SIXERS' 3-POINT SHOOTING LAGGING
No matter the adjective, the Lakers hit shots – 14 of them from 3-point range. That was far too many, and Doug Collins knew it.
“They spread you, they shoot the 3s. That's what (Lakers coach) Mike D'Antoni has always done,” the Sixers coach said Sunday. “Unfortunately, right now, we are struggling mightily to defend the 3.”
However, it wasn't the Lakers' on-the-mark shooting from beyond the arc that single-handedly sank the Sixers. Despite hitting 10 3-pointers against Los Angeles, the Sixers haven't been the most-adroit team in that category of late.
Consider this: The Sixers, in eight games this month, are shooting 27 percent (33-for-122) from 3-point range. Not coincidentally, the Sixers have a 2-6 record in December. They're also a 7-3 ballclub when they shoot 40 percent or better from 3-point distance.
It's not like one guy's production has tailed off, either. Like an epidemic, the Sixers collectively have been unable to dial in from long distance. Jason Richardson, the team leader in 3-pointers is shooting 26 percent (10-for-38) this month. Dorell Wright, a one-time season leader in 3-pointers made, is shooting 18.7 percent (3-for-16) in December. Turner, an on-the-rise perimeter shooter who's already made more 3-pointers this season than all of last, has only eight makes this month. And Jrue Holiday, who has missed the last two games, is hitting 16.7 percent (3-for-18) of his looks from 3-point range.
The Sixers (12-12), who begin a two-game Texas roadtrip Tuesday in Dallas, were supposed to be a 3-point-shooting team, especially in transition. At least that's how Collins envisioned them in the preseasons. Since then, they've had to rely on a shaky half-court offense that has left their 3-point shooters at a loss. The Sixers are in the middle or toward the back of the NBA stat pack when it comes to 3-pointers: 14th in percentage, 19th in makes, 22nd in attempts. The Mavericks, by the way, rank ninth in the NBA in defending the 3.
Following the loss to the Lakers, plenty of focus by the Sixers – and rightfully so – was placed on their need to defend the 3-point line. Perhaps just as much attention should be placed on scoring from there.