The 76ers were in dire need of a spark. Having lost two straight to Milwaukee and Utah after defeating the Boston Celtics, the Sixers caught themselves battling a feisty Clippers team at the Staples Center. With under 20 seconds remaining in the half, head coach Doug Collins fired up the troops after getting ejected.
The first technical came after a DeAndre Jordan missed free throw. Tony Battie fought for the ball but was called for a questionable loose ball foul. A heated Doug Collins bickered at the refs and drew a technical foul. Collins calmly sat down and gathered his thoughts. Following another Clippers’ missed free throw from Blake Griffin, Battie was whistled for a loose ball foul again. That was the last straw, a furious Collins approached the refs on the playing floor. Obviously, he was then ejected with his second technical. Before he left the floor he spread a few words of wisdom with his bench before associate head coach Michael Curry took reigns.
Heading into halftime the Sixers lead 49-46. Before the clocks first tick in the second half, Randy Foye was awarded a technical free throw all thanks to Mo Speights. Speights rode the bench for the entire contest, but apparently found it necessary to yell profanity at a much-more talented Blake Griffin before entering the locker room for halftime.
For our struggling Sixers, the technicals were exactly what was needed to reignite a team with recent woes. Responding with fire in their eyes after the antics of Collins and Speights, the Sixers controlled the match after an 18-4 third quarter run. We would go on to beat the inferior Los Angeles ball club 104-94.
With the win we are tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference Standings with the New York Knicks (Knicks are 34-32, but we share same winning percentage). The victory moves the Sixers to 35-33 on the year with upcoming road bouts against Sacramento and Portland. We cannot overlook Sacramento and ahead to the Portland matchup. Both teams have raucous home crowds which creates a hostile environment.
Jodie Meeks’ hot streak will be a great asset to this team for the remainder of the trip. Meeks went off for five three-pointers and 22 points last night. In his last five ball games he’s averaging 16.2 points per game on 52.9 percent from the field and has scored double figures in every contest in the month of March. His 22 point outburst is his third highest scoring total on the season. Meeks received help from someone who is familiar with the Clippers organization.
Elton Brand’s homecoming resulted in a quality performance going off for 19 points and snatching 12 rebounds. Brand was challenged defensively by two of the most athletic big men in the game — DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin — but despite their impressive stats, EB held his own with five blocks against a younger, taller and more athletic pair. He had limited help from Spencer Hawes and Tony Battie down low.
Hawes and Battie mightily struggled against the Clippers talented frontcourt. Both stood no chance and relegated to simply hacking the opposition. Not a bad strategy considering both Jordan and Griffin combined for 12/25 free throws.
While the post players struggled, guard Jrue Holiday excelled. Jrue did a great job attacking the rim scoring 20 points and dishing out nine dimes. Holiday was held under 10 points in his last three outings and bounced back thanks to a weak perimeter defense.
His fellow guard Lou Williams struggled to get into rhythm. Lou is a streaky shooter and things weren’t going his way, needing 13 shots to accumulate 14 points. Lou Williams wasn’t the only 7-6 member to struggle finding his shooting touch.
Andre Iguodala, like Lou-Will, was irrelevant as a scoring threat. He was able to find open teammates for eight assists, but only scored nine points on 4-13 shooting. Iguodala is battling with Knee Chondromalacia (a.k.a. runner’s knee) which is an irritation under the surface of the knee cap. He’s listed as day-to-day which is positive news for the 76ers. At times, he’d slightly limp on the hampered knee but nothing seemed too severe. Iguodala will need to gut-it-out for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs.
Philadelphia needed a spark from their head coach to finally get the wheels turning. However, Doug Collins shouldn’t need to light a fire every time for this young squad to get going. It’s understandable that the players are growing weary and tired as we approach the final 82nd game, but they must keep in mind no playoff spot has been clinched. It’s crucial that this team harnesses its focus and end on a stellar note.
- Andres Nocioni saw action last night (6+ mins.) vs. the LAC. Not including the 6 minutes he saw during the blowout loss in Milwaukee on 3/12, Wednesday night was the first minutes Noc has sen since February 23rd.
- CSNphilly.com has video of Collins’ post game comments on his ejection.
- The Clips were clearly not happy with the Sixers rough style of play on the blocks and said so in the LA Times today.
- Of course NBA.com has highlights of the Sixers W in LA.