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Back to those scaring habits?
ap-201202102102757557801When you shoot 65% from the line, miss eight free throws and lose by one point (77-78 to the Clippers), you might stop your analysis of the game here.

That is too simplistic, I know, but, as WIDELY predicted, those perennial woes from the stripe would have ended up hurting the Sixers sooner or later.

They did that last night, to hand out our second consecutive loss, for the first time this season (18-9, .667).

So yes, the blame has to be put mainly on Lou Williams (81% this season) and Jrue (80%) for combining for 9/14 (64%), including just 4/6 in the final 1.41 minutes.

Still, the game could have been won in the final plays. Unfortunately Chris Paul knocked down an extremely tough fall away 17 footer, off a broken play, over the outstretched arms of Iguodala (in the pic).

Andre played really excellent defense in that possession, pushing Paul to take perhaps the toghest shot he could: but, you know, true all stars great players make great plays in crunch time.

On Sixers' final possession, with only 3.9 seconds left, Lou Williams got the ball way too far from the basket off the inbound pass by Iguodala, and Paul and Kenyon Martin double teamed him pretty easily, so that he couldn't even take a shot off. (more after the break)

"At the end of the game, I'll put that on me. I've got to give our team more help at the end of games executing the play. That's not on the players. That's on me. I've got to be better. I'm the coach of this team. In that situation, I've got to get us a better shot. No excuses, other than I didn't do a good job in the last three seconds of that game" (coach Doug Collins). Exactly.

I nearly forgot: sandwiched by all those foul shots, Andre Iguodala missed another jumper that could have tied the game for us at 76 with 50 seconds left: it was his patented "drive right-take a contested fall away jumper from 17/18 feet-brick it" move of (too many) Sixers' close games.

But many crazy plays/misses came after that - including a terrible inbound pass by the Clippers that led to Lou Williams' final steal & made free throws that gave Sixers a 77-76 edge with 18 seconds left - so everybody will forget it. Ok, whatever, not blaming Iguodala for the loss, he played well overall.

You know who would have been the Player of the game, had Paul not hit that great shot? My buddy Reggie Evans, that basically outhustled and outrebounded nearly all of our front court guys grabbing 10 rebounds in 19 minutes (!), and was a key factor in sparkling Clippers' late run (63-70 with 7.10 remaining) with his defense and intensity. I state it again: a good winning team MUST have a guy like Reggie Evans in its roster.

Bad offense (= lack of execution, few ball movement, poor movement w/o the ball) lost this game for us. It's all fixable, I think, as long as the defense is there.

And yes, the defense was very good, I think: by my count we allowed ZERO alley oops to Jordan and Griffin, and maybe three dunks by those two combined. Brand, Allen and, to a lesser extent, Vucevic did a solid job of denying their bigs the paint and easy buckets. Clippers shot 39% overall and 2/15 from three, you can't do much better than this.

Actually it was Mo Williams to create us troubles,
scoring twelve consecutive in the second, immediately after Sixers put together an encouraging 33-21 lead.

One last observation. Why Evan Turner sat out the whole third quarter and played a total of ELEVEN f'n minutes? He was red hot from the start, shooting 3/4 including a three, and helped us well on the defensive glass. For the life of me I have no idea what else he is supposed to do to get more minutes.

Ok, so we failed to sweep BOTH Los Angeles teams, to disappoint another sellout crowd and its "Beat LA !!" chants.

Seven of our next eight games are on the road
, let's see what this team can do. After all there is no reason not to be proud and optimistic about these guys and their coach.