It’s come down to excuses with the 76ers. That’s how bad it’s become for the team that had high hopes when the season started. Andrew Bynum would soon be the center they’ve needed since Moses Malone left. Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner would combine to be a formidable back court with Andre Iguodala having been traded. Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson would be here to provide veteran leadership and outside shooting off the bench. “We were tired tonight”, Doug Collins said, “but I don’t want to use that as an excuse. I just didn’t think we had much zip tonight.” It’s come to that as the 76ers (23-37) lost to the Atlanta Hawks (34-26) by a score of 107-96 last night in Atlanta.
The Hawks started off poorly for the first few minutes and the 76ers took a 8-0 lead, but after that, there wasn’t much to cheer about. By the end of the first quarter they were down 7 points and down 12 at the half. By the end of the third the 76ers were down 21 and there wasn’t much for the Hawks to do but hold on and they did that, even as the 76ers outscored them 26-16 in the fourth. Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 27 points and 11 assists and Al Horford put up 21 points and 12 rebounds, as the 76ers again let a team shoot over 50% from the floor and they just can’t find a way to keep other teams from building big, early leads.
Jrue Holiday hurt his ankle at the end of the first half and it definitely affected him as he finished 3-12 from the floor for 11 points, but did add 12 assists. Damien Wilkins came off the bench to shoot 8-11 and finish with 21 points to lead the 76ers who also got 20 points from Dorell Wright. That kind of bench production was what they were expecting when they signed Wright and Jason Richardson, but it hasn’t happened as regularly as they’d like. (That’s more of Doug Collins fault then it is the players themselves.)
Spencer Hawes finished with 8 points and 11 rebounds and Thaddeus Young had 16 points and 6 rebounds as he continues to come back from his hamstring injury, but Evan Turner was a miserable 1-7 from the floor for only 2 points. The player that the 76ers should be impressed with is Arnett Moultrie who finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds in 26 minutes. It’s obvious that the guy is big and talented, he just needs to spend the time on the floor, getting accustomed to his teammates, and playing regular minutes to build toward next year.
This season has left little doubt that Collins, Rod Thorn, and Tony DiLeo have no clue what they’re doing and if the team is to improve, they’re going to need to bring in some knowledgeable basketball people. While the three above have been in the past, they’re not now. If you, as a fan doubt this, then take a look at Nikola Vucevic in Orlando. He’s everything that the 76ers were hoping for when they drafted him. He’s playing like they hoped that Bynum would when they traded for him. He’s averaging 12.3 points and 11.4 rebounds per game and is becoming more and more confident with each passing game. Our center, Bynum, has yet to suit up for the team and has only increased his bowling average, Corona intake, and bank account. If the owners of the 76ers really want to make this team in to a contender then it’s time to move on from the current regime and get some new blood in there that can properly use the talent the 76ers have and trim away all of the dead weight that currently fills the roster.
The 76ers travel to Miami to play the defending champion Miami Heat (45-14) who are currently riding a 16 game winning streak. Game time is Friday night at 8:00 pm.Tags: Andrew Bynum, Atlanta Hawks, Dorrel Wright, Doug Collins, Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Jrue Holiday, loss, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Spencer Hawes