Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat: What We Learned from the Season Opener

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IOctober 27, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 27:  Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the net around Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center on October 27, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

On Wednesday night, the Sixers lost their season opener to the Miami Heat 97-87.

Although this was the expected outcome, the Sixers put up a great fight and could have won the game.

The game was tight throughout, until the Heat outscored the Sixers 31-13 in the third quarter.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Sixers attempted to make a desperate comeback. They came close by cutting the lead down to nine at one point, but it obviously wasn't enough.

After the game, we learned there were many mistakes that cost them the winnable game.

Let's start off early in the first quarter.

Basically, Jrue Holiday could not find Marreese Speights. He was open in the low post numerous times and was never fed the ball. It seemed like the entire game we were playing small ball around the perimeter.

Another problem that struck, was our lack of defense.

In the first half, we played great. 

The Sixers forced 10 turnovers and only allowed 18 points in the first quarter.

In the second half, it seemed a whole different team walked onto the court. We played very poorly and inconsistent, the complete opposite of what we did in the first.

Since it would have been impossible to play man defense against the Miami Trio, we decided to play a zone and pack the middle, so they couldn't drive. 

However, we were so worried about packing the middle, that we left the perimeter wide open. In fact, we let up six straight three-pointers to James Jones, a bench warmer for the Heat.


In addition, we committed too many fouls (we surpassed our limit of team fouls in the third quarter). The Heat scored 23 points just from the foul line.

If we realized and filled those mistakes during the game, the Sixers easily could have came out on top.

On to the positive side of the game, our bench played great.

In fact, our top three scorers were Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams with 15, and Evan Turner was our leading scorer with 16.

All three players came off the bench.

Other players such as Andres Nocioni and Spencer Hawes had their small sparks during the game.

Turner provided the fans with a great sign by recording 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

From what I saw, he seemed comfortable with his role. He found open guys and sometimes found an open lane to the hoop. This is what we need from him every game.

Having six players score double digits, clearly shows the Sixers spread the ball around on offense. The only negative players on the offense were Elton Brand and Holiday.

As for Holiday, I'm not too worried because he has a ton of potential under head coach, Doug Collins.

Brand, I'm worried about.

He's just gotten older and he isn't as athletic as he used to be. He lost his handle on the ball and needs to improve his jump shot.

With the Clippers, he was a 20 and 10 guy every game. With the Sixers, he's just an average 10 and 10 guy. We didn't pay him a ton of money for that production.

Things aren't looking too good for him.

Other than that, the Sixers have a lot of potential this season.

If we lost by just 10 points to the Miami Heat while making crucial mistakes, we can take on any team in the NBA.

Imagine if we fix those mistakes (which I fully expect Collins to realize), we have the potential to be a playoff team and possibly give other teams a run for their money.

Tonight, we saw a lot of good signs form the Sixers lineup.

If we polish up on our mistakes, we are a good team.

Sixers fans, fasten your seat belts to get ready for the Evan Turner Era and a solid 2010-2011 NBA season.