For one of the few times this year, the 76ers (20-31) showed that when they get a team down, and we mean down big in this case (22 point halftime lead), that they are capable of putting their foot on the opponents throat and simply crushing any hopes their foes have of recovering.
In what was a nearly a mirror image of the first half of their embarrassing loss to Minnesota back in mid-January, the Sixers jumped on the Wolves in the first quarter, then blew the game open in the second quarter and led by 22-points at halftime. Sound familiar?
However, unlike the game against the T-Wolves in mid-January the Sixers never let the Wolves get closer then 17-points in the second half and cruised to their fifth straight win.
In the opening quarter, it seemed obvious to us that the Sixers were determined to get the ball to the rim either with the bounce or through post play. The game plan worked and produced a number of lay ups and dunks for the Sixers in the early going as well as a 12-4 run. The Sixers also received a very balanced scoring attack in the 1st quarter : Willie Green — 10 points; Elton Brand — 8 points; Andre Iguodala — 8 points; and Jrue Holiday 6 points & 3 dimes. Philadunkia’s home team combined their offensive success with four steals at the other end of the floor and led at the conclusion of the 1st quarter 30-23.
The second quarter is where this game turned into a rout by the Sixers. In the second, the Sixers put up a 17-2 run, scored 43 total points and simply ran Kurt Rambis’ team out of the gym. The bench was the key for the Sixers during their 2nd Q assault as the reserves threw in 15 points, including 9 from big man Jason Smith. Smith, who after not playing in forever, has recently found himself back in the rotation (Much to the dislike of Mo Speights we are sure.) was 3-for-3 and knocked down 3 FTs as well. Smith along with Thad Young, Louis Williams, Royal Ivey and either Iguodala or Brand made up the second quarter lineup that pushed the Sixers lead from 7 points (30-23) to 20 (47-27) with nearly 9 minutes left in the half. The Wolves got as close as 13 points at the 3:40 mark of the half, but a late 14-5 run by the Sixers sent the home team to the locker room with a 73-51 lead. The 73 points was a season-high for points in a half by the 76ers.
During the 3rd quarter there was a stretch of deja-vu from the 76ers – Wolves game in mid-January as the Sixers began settling for jumpers and turned the ball over several times. Thankfully the Wolves Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Jonny Flynn did not take advantage of it this time. So in the end this stretch of poor play did not hurt the Sixers as they cruised to a 119-97 victory.
Philadunkia Notes :
Iguodala has rediscovered his game and confidence. Last night AI9 scored 24 points (9-18 shooting) and had 6 dimes. In the last 3 or 4 games Iggy’s overall play has been much better and his swagger has returned.
Thaddeus Young played his third straight solid game off the bench — 15 points, 8 rips, 4 steals and 3 assists. Thad showed a lot of energy again last night, got a number of easy baskets and also did some damage on the blocks. In his last three runs Thad is averaging 17 points to go with 6.3 rebounds and is shooting the rock at an amazing 72.4% clip.
Just three quick complaints about last night:
- In a rout of this nature Eddie Jordan played Iggy (42) and Brand (31) too many minutes, especially with the second game of a back-to-back looming tonight in Toronto.
- Our man Holiday only played 21 minutes. The rookie opened the game with 6 points in the 1st Q and did a great job on Wolves point guard Jonny Flynn, but played sparingly the rest of the way.
- There’s no excuse for the run of sloppy play that happened in the 3rd Q. The Sixers were fortunate the Wolves did not capitalize on the Sixers let down last night as they did in mid-January.
If you were watching the Comcast SportsNet broadcast of the game last night, then it was hard to miss the giant F-bomb Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis dropped directly into the camera during the 3rd quarter. Kurt’s outburst came after Louis Williams was fouled while shooting a three-pointer and it inspired this gem from Sixers color analyst Ed Pinckney, “Kurt’s not happy with that play at all.”
We know the T-Wolves are a terrible team, especially defensively, but we were still pleased with the following numbers put up by the Sixers last night:
- Sixers shot 61% from the field in the 1st half.
- The Sixers handed out a season high 30 dimes
- The Sixers scored 58 poinst in the paint.
- The Sixers scored 26 fastbreak points.
- The Sixers got the edge on the boards 39-32
- The Sixers turned the Wolves over 19 times
The Sixers are 7-4 in their last 11 games.