That’s right the 76ers (18-31) have won three straight for the first time during the 2009-10 season. We’d be happier about the W if it weren’t for two things: The first is that the Hornets were missing two starters last night (Chris Paul & Marcus Thornton). The second is the idea that this win streak will probably save Eddie Jordan’s job. Still a win is a win as they say, and with all the trade rumors circulating around Philadunkia’s home team right now it’s good to see that the Sixers players are still focused on playing hard and winning.
Credit this win to the 76ers bench. Led by Thaddeus Young’s 19 points, the Sixers reserves provided a significant boost last night after the first-five seemed to be lacking some energy and their shooting touch. Starters Elton Brand (5-13 on FGA; 6 TOs), Andre Iguodala (6-15 on FGA) and Sammy Dalembert (2-6 on FGA) all struggled out of the gate, so the bench received extended minutes early on last night and the result was 30 points in the first half (50 points overall) from the Sixers reserves. On paper should have been a blow out win by the Sixers, and basically the subs bailed out the starters and the head coach in this one.
Jordan’s ridiculous use of Jrue Holiday continued last night. Let’s set this rant up by letting you know that Jordan said the Sixers game plan last night was to “keep ball pressure on them” as rookie Darrren Collison was doing most of the ball handling for the NOH. Yet Holiday the Sixers starting point guard, best on-ball defender and Collison’s former backcourt mate at UCLA only played 18 minutes last night. As usual the Sixers rookie started last night, played his usual solid defense and as bonus he scored four points (2-2 shooting) in the first quarter. So Jordan rewarded the rookie by pulling Holiday with 3 minutes left in the 1st quarter and not putting him back in the game until 2:54 remained in the half. Mean while Collison logged over 39 minutes last night, hitting for 17 points. We wonder if it ever occurred to Jordan the genius that Holiday and Collison went head-to-head daily at UCLA last year and that Holiday most likely knows Collison’s every move. We would have acted like coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers and told Holiday, “Stick with Collison. Think of him as chewing gum. By the end of the game, I want you to know what flavor he is…”
Don’t let the stat sheet fool you, Louis Williams (11 pts. & 5 assists) had a nightmare game. In addition to shooting a horrific 2-10 from the floor, Louis’s poor decision making ruined several fast break opportunities. He was credited with only 2 turnovers last night, but it felt more like a dozen.
AI9 had his second consecutive strong overall game. His “off” night shooting (6-15 for 14 points) was balanced out by 7 assists, 9 rebounds and his usual solid defense.
The Sixers scored 23 fast break points, shot 46% (6-13) from behind the arc and 48% from the field. Typically those type of numbers would signify a blowout win, but check out these key defensive stats and you’ll see why this game was closer then it should have been. The NOH shot 46% from the field, 52% from three (11-21) and got 42 points in the paint. If the Hornets could have done a better job on the glass (46-36 edge to Sixers), they could have pulled this one out.
Thaddeus Young needed this game in the worst way. Thad had scored just 17 points total in his last three games, shooting 26% from the field in that stretch. For some reason he has not played up to his 2008-09 level all year, but his game really fell of the table in the past week. It could be the trade rumors as it’s the first time in his short career that his name has been bounced around, but who really knows. Against the NOH he was very “active” as NBA people like to say, got to the tin for easy baskets and got to the FT line, which is exactly how NBA players break out of a slump.
We may be in the minority here, but we really liked the purple and green “Mardi Gras” uniforms the Hornets were rockin’ last night.