With a 110-94 victory over the embattled Detroit Pistons, the 76ers reach a .500 record for the first time this season at 29-29. Something that didn’t seem plausible after the 3-13 start to the season.
However, thanks to a winning month in February, the Sixers have now recorded winning records in three consecutive months. An accomplishment that hasn’t been met since the 2000-01 season.
The 7-6 controlled the tempo from the opening tipoff fending off the Pistons for all 48 minutes. The Sixers got out in transition and ran all over the depleted Pistons collecting 31 fast break points. The Sixers also attacked the basket with a vengence scoring an astonishing 68 points in the paint.
It’s the ninth time we’ve amassed at least 100 points in the last twelve games including scoring at least 110 points in four of those games. When the Sixers are in triple digits their record is 19-9. When this team is pushing the tempo for easy buckets and relentlessly attacking the paint they’re a tough out.
For a team that started off 1-4 at home, they can now hold their heads high with a respectable 19-9 home standing. If you a look at last season, you’ll notice the huge strides that have been made at the Wells-Fargo Center since the Sixers were a low 12-29 at home. Prior to the 2009-2010 season, the Sixers recorded 11 straight winning seasons in their arena.
Philadelphia’s opposition on last night was a mess. According to the Detroit Free Press half of the Detroit Pistons squad missed the morning shootaround in a protest movement against head coach John Kuester. Those players included Sixer killer Rodney Stuckey, Tracy McGrady, Austin Daye, Ben Wallace, Chris Wilcox and Tayshaun Prince. The Pistons organization tried to sugar coat the situation by blaming the mishaps on players being sick and missing the team bus to practice. But none of those players even participated in the ball game and were benched for their actions.
Out of frustration head coach John Kuester was ejected with three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Following his first Tech he charged midcourt infuriated by an officials ruling. Something tells me his anger from his players protesting carried through the ball game. Numerous Piston players seated on teh bench were caught by the TV cameras laughing at Kuester as he was escorted to the locker room. It’s been an ugly year for Kuester and with the recent tribulations between him and his players, don’t expect things to end happily for the head hancho.
The only six players to show up for the shootaround were rookie Greg Monroe, DaJuan Summers, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Will Bynum and Jason Maxiel. Only those six saw floor time. Credit them, despite losing by 16, they had a few spurts to keep the match competitive and in single digits for much of it. Will Bynum especially gave us trouble going off for 29 points, five rebounds and six assists. Bynum penetrated the lane at will and made Jrue Holiday look foolish at times.
Speaking of Jrue, he snatched a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Jrue was amongst four others including Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights and Thaddeus Young to score double figures.
Thaddeus Young was unstoppable at the rim pounding down many dunks and scoring 24 points on 12-15 from the field. His bench buddy Mo Speights also racked in 12 to aid the benches’ 46 points. The Sixers bench currently ranks No. 1 in the entire NBA averaging 40 points per game.
It was the two veterans though, that were the stars of the contest. Elton Brand scored 20 points while collecting 17 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. Brand now has 20 double-doubles on the season. In his previous two years with the 7-6, he combined for 17 double-doubles. EB is revitalizing his career at the age of 31 under head coach Doug Collins.
Andre Iguodala is amazing in transition. His athleticism, strength, length and passing ability make him nearly impossible to stop when were running-and-gunning. AI9 put together a well-rounded effort scoring 21 points on 9-13 shooting with 11 assists and seven boards. He also had a beautiful windmill dunk on a break-away.
That was a match the Sixers absolutely had to win. You cannot fall asleep against a depleted team like the Pistons who are playing for a coach they despise. The W makes it five of the last six games we’ve come out on top and 12 of the last 16.
On the same night the new look sixth-seeded Knicks fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, our beloved Sixers moved closer to legitimacy. I hope the Bulls are ready to take on a streaking up-and-coming young roster, because we’ll be taking over that sixth seed, even with Carmelo donning a Knicks uniform.