This team looks horrible, then brilliant, then horrible, and so on, sometimes in the same game. The roller coaster ride continues and nobody knows where we'll end up. This team may not be as good as the 11-1 streak, but I hope we aren't as bad as this latest 1-5 streak. Its up to the coach to right this ship. It still takes the players to put forth the effort, but the coaching staff needs to guide the way. You can argue game management and X's and O's till the sun goes down, but I tend to think that this team needs a focus.
Perhaps that the Walker trade gave them a rallying point and bouyed them beyond the daily distractions. Paul had less pressure, Blount had his old leader back, Ricky had someone to giggle with, the kids had a mentor, it was great. However, the effect has since worn off and the team is back to being a streaky, inconsistant, brilliantly talented mess. Pierce is back to arguing with officials instead of focusing, but then drills 3 shots in a row. Blount is great one play, bad the next two. The Young Guns show promise then show their age. Nobody plays team defense the whole game. The whole thing has me dizzy.
To me this is where the coach makes his money. This team needs a new rallying point. The second they thought they had the Atlantic sewn up, was the second they lost their focus. Now the Sixers are just 3 games back and we are losing ground on home court advantage. Hopefully that will be enough to focus the troops. However, the coach needs to be able to produce that focus even when the team's back is not pinned to the wall.
The coach was heard in the huddle pointing out that the team lacked focus and energy. Good to know that he realizes it. His challenge now is to do something about it beyond just pointing it out.
Update: Looks like Doc agrees with me. "I don't know why we don't get it. But to me, from this point on - no, a week ago - every game you have to have a great sense of urgency, and for whatever reason right now we don't. That's my job, and that's my fault. Somehow I have to get us to see it."