By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Sixers lost another close game on Wednesday night, this time to the West leading Oklahoma City Thunder. After leading for a good part of the second half, the Sixers closed with eleven straight missed shots in the final five minutes, and more questions about why they can’t score at the end of close games.
There’s been some criticism of the team, and coach Doug Collins, about their execution of the offense late in games. Last night didn’t give any answers. Sixers beat writer for the Daily News Bob Cooney joined 94 WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team on Thursday to talk about the issues the team is having.
“On that in bounds play, late in the game, when the Sixers needed a three and got the ball into Williams, they got it to him in a really bad spot,” Cooney said. “He was right next to the sidelines out of bounds, and he got trapped and he lost the ball. What happened was, when you watch that, when Iguodala went to throw the ball in, it didn’t look like the team or Williams was ready to run the play. So Iguodala held the ball for the first two seconds, and was like ‘what’s going on here?’ And then they started to run the play.”
“The ball was supposed to go somewhere else and then back to Elton Brand and then back to Iguodala, and Iguodala was supposed to drive the lane. But because they got it in so late, they weren’t able to do anything they wanted to do.”
It’s hard to imagine why a team whose advantage this year was supposed to be continuity, is having such trouble figuring out what they’re doing at crucial points in the game. With little practice time in the compressed schedule, it will be tough to straighten those things out.
If there’s a question besides “what’s going on with the offense?” that’s popular among Sixers fans right now, “what’s going on with Evan Turner?” While publicly as upbeat and team-oriented as ever, privately there have been whispers that he and Collins haven’t been seeing eye to eye.
Last year’s second overall pick has seen his playing time drop significantly after a strong start to the season. His play in those minutes hasn’t been good enough either. Turner didn’t score in 16 minutes against the Thunder, and grabbed only two rebounds. Turner’s been one of the better, if not the best, rebounding guard in the league this year.
“[Turner] appears to be in Doug Collins’ doghouse big time,” Cooney said. “And Evan Turner’s agent was there last night standing in the hallways, and there’s just some kind of an uneasy feeling there. Jodie Meeks might be among the bottom five starting two-guards in the NBA? And he’s getting 30 minutes last night?”
“I think it’s going to be evaluated after this season that Iguodala and Turner can’t be on the same team,” Cooney said. A reason why the Sixers should try to find out whether Turner’s recent struggles are a bump in the road or a sign of things to come.
“He is just an immature kid,” Cooney said of Turner. “And I don’t know if Collins can reel him into professional basketball yet. I think that’s the hard task that he has right now, is reeling in Evan Turner to be a professional basketball player.”
With the second half staring the Sixers right in the face, and losses in six of their last seven games, that can’t happen soon enough.
Listen to the entire interview with Bob Cooney: