The Philadelphia 76ers are again playing more like they did when they struggled and less like the team that went on a four-game road winning streak. And again, the problem in this game against the Cleveland Cavaliers was the inability to defend the three.
That would be acceptable if it was superstar Kyrie Irving or newest acquisition Luol Deng or maybe even super sub Dion Waiters doing the damage from long range. But no, the Sixers don’t just give up the long ball, they usually get embarrassed by some of the most average role players you will find. And tonight look no further than C.J. Miles as the second coming of Reggie Miller.
Miles scored 34 points, which is ridiculous in and of itself, but the fact that he did it with 10 three-pointers is just absurd. On the year, Miles is only averaging 9.4 points per game and making only 1.4 threes per game at a clip of 35 percent. His last game on Sunday, he dropped a season-high 21 points and destroyed that mark tonight with his 34. The 10 three-pointers equaled the total Miles had achieved in the past six games combined; and that was on 25 attempts over that span.
Props to Miles for having a stellar game from long-range, but in order to sound like a broken record, I’ll tell you again how atrocious the Sixers are at defending the three. It stems down to the fact that the guys get beat off the dribble, forcing the wing players to help off their man. And also they overcompensate with double teams in the post and cannot close out on shooters in time.
Guys like Evan Turner and Hollis Thompson look like awful defenders when players of the caliber of Miles have games like this, but the truth of the matter is there’s not much they can do when no one else has the capability of defending their man one-on-one. I am at a loss for words as to what Brett Brown is supposed to do at this point, but these crooked numbers from three can’t continue.
The Sixers take on the Detroit Pistons in their next game; don’t be surprised if Chauncey Billups has a flashback to greatness in that one.