|Robert Covington, SF 34 MIN | 8-16 FG | 5-11 3FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | +18 +/-Cov continues to play at a very high level (21 ppg. over his last 3 contests) and last night he was simply on fire. His 9 points in the 3rd quarter helped the 76ers grab the lead in this game. Then in the 4th Q Cov drained a huge 3-ball that pushed the Sixers to close out a game for once.|
|Jerami Grant, SF 31 MIN | 6-7 FG | 0-1 3FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +7 +/-I’m not sure what got into Grant coming out of the locker room after half time, but Brett Brown may want to bottle it up for future use. Grant scored 8 points in the 2nd half, but to me it seemed like he simply took over the game with his athletecism and energy.|
|Jahlil Okafor, C 30 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +13 +/-A solid night for Jah, especially considering this was his first home game since all of the off-the-court issues came to light. However it have become obvious to me that right now the rookie struggles when matched up against true centers such as Hibbert and D12.|
|Isaiah Canaan, PG 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-7 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +13 +/-Canaan is a shoot first player and tonight because his shot was “on”, so mentality that worked for the Brown and the Sixers for three quarters. However, if you watched the 4th Q closely, you probably noticed that after a few ill-advised plays by Canaan, Brown replaced him with McConnell for clutch time.|
|JaKarr Sampson, SG 19 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | +10 +/-Between Stauskas and Sampson, it’s like nobody wants top grab the starting SG job and own it.|
|Nerlens Noel, PF 26 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-6 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +1 +/-For me a near double-double by #4 was highlighted by tremendous energy throughout the game and a few great assists in the 2nd half. I’m not sure if deep down Noel agrees with Brown’s move to bring him to the bench, but if he does not agree iwth the move, Noel has done a great job of hiding his emotions and has excelled in that role so far.|
|T.J. McConnell, PG 21 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -2 +/-The offense simply runs better when McConnell is in the game. He seemed more aggressive in looking for his own shot last night. When he dove on the floor to tie Kobe up for a jump ball, I leaped out of my chair. I thanked the heavans when Brown sent TJ into the game during the 4th Q for an out of control Canaan.|
|Phil Pressey, PG 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | 0 +/-Moving on…|
|Nik Stauskas, SG 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -1 +/-Considering that Stauskas has gone from starter to deep reserve in a matter of 10 days, I am impressed that he still has his head in the game. I thought he made the most of minutes last night wih two big 3-balls for the Sixers. However, watching him attempt to gaurd Kobe (even at 38-years old) was humorous.|
|Hollis Thompson, SG 29 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-6 3FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +1 +/-Overall, not a great shooting night for Hollis, but even a hater like me can admit that the buckets he did score seemed to come in big moments last night. Then he drained a dagger three in the late 4th Q that gave the Sixers a 99-88 lead and secured the W for the Sixers.|
I thought Brown pushed all the right buttons last night, especially in the 4th Q. I was also impressed with the way he re-focused the team after a slow start that was induced by Kobe-worship / awe that clearly impacted this young roster early on.
Six Things We Saw Last Night…
1) Outside of a slow start and a mediocre overall 1st Q in which Kobe scored 13 points, I thought the 76ers looked very solid last night. Obviously the Lakers are a turrrible basketball team and the 76ers still have a great deal of work ahead of them as well, but for one night this team looked good and closed out a W the way a team with a winning mentality should.
2) Kobe admitted he could tell the Sixers were “off” during the opening minutes of the 1st Q saying, “I could sense they were like, ‘I really don’t want to touch him.’ … ‘Is this going to be an 81 type of situation?'” Bryant said. “I’m just playing possum because I know my legs ain’t going to carry this energy for 48 minutes.”
3) The game was also Moses Malone Tribute Night and Malone’s No. 2 was on the back of the 7-6’s warm-up jerseys, with “Chairman of the Boards” on the front. I for one hope those shooting shirts become available to the public.
4) There’s no doubt that the dust-up in the late 3rd Q between Lakers center Roy Hibbert and several 76ers — Canaan first; then Sampson and Grant — stirred something inside this young roster. At the time the Sixers led by 66-64 at the time. The closed the 3rd with a 14-8 run to lead 80-75. The Sixers then opened the 4th with what appeared to be som attitude and a high level of energy level. Brown’s troops pushed the lead out to 14 points thanks to a quick 14-5 run and never looked back.
5) “I’m proud that they stay together, that they truly do knock out good days, and we do believe that they will add up,” Brown said. “I’m pleased for the city. We don’t want this streak continuing. We were pleased to come in here and get a win for our fans. They deserve it. Obviously, this is a relief on many levels, but we want to get greedy.”
6) It was evident that a sellout crowd of 20,510 down at The Center last night that came to cheer for Kobe. I have total respect for Kobe and his achievements as a player, but the flood of gold and purple #24 jerseys at the game last night and the “M-V-P” chants directed at Kobe made me ill. It reminded me of the Dallas Cowboys fan epidemic that plagues this city.
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