12/29/11 10:12 am EST
Anytime one can say “Did you see that Spencer Hawes fast break jam?” then it must have in a good night at the office for the Sixers. It was much more than a good night though, as they annihilated the Phoenix Suns 103 -83 to get their first win of the year, Wednesday night in the desert.
The 3rd quarter started with a 19-0 run that pushed the Sixers’ lead to 33. That run included the memorable Hawes’ coast to coast trip after a Suns turnover that ended in his emphatic dunk. Hawes, who’s been a surprising bright spot through the first two games, nearly earned another double-double as grabbed 11 rebounds while scoring 9 points.
Of course, he had a lot of help from his friends, including Andre Iguodala, whose sparkling all around first half performance propelled the Sixers to a 14 point lead heading into halftime.
Iggy did virtually did everything – defending, scoring, and dishing the rock. He finished with 15 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals. He did all this while shooting 71% from the field, including a perfect 3 for 3 from beyond the arc.
Don’t look now, but Andre Iguodala can shoot. If that statement remains a consistent truth, then the Sixers instantly become just that more explosive and should have the Eastern Conference worried. Well, that’s if you are not New York, Miami, or Chicago.
Iguodala was just one of 6 Sixers who scored in double figures. That line will be written repeatedly this season as they have mastered the definition of teamwork. In fact, they scored with so much balance that Thaddeus Young, and Jrue Holiday each joined Iggy with 15 points. Evan Turner continued his solid play. He chipped in with 12 points and finished with 7 rebounds.
The sum of the collective parts dominated a Suns’ team who are in the confusing wonderland of an old aging team mixed with a rebuilding process.
It started early as the Sixers ended the first quarter on a 10-2 run that was sparked by their stellar bench play, which included a nice showing from rookie center Nikola Vucevic. He wasn’t Moses Malone by any stretch of the imagination but “Big Nik” showed flashes that he could hold his own in the NBA.
Though, it certainly looked like the Suns were not in the same league as the Sixers. They were out-played and it showed in just about every major statistical category.
It’s never good when a team’s marquee player is an absolute non-factor.
Steve Nash was abysmal as he only scored 4 points on 2-11 shooting. For even further embarrassment, he gift wrapped 6 turnovers for the 7-6 while only providing 4 assists to his Suns.
His opposing point guard didn’t have the greatest of starts either. Jrue Holiday has had a very lack luster start to his 2011-2012 campaign, which may have prevented the Sixers from starting off to 2-0.
Holiday was horrid to start the night, missing his first 6 shots. He shot 50% for the rest of the game but his slow starts will begin to create major problems for a team who doesn’t have a superstar to lean on. Doug Collins will most definitely not be satisfied with 2 assists from his starting point guard, blowout notwithstanding.
A 20 point victory tends to hide any blisters and bumps a team may have, but Holiday will have to smooth out his problems if the Sixers are to continue to win, especially to teams who don’t throw in the towel (aka the Phoenix Suns). Because, there is certainly no doubt that Holiday must be the engine that drives the Sixers especially on the offensive end.
Fortunately enough for the Sixers, they were a runaway freight train in game 2 of a 66 game marathon (well mini-marathon). The Sixers long, season-starting west coast trip continues in Salt Lake City. So, the question is does the train keep rushing down the tracks or will it be quickly derailed by the Jazz?
- Prior to tip off Vegas had established the Sixers as 1.5 point favorite against the Suns. If you didn’t jump all over that one, then you missed out on some easy Holiday bonus money.
- As was mentioned earlier, Holiday’s shooting woes in games 1 & 2 of the 2011-12 season are disturbing. In the season opener, Jrue began his year by going 1-7 and was 4-10 from the field overall in the game. Last night he got off to an 0-6 start before he hit a jumper at the 9:32 mark of the 2nd Q and finished 5-15.
- As always, NBA.com has the highlights of the Sixers W over the Suns.