Posted by: Philadunkia
01/27/11 10:45 am EST

Heading into the Air Canada Centre to face the Toronto Raptors, the 76ers have struggled in the New Year on the road having lost five consecutive.  Overall, the road hasn’t been very friendly to the 7-6 this year as their 5-18 record on the season indicates.  However, in Toronto last night their road luck changed as the Sixers beat the Raptors 107-94 and improved to 20-25 on the season. 

The victory is the third straight for the 76ers and ran their record to 1-2 vs. the Raptors in 2010-11.  Toronto seized the two previous games between the teams back in November when the 76ers were struggling pitifully.  It was part of their 3-13 stretch, and Raptors’ center Andrea Bargnani owned the 7-6 in those two games, including a 30 point effort in Philadelphia. 

This time around things were very different.  The team continued to respond to head coach Doug Collins’ defense first philosophy, held Bargnani to 17 points and beat the Raptors thanks to Mo Speights and a great second half. 


Since our early woes, the Sixers have done a fabulous job upping our team defense and limiting our turnovers.  Take a look at the table below to see the improvement of play:

  First 16 games Since
Record 3-13 17-12
Opp. PPG 101.8 94.6
Turnovers 15.1 12.3


The simple formula of valuing each possession while preaching stout defense on the other end, has resulted in an above .500 record since late November.  With the Sixers holding a 7-5 record in the 2011 — with two losses in overtime — this young roster is poised to begin competing in the postseason.  Luckily for us, as the games progress, we’re seeing some of the younger guys develop into needed contributors. 

It was told by the tale of the Raptors game.  The Sixers’ bench outscored the Raptors 50-17, with center Marreese Speights scoring a season-high 23 points on 10-12 shooting (in only 17 minutes of action).  Speights was joined by the ever-improving Evan Turner who pitched in with 10 points and combo guard Lou Williams with 15.  Turner has been more aggressive attacking the basket of late and has done a superb job leading fast break opportunities.  It looks like he’s finally learning his role in the offense and the appropriate times to look for his shot.

Speights has been inconsistent (That’s putting it kindly.) this season and you never know what you’ll get from him.  Collins understands that he features extreme athleticism and watery jumper for his 6-10 frame, but his frequent mental lapses on the defensive side of the ball have limited his playing time.  Against the weakened frontcourt of the Raptors — missing former Sixers forward Reggie Evans — Speights finished around the rim at will.  Without his contribution, this match may have tilted in favor of the home team. 

It all began after a slow 29-20 deficit in the first quarter.  We were shooting the ball poorly only hitting 8-22 field goals in the opening quarter.  In the second quarter things dramatically picked up thanks to Speights’ energy off the bench.  To open up the second quarter, Speights led a 17-4 run with 13 points of his own.  Most of his baskets were around the rim and over smaller Toronto defenders.  He finished with 17 points in the quarter as the Sixers shot an improved 12-23 from the field. 

The defense tightened up in the second half with the score tied at 50 to begin.  The Sixers outdueled Toronto in the final half with 13 more points.  Lou Williams caught the hot hand knocking down three trey-balls in the third quarter.  While Jrue Holiday did a fabulous job penetrating the paint and dishing to his post players, closing out with 11 assists. 

It was a formidable win against a faint team.  The one negative notion from the game is how well DeMar DeRozan played totaling 29 points on 9-18 shooting and 11-12 from the charity stripe.  The Sixer guards really struggled to stop the athletic second year guard from USC.  DeRozan has improved dramatically this season from his rookie year averaging 6.9 more points per game.  

DeRozan came from the same draft class as Jrue Holiday.  Both seem to be finding their grooves in their second campaign.  At only 20 years of age, Holiday’s progression of understanding the point guard position has been alarming for the rest of the league.  Against the Raptors, and in recent play, he’s shown great leadership qualities and found the open teammate for easy assists.  In a League rich with top-notch point guards, it’s refreshing to see the 7-6 have found a franchise star with a BRIGHT future.  

