If the 76ers pound on the lifeless Golden State Warriors and no one is down at the Wachovia Center to witness the game, does the outcome still count as a victory for Philadunkia’s home team? The answer of course is…ABSO-FREAKIN’-LUTELY. That’s right people, right now we’ll take ‘em anyway we can get ‘em. The 12-game loosing streak was snapped last night as the Sixers jumped all over the GSW, led by 32 for a minute or so and then cruised to a 117-101 victory.
Now we know the Sixers beat the GSW last night who are not exactly Kobe and the LA Lakers from a competition standpoint, so we’ll refrain from going over the top in our praise of the Sixers efforts. In fact GS is arguably the worst team in the League and they were in the fifth game of a 9 day road trip. However, all of that being said, there were a lot of positives we pulled from the W last night, especially considering the Sixers got no help offensively from Andre Iguodala for three-plus quarters.
Iguodala had a nightmare game last night (more on that in a moment) but thanks to the 1st half efforts of Thaddeus Young, the Sixers didn’t need AI9 to put away the Warriors early in this one. Thad hung 23 points on the GSW in the first half and finished with a smooth double-double, 26 points and 14 rebounds. “Smooth” is the only word that would accurately describe Thad’s game last night. He really excels in an up-tempo style of play and so last night’s game against the run-n-gun Warriors played right to Thad’s wheel house. Spin moves, pump fakes followed by up and unders, reverse lay-ins, flushes on the break and one 3-ball, Thad had it all working last night.
A lot of the credit for #21’s big game goes to Thad being hot, some of it goes to the defensively challenged GSW and some of it goes to Eddie Jordan for his lineup change that saw Thad at the 4-spot. A shocking first 5 of Iverson and Holiday in the back-court with AI9, Thad and Sammy Dalembert across the blocks allowed the Sixers to beat the GSW at their own run-n-gun game (20-9 on FBPs).
We’ve always loved Thad at the 4-spot as playing there really allows him to get easy buckets against bigger, slower opponents. The drawback of course is that Thad is a little on the thin side and thus takes a beating at the defensive end. So we question if Thad can hold up physically for any real length of time running the majority of his minutes at the 4, but it worked last night and got the Sixers back in the win column. For that we tip our cap to Thad and Jordan.
- Iguodala had a nightmare game. He took a shot to the ribs early on and left the game for x-rays, but returned to play 24 minutes, so the injury may have been part of the problem. At one point in the 1st Q, AI9 was 0-8 and finished 4-20 overall (14 points). Putting the injury aside for one minute, in our opinion, Iggy is settling for too many long jumpers. His three point shot absolutely looks better then it did two seasons ago and that could be the reason for his new confidence, but AI9 is still not anywhere near the 3-point ace. Unfortunately, Iggy does not realize that he is NOT getting better at 3PAs, has fallen in love with his 3-point range jumper and continues to fire off 3’s at an alarming rate. Through 24 games this year Iggy has taken 101 3PA. When you compare that to 61 3PA he took in 2008-09 through 24 games, you get a 65.5% increase in 3PA by Iguodala so far in 2009-10. For a player who is shooting 31% on the year and 32% over his career six year career, that’s entirely too many 3-balls jacked. Iguodala needs to go back to his game. Put the ball on the deck and get to the tin.
- Iverson scored 20 last night on 7-14 shooting, but what really impressed us is that he looked like he is finally getting his legs under him. He was quick, active and used his legs to go into his jumper instead of fading away. Getting his left knee drained twice may have helped and we’re sure having a couple days off did not hurt either.
- There’s some drama on the horizon in the Sixers locker room. Elton Brand only played 16 minutes last night, scoring 11 points and grabbing 7 boards off the bench. That’s a pretty solid night for a sixth man and while Brand seemed happy and said all the right things after last night’s streak busting W, we know that Brand is on the record as saying he believes he is a starter on this team. To be honest he’s right. When he gets 30+ minutes a night Brand produces. So it will be interesting to see what happens and how Brand reacts when Speights returns next week and EB’s minutes are cut back. Also coming up soon on the drama front will be the issue of who starts in the back-court with Iverson – Holiday or Louis Williams. When LW gets cleared to play soon, Jordan will have a tough choice. Jordan appears to love the back-court combo of Iverson and Holiday and they have played well together. We all know that Iverson is NOT going to be removed from the first 5 and Williams was the starter before his injury, so in theory, Holiday should come off the bench. However at 6-4 Holiday provides much need size in the back-court alongside Iverson, Holiday is 100x the overall defender that LW is and Jrue provides excellent ball pressure, something the Sixers desperately need. So a strong argument can be made for Holiday staying in the starting lineup as well. For the record, LW said on his Twitter page, “and all that me coming off the bench talk…cease”
- Watching the game last night, the Sixers appeared to play decent defense against GSW, although the stats give a mixed opinion on the topic. The home team out rebounded the Warriors by a ridiculous margin — 59-26, had 11 steals and allowed the GSW only 11 fourth quarter points. They also held Stephen Curry to 14 points and Monta Ellis the League’s seventh-leading scorer (24.7 ppg.), to only eight points on 3-for-14 shooting. However the Warriors also shot 50% from deep (9-18), 44% from the field and Corey Maggette who is older then dirt went for 24 off the GSW bench.
- The Sixers had seven players score in double figures. They shot 50 percent from the field and also scored 56 points in the paint to the GSW’s 24.
- Not that it mattered, but the GSW’s bench outscored the Sixers 59-29.
- How about the authoritative flush by Sammy D at the 7 minute mark of the 2nd Q. WOW. We didn’t know Sammy had that type of facial slam locked up inside him.
- It was only the second time this season that the Sixers eclipsed the 100-point mark at home. They scored a season high 71 points in the 1st half last night.
- Announced attendance last night was 12,795. Not a chance. There were maybe, maybe 8,500 people in the building last night and that intimate gathering was as quiet as any crowd we can remember down at the Wachovia Center this season.