off the bench, which is a big reason why they hit those second quarter slumps (poor defense, too). They were outscored 38-31 in last night’s second quarter and they’ve lost that period six games running now.
Sacramento got 56 (!) bench points last night on 22-47 shooting. Justin Jackson and De’Aaron Fox played 30 minutes each and contributed 30 of the Kings’ 109 points.
Think about some of the teams the Sixers have played this year and the guys that are coming off the bench.
Jackson, Fox, Donovan Mitchell, Kelly Oubre…
This team just doesn’t have that right now.
2) Holla at Rob
I shared this statistic about three different times yesterday:
Arbitrary Sixers stat:
Players attempting 7 or more threes per game and their 3P%:
Robert Covington: 50%
Klay Thompson: 45.8%
James Harden: 40.4%
Steph Curry: 38.9%
Paul George: 38.8%
Lauri Markkanen: 38.1%
Ryan Anderson: 37.9%
Eric Gordon: 34.8%
Justin Holiday: 32.9%
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) November 9, 2017
Right on cue, Robert Covington finished last night 6-12 from three and led the Sixers with 24 points. He added 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks, and hit 80% of his free throws.
Could he have been better defensively? Sure, but on the game-winning shot, he’s sagging a bit to prevent Fox’s dribble-drive, which we saw about 1,000 times in the 4th quarter:
Fox, FTW! pic.twitter.com/VenF0ofgvM
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 10, 2017
Fox was 1-4 from outside of the paint prior to that shot, so go figure that he would knock that down to win the game.
Anyway, I mentioned in yesterday’s stat piece that Covington picks up fouls for a variety of reasons. He’s more aggressive on defense. He tries for steals. He creates deflections. Sometimes he does that too much around the rim.
In this case, he was hung out to dry by a few teammates who didn’t get back fast enough after a turnover, forcing Covington to slide under on Willie Cauley-Stein:
I don’t know if that’s foul. Looks awfully close to me. He’s just not getting the benefit of the doubt on some of those whistles. Thankfully it didn’t burn him last night, because he was the best Sixer on the floor.
3) Hey, ref…
One guy who did get burned was Ben Simmons, which forced him to the bench early and really hurt the Sixers in the third quarter. He finished with 18, 2, and 6 on 6-8 shooting and also hit 6-8 foul shots.
There was some ticky tack shit in last night’s game and it went both ways.
I’ve been intrigued by how Simmons is getting reffed on these types of plays, where he gets the defender on his hip and creates a bit of forearm separation:
He creates space with the right forearm, goes behind the back with the left, and draws the foul at the rim. Great stuff there, really a combination of various skills we’ve seen throughout the season.
On this play, he doesn’t get away with it:
They got him that time for a push-off with the left forearm. You see Ben’s gesture after the play, like he knows he messed it up.
I think he gets more of those calls when he’s moving in transition, whereas defenders can sell it a bit more when they’re static.
But, like I said, Simmons did get to the line more than usual last night, so if the refs are going to be trigger-happy, take it to the rack and see what happens.
4) I need a spot to land
One of the new rule changes this year was the emphasis on calling close out fouls on the perimeter.
We haven’t seen it too often, but it happened last night against Covington on a four-point play:
Skal Labissiere gets whistled there because he’s basically occupying the space where Covington would land. It’s the same thing you saw in last year’s Golden State/San Antonio playoff series, when Zaza Pachulia injured Kawhi Leonard, hence the officiating change.
5) An exclusive interview
Sixers Twitter wasn’t happy with a prolonged first-half Jerry Colangelo interview that took up half of the screen.
In TV lingo, this is called a “2×1 box,” aka two boxes, one bigger than the other:
It was annoying. Probably better to keep the full shot of the game and just lay the audio instead.
We would often use these 2×1 graphics at CBS 3 when we had press conferences going on. For example, you’d have Mayor Nutter on the left talking about, I dunno, a snow emergency plan for instance, and then in the big box on the right we would drop in video of some asshole putting a lawn chair or a cone in the parking spot that he dug out for himself, leaving his neighbors to fend for themselves.
So there you go, a little useless television lingo for y’all.
Anyway, the Sacramento Kings are who were thought they were. If you wanna crown ’em, then crown their asses.