Philadunkia Notes:

  • The Sixers out rebounded the Raps (43-33), scored more points on the break (30-22), won the turnover battle (13-14) and hit more buckets in the paint (56-30).
  • Holiday picked up his ninth double-double of the season with a 15-point, 11-assist effort in the victory.  Holiday also grabbed 5 boards.
  • Jodie Meeks is in a major funk.  Meeks was scoreless from the floor against the Raptors, shooting 0-for-5 from the floor and finishing the game with just two points, a rebound and an assist in 20 minutes. What is even more disturbing is that Meeks struggled against a very weak opponent (TOR) who played a ton of zone defense last night.  Meeks is now averaging 5 points per night in his last seven games while shooting 10-39 from the field and 7-23 from deep. 
  • Of course has highlights of the Sixers third straight win.
  • With Memphis traveling to the Wells-Fargo Center on Friday, they’ll look to extend their winning streak to four — their longest streak of the year.  The Grizzlies are coming off an ugly road loss against the New Jersey Nets.  It’ll be the first time the Sixers compete with the Western Conference foe in 2010-11.


6 Responses to “GM 45 RECAP: MO – MENTUM”

  1. mattG
    27. January 2011 at 11:21

    Let’s win now !!!
    Sixers trade Evan turner, Mo Speights, Jason kapono (exp contract), Spencer hawes and if we must a first round pick to Indiana for Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Brandon Rush…

    That looks like a solid line up that could compete with any team in the league especially with Lou williams, thadd young, meeks,nocioni, battie, rush as our second unit
    That team is instant offense, size and iggy could finally be that perfect complimentary player to Granger and brand .. hope rod thorn feels like visiting philadunkia today and accidently scrolls down and stumbles across this !! Lol

    Weve become satisfied with mediocrity every second half of these past seasons !! This has to enddddddddddd!!!!!! For Phillys sake!

  2. Sloetry
    27. January 2011 at 12:23

    Great win. Speights was certainly formidable, and necessary as Brand’s jumper took a while to connect. William’s 3rd quarter was outstanding, but the other 3 quarters I thought he played terribly… poor decision making. Turner, you rightly mention is growing offensive capability, and I feel pretty confident now when I see him making a move to the basket and finishing close in, but his D and rebounding are also great assets.
    One thing I’ve noticed lately is the increase in alley oop type passing, something which really requires the passer and recipient to be in tune… I think this bodes well as it is a symptom of growing chemistry in the team.
    I was a fan of Hawes, and was defending him up until recently, but now I think he’s a spent force for the time being. He seems a little limited when moving, so I wonder if his back is still a problem. I think he’s got some talent as a big man (shooting and passing), but he’s just not bringing it.

  3. Mike
    27. January 2011 at 13:05

    Many people have called for Williams to start for Meeks lately given Meeks’ sudden slump. I agree that he should not be starting, but I don’t think Williams is near consistent enough to start. I mean, the guy shoots half the time he gets the ball (and at a low clip, I might add). Turner should be in the lineup because of his improved play.

    I would also like to see Speights get more minutes and (this might be hasty) some starts once in a while. I can see him developing into our every day center.

  4. AKing
    27. January 2011 at 13:16

    This team is really shaping up to be a good team. The guys have a lot of chemistry together and is’s starting to show.

  5. Will
    27. January 2011 at 16:47

    How does your proposed trade even remotely create a contender? Hibbert recently went to see a sports psychologist to try to fix his awful play of late. And did you see him get absolutley manhandled by dwight howard last night? Since the start of 2011 hibbert has been averaging just under 8 points and 7 rebounds a game. How is that impressive? As for granger id take iggy over him without even thinking. Why mortgage your number 2 overall pick for an overrated scorer who wont even make the allstar team this year? Do you really think a team with a three man nucleus of Iggy-Brand-Granger can contend for a title? Look at the starting lineup you proposed again. How do they compete with the celtics? Or the heat? Or the spurs? Or the lakers? Or even the bulls? How does this trade make any sense in the short term or long term? I would love to hear your thoughts

  6. Curren$y da Hot Spitta
    27. January 2011 at 19:33

    I been saying this all season, we need Speights to start over Hawes at Center. Hawes has been a huge letdown (i never really thought much of him in the first place) and he is rarely a presence in the paint. OK, Speights’ defense isn’t too hot, but neither is Hawes so we should go with the better talent. I’m not sure if you guys notice this when watching games, but it seems like the entire Sixers roster is reluctant to pass it to Evan Turner. I count numerous times a game where he is WIDE OPEN, but they still refuse to pass to him even if he is the only option. Anyways, good win for Philly, its about time they are capitalizing on these weak teams.

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