Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sixers eat Bobcats- Game 4

Well, the final score from last night (Wednesday) says it all: 94-63. The Bobcats rolled over in this one, and the Sixers took advantage. And good for them. When you're a team on the playoff bubble (as I view the Sixers), then you need to take advantage when teams decide to take the night off. Especially when the team you're playing is another bubble playoff team.

From looking at the boxscore, I think it's pretty clear that the story of the game was turnovers. The Sixers had 21 (23% of their possessions)-- not a very good performance. Thankfully, the Bobcats were dreadful, coughing up 29 turnovers (30% of their possessions). Considering most NBA teams turn the ball over about 15% of the time, you can get a sense of how sloppy the game must have been.

The Sixers also continued their fantastic work on the offensive boards, grabbing them at a 36% clip. I think the league average last year was around 25-27% (I'm too lazy to look it up right now), so the Sixers are really going gangbusters. My boxscore favorite, Reggie Evans, wasn't a big part of the action-- grabbing only one offensive board (and five total) in 18 minutes of play. All told it seems like the offensive rebounding was a team effort. Samuel Dalembert led the way with 5, but 7 other Sixers grabbed at least one.

On the downside, the Sixers grabbed defensive rebounds at a pathetic 62% clip (they'd been averaging a 76% defensive rebound rate coming into the game). I'll chalk up the poor performance to the fact that the game was a blow-out.

[Apologies for the light posting this week. I'll be back with some more intensive posting next week.]

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My other favorite rebounder

Over at today, Marty Burns was all over the Anderson Varejao story. (By that, I mean that he was clearly the reporter chosen by Varejao's camp to receive a leak to try and push his negotiations with the Cavaliers towards a resolution.) First, Burns posts an article quoting people "close to" Varejao saying that he would be willing to accept a $5 million, one year deal instead of the bigger money, longer term deal he was seeking. Such a deal would allow Varejao to become an unrestricted free agent next year, instead of the restricted free agent he is currently. Now, just a few hours later, Burns is back with an article basically saying the Cavaliers response was "thanks, but no thanks."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Why don't the Sixers make Varejao an offer? If Varejao is really willing to sign for close to the mid-level exception for one year, the Sixers have nothing to lose by making the offer. If the Cavs match, then nothing has been lost (unless the Sixers really think Varejao and the Cavaliers won't reach an agreement, and that the Cavaliers will fall below the Sixers in the playoff race without him...). If the Cavaliers don't match, then the Sixers have a superb rebounder/defender to help out their frontcourt this year. Plus, I think they'd have the inside track on re-signing him for next year. I really wish someone could explain to me why the Sixers (or some other team) isn't making this offer right now.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Breakdown alert

I'm a little concerned about the Celtics. In a 20 point victory over the Washington Wizards (the Celtics first game), Doc Rivers played his stars major minutes. Kevin Garnett played 38 minutes, Ray Allen played 38 minutes, and Paul Pierce played 39 minutes. If these guys are playing this many minutes in a 20 point victory, then you need to assume that they'll play at least this many (and probably more) in most of the Celtics' games this season. And that means the chances that one of the Big 3 breaks down by playoff time is that much greater. Bad news if you're a Celtics fan, good news for everyone else in the Eastern Conference.

[As with all my other first game observations, remember the caveat that this was just one game and might not be indicative of a larger trend...but not much changed in the second game...]

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Reggie Evans Experience- Part 3

Yes, I promise, I'll stop talking about Reggie Evans all the time. But first, I hope someone can help me out. Since I'm in Anchorage (and the local cable company doesn't carry NBA League Pass), I'm not really able to watch the Sixers play. So I'm hoping that someone actually seeing the games can tell me what I'm missing.

Looking at the box score from the Sixers' third game (an 88-93 loss to the Nets on Saturday), I noticed that Evans had 11 rebounds in 21 minutes. That's an amazing performance, but I couldn't figure out why he only played 21 minutes if he was rebounding that well. He only had 2 personal fouls, so concern with fouling out couldn't have been the problem.

Is something going on that isn't showing up in the boxscore? Despite his rebounding, is the offense bogging down while he's in the game? Is he playing terrible man-to-man defense or is he rotating late on help defense? According to the game flow display over at the popcorn machine, he had two break-even stints and one brief, bad stint, but then he didn't even get into the game in the fourth quarter. (And the bad stint occurred during a small ball line-up-- the starters, except with Korver in place of Dalembert. Why are we playing this line-up? I give up.)

Over three games, Reggie Evans has grabbed 35 rebounds in only 71 minutes of play--a rate of .49 rebounds/minute. (Last year, Kevin Garnett grabbed .32 rebounds/minute to put that number in perspective.) I hope someone watching the games can let me know what's going on, because from my box score driven view of the games it sure looks like Mo Cheeks is not making very good use of a very useful player.

The Reggie Evans watch- Game 2

Okay, Sixers games aren't entirely about Reggie Evans, but I am fascinated by his nose for the ball. In their second game, the Sixers defeated the Bulls 96-85. Evans played 29 minutes and had 9 rebounds. That's pretty good, and he wasn't even the Sixers best per minute rebounder. Dalembert had 11 rebounds in 31 minutes and Jason Smith grabbed 6 rebounds in 14 minutes. The guards also helped out the cause-- Igoudala grabbed 10 rebounds, and Willie Green (Willie Green!) grabbed 8. All in all, the Sixers rebounding in the first two games has been superb-- a 77% defensive rebound rate and a 40% offensive rebound rate. That offensive rebound rate in particular is pretty stunning.

Two other trends I noted from the box score: (1) Mo Cheeks is definitely sticking with the small line-up. The Sixers big men played 77 minutes out of the 96 minutes available to them. Two games still isn't proof, but I think we can see the trend. (2) In big games, Mo Cheeks is going to play Igoudala (45 minutes) and Miller (41 minutes) big minutes. Willie Green (38 minutes) also played big minutes, but from the box score it looks like he was having a pretty good all around game so his big minutes might have been an aberration (Igoudala's and Miller's big minutes confirm something we could have guessed, which is why I'm more willing to jump to a conclusion from one game.).

[oops- I thought I had posted this already, but apparently I just saved it as a draft.]