The Thunder built a big lead in the first half, then held on late and in the end handed the 76ers their first loss of the week (89-80). The Thunder took advantage of their opportunities from the charity stripe, especially in the first half when they knocked down 20 free throws to the 76ers seven.
The game got off to a slow start as five minutes into the game each team had only scored six points. Giving the Thunder a huge lift in the 1stquarter was Latavious Williams. Williams finished with seven points and a blocked shot in the first quarter, en route to a ten point, five rebound, three blocked shot performance for the Thunder. Williams, who was the first NBA Development League player to be drafted out of high school, impressed many in Orlando with the energy he brings off the bench. The Texas native has a real chance to make a NBA roster, with his athleticism (as you can see by the dunk he threw down last night), ability to fill the stat sheet and affect games in so many areas.
Evan Turner continued to struggle for the 76ers. The second overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft was held scoreless in the first half and only finished with four points. The former Ohio State Buckeye did have an impact on the game in other areas, hauling in eight rebounds and handing out two assists. Through three games in the OPSL, Turner is averaging a mere 9.7 points a game while shooting 35 percent from the field (8 of 23). Before Phillaunkia nation starts freaking out over Turner’s slow start, head coach Doug Collins tells fans to be patient with the rookie.
“Until he gets himself into the kind of condition he needs to be in, it’s going to be tough for him to catch up.” It’s not all Evan’s fault,” said the recently hired coach. “They protect these draft picks and don’t let them practice and it’s hard for them to stay in shape. Evan is going to grow from this. I’m glad it’s happening now because he has time to do something about it.”
Jrue Holiday recovered from a sub-par performance on Tuesday, with another eye opening performance yesterday. Many people in the RDV Sportsplex were talking about Holiday as the best player in the OPSL this year and Holiday showed why on Wednesday. The 2009 first round pick finished with 25 points on 7 of 15 shooting and knocked down three triples for the 76ers. The former UCLA Bruin also dished out a team-high five assists and swiped three steals. All of that was enough to impress head coach Doug Collins.
“Jrue is so good, he really is so good. I’m so excited for his potential,” said Collins. “ This is a point guard driven league and when you get a young kid like that, with his kind of confidence and his demeanor, he can be very special for us.”
Before we praise Jrue to much, he was quick to point out he has a lot of work to do. “My play has been alright so far,” said Holiday. “I had a lot of turnovers (6) tonight which I am going to try and cut down tomorrow. I just got to continue being aggressive and if the shot is there take it, if not find the open man.”
76ers fans and we here at Philadunkia.com are drooling over a potential backcourt of Holiday and Turner. It’s a tandem that could be special for many years to come. Speaking of young talent, Marreese Speights his second straight solid performance for the 76ers. The former Florida Gator looks to have found that groove he had in his rookie season for the 76ers. The 2008 first round pick finished with 20 points and was aggressive all night. The forward also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
Even with the first loss of the week, the 76ers have much to be excited about with the core of young talent performing down in Orlando.
You can catch the highlights of the Sixers L here.
You can also watch a post game interview with Mo Speights here. Speights talks openly about his knee injury and how he believes he is now back to “100%”.