OPSL GM 2: BENCH TO THE RESCUE

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/07/10 10:07 am EST

Philadelphia shooting guard Jodie Meeks was consistently scoring all night; ending with 18 points and helping his Sixers coast past Boston by 17 points (86-69).

“I’ve been getting in a rhythm and playing my game.  I’m not focusing all on scoring this week, but just getting better as a whole.” Meeks said.  Meeks added 2 steals and after two games is the 76ers leading scorer with an 18 ppg.

“Jodie could be a very explosive player off the bench for us.  The way we’re playing defensively really suits his style. He has very good instincts, he closes out very well and he disrupts passing lanes,” said a pleased Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins.  “I told Jodie that coming off the bench you have to be a high percentage shooter and you have to make minimal mistakes.  Those are things he does.”

76er rookie Evan Turner was better, but not great in his second game as a professional.  Turner scored 13 points (5-of-12 shooting), had 4 assists, 3 rebounds but also 4 turnovers.

“I’m just getting acclimated to the new situation and the offense.  I’m not playing my best basketball, but I trust Coach Collins knowledge of the game to help prepare me for the season.” said Turner.  Even though “Evan Almighty”  isn’t dominating yet, he is playing better than the three other lottery picks in Orlando (Favors, Hayward and George).  Turner added, “You have to adapt before they adapt to you.”

“I thought he looked a little lethargic, and I think what’s happened is he’s got knocked back a little bit.  But that’s why we’re here.” said Doug Collins.  “Evan’s frustrated and he wears it.  That’s something we will correct.”

Boston came out of the gates firing, opening the first quarter with a 15-3 lead, but as time wore on, Boston’s lack of NBA players on their roster showed.  The Celtics committed 18 turnovers on the night and hit 1-of-11 three pointers, their bread and butter from Monday.  Still there were uplifting things Boston can take away from the loss.

Luke Harangody—even with his small forward frame—pulled down 12 rebounds and scored 14 points. Harangody wasn’t on fire (4-for-14) like he was Monday, but he always finds ways to impact a basketball game (6-for-6 from the line).

Jaycee Carroll is Boston’s second leading scorer so far this week and submitted another 14 point performance.  The 6’2 combo guard grabbed 6 rebounds and knocked home several floating jumpers in the lane.

“Playing at this level is a great opportunity.  I’ve played shooting guard my whole life but I feel like I can run the team at the point,” smiled Carroll, the Utah State basketball all-time leading scorer.  Carroll has been playing in Spain for a year.  “I’ve been in enough situations where I’m not afraid of telling what guys to do.”

Carroll will be playing for the Knicks later this summer in Las Vegas and can really play basketball—if you watch him play live, you’ll know what I mean.  He rarely makes mistakes and deserves an opportunity on some NBA team’s bench.

Marreese Speights finally showed up to play Tuesday against Boston.  After a sluggish first half, Speights found his groove finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds.  He was also able to finish a nice one-handed alley-oop from point guard Jrue Holiday.

“I’m playing hard.  I’ll continue to play hard all the way through training camp.” Speights said.  Speights also said that he’s happy with his career thus far because he’s “doing stuff people told him he could never do.”

Many Sixers fans would argue that the big forward should not be happy with his career.  After an eye opening rookie season two years ago, 2009-10 was supposed to be a separation year for Speights.  However instead of being a breakout season, Speights barley improved upon his 8 ppg. rookie number last season and finds himself still on the summer league roster yet again.  Injuries, weight problems and work ethic issues hampered Mo’s 2009-10 season and may have inclined Philadelphia to trade for Spencer Hawes, the former Sacramento King big man.  Speights needs to have a breakout game in Orlando if he wants to earn back some trust in the City of Brotherly Love.

One night after reigning terror on the Nets, Jrue Holiday came back to earth.  His 10 points and 5 assists surely weren’t bad, but I was a little disappointed.  Based on his 2009-10 season, we here at Philadunkia.com expected Holiday to dominate the OPSL, so it was a little shocking to seem him NOT light up the journeymen guards on the Celtics – Euro-ball sharp shooter Jaycee Carroll (Utah St.) and D-League standout Oliver Lafayette (Houston).  Hopefully, Holiday can get back on track with a great game today, (like his 23-point performance on Monday), so that his ascension to “rising star” status will hold up at least until the start of the regular season.

Doug Collins was quick to praise the play of his bench.  Guard Mike Green had 9 points and three steals, and forward Cedric Simmons had 10 points and 7 rebounds.  Philadelphia native Jason Love scored 8 points in the post.

“There are 30 teams in this league.  Most of these guys can create their niche if they work hard enough.” remarked Collins

Here is the box score from the 76ers win over Boston.


 
 
 

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