In a really slow paced game, the 76ers were able to grind out a victory over the Cavaliers at the Q. Really, this game wasn’t all that close. From about the middle of the third quarter the Sixers took a fairly large lead and the Cavs managed to get within 3 late. Still, one never got the feeling the Sixers were going to lose this game to the Cavs. Again, as is the norm, the Cavaliers played some really poor defense.
One needs to only look at the numbers yet again. The Sixers shot 49% from the field and 45% from 3 (that record is getting close, folks!!). Nearly every Sixers player got whatever they wanted with little to no resistance. Thaddeus Young was killing Jamison, Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand were eating Hickson alive, and Jrue Holiday was able to get into the paint nearly anytime he desired.
This has basically been the Cavaliers the entire season. The difference in the last few games that have led to some wins has been offensive output from multiple positions. Namely, Anthony Parker had really stepped up. Tonight, he was off and even though Hickson, Jamison, and Sessions continued their respective good play on offense, Parker was poor tonight.
Gibson also continues to shoot very, very poorly. Not only that, he isn’t defending all that well either. In the biggest face-palm play of the game, Jrue Holiday was able to easily beat Gibson on the perimeter and score a nearly uncontested lay-up in what looked like slow motion. If Gibson isn’t making threes and is going to continue to defend like Ramon Sessions, he isn’t very helpful to the cause.
The Young Guys
Here I go again. Understand, I get that Jamison and the vets play bad defense too. However, I also understand that they aren’t part of the future, so I don’t really care. But when we are considering whether or not the guys like Hickson, Sessions, Samuels, etc., are part of this team’s future, we need to consider how well they play on defense. Hickson has been improving on his help side. However, he still is totally lost when it comes to defending the pick and roll. Sessions is just a disaster. He can’t stay away from anyone. Frankly, I see no real improvement between Ramon Sessions and Mo Williams. Sessions can get into the paint, but Mo can shoot the ball. Neither can play any amount of defense to save their life.
The young guys have been putting up some nice box scores but if they can’t actually stop anyone, it doesn’t matter. Of course, if you put defensive stalwarts next to Hickson and Sessions (especially Hickson considering his position) it can help mask his problems. But, because of those problems I don’t think we should be considering actually building around him. If a Tyson Chandler type happens to be the best player in the draft that we are able to take, so be it. It will make Hickson look like an all-star if he plays like this next year. But, if that type of player isn’t the best available player, then we don’t draft that player and take the best available. Basically, you don’t skip out on the best player available to build around a guy who has such a big weakness on defense. Same with Sessions.
That said, they have been two of the three best players in the last couple of weeks. For a really bad team, that’s something to be happy about.