|Elton Brand, PF 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +12
Is this game that gets Brand’s season on track? We hope so, because if EB can give us a double-double every night or get back to his 2010-11 form this could be a great season for the 7-6. Brand did have trouble on defense — especially defending the NOH pick-n-roll and for that we dropped him a grade. But overall a very solid effort.
|Andre Iguodala, SF 2-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +2
Hopefully this outing ends AI9’s love affair with his 3-point shot as he was simply awful from behind the arc tonight. He wasn’t much better from inside the 3-point line either. Overall it was one of the biggest train wreck games we have seen out of Dre in a long time. His follow slam in the 4th saved him from getting a D.
|Spencer Hawes, C 8-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -2
What is left to say about Spence’s play so far in 2011-12? He was simply great again tonight and was one of the bright spots in an otherwise brutal first half for the 76ers. If Hawes can keep this up and Brand finds his 2010-11 game, the Sixers frontline could be a force on offense. Spence also had some issues on defense and that’s why gets the A and not the A+.
|Jodie Meeks, G 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -4
Tonight was just further proof that Meeks is not a starting SG in the NBA. He doesn’t just miss shots, he misses WIDE OPEN shots. His defense leaves a lot to be desired as well. We’re not sure he would start at Kentucky this year. How this glaring need for the Sixers was not addressed in the off-season is still a mystery to us.
|Jrue Holiday, PG 8-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 23 PTS | +12
Jrue struggled to find his game in the first 4 contests, but tonight he located it and then some. When he got off to a slow start in the 1st Q, we feared the worst. But he recovered nicely and Jrue went on to be simply filthy tonight, especially in the 4th. He played all 12 mins. of the final stanza and was good for 14 points on 3-4 shooting from deep.
|Lou Williams, PG 4-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -1
Louis cooled off some tonight, but along with Spence and Turner, he kept this team in the game during the 1st half when the starters struggled out of the gate. He was also a key part of the Sixers “small” lineup that got this game turned around in the 4th Q. It was actually a relief to see that the Sixers could win a game without LW shooting the lights out. His defense (along with the rest of the Sixers wing players) left much to be desired for most of the game.
|Thaddeus Young, F 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +8
Not an eye popping game from Thad, but he too was instrumental during the run in the 4th Q by the “small” lineup that got the Sixers back in this game and allowed them to take the lead. Early on he (along with every other Sixer) Thad settled for too many J’s, but he git that corrected after the half. The spinning, put back, lay-in he had in the 4th was huge.
|Evan Turner, SG 8-12 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 21 PTS | +13
Arguably his best overall game as a 76er. He exploited the mismatch with Belinelli and exploded for 11 points in the 2nd Q (and 4 rips). To be honest Turner was the only reason the Sixers were in this game at the half. ET’s amazing night continued in the 2nd half with some fantastic slices to the tin for buckets. He was also money for the charity stripe — 5 for 5. The was the type of performance you expect from the 2nd overall pick in the NBA Draft. Please let this be the start of a trend for ET.
After the Jump…Five Things We Saw Last Night
1. We really learned something about the Sixers as a team with this win tonight. Collins & Co. were down two bigs tonight (Speights & “Big Nik”), they struggled mightily shooting the ball in the early going (fell behind by as many as 14) and they got nothing from AI9 tonight. But they overcame all of that to secure a hard fought victory in a very physical game.
2. The Sixers got off to another horrific start in this game. NOH came out more aggressive and took the ball to the rim on every trip while the Sixers settled for long jumpers (Only 4 shots in the paint during the 1st Q). AI9 was 0-4, Meeks was 0-2 in the 1st Q and Jrue was off. Those numbers helped produce an ugly 33% clip on FGAs for the 7-6. On the other hand, the NOH’s consistent penetration helped them shoot 55% on FGAs.
3. Collins went small in the 4th — Louis, Thad, Jrue, ET and Brand (@ the 5) who was later replaced by Hawes. That “small” lineup triggered the final push in the Sixers comeback and propelled them to a 22-10 run at one stretch in the 4th. After playing from behind for 3 quarters, the run finally gave the Sixers a 3 point lead late in the 4th.
4. The blueprint is out on how to beat the Sixers…Be physical with them and use the pick-n-roll all night long. The Blazers followed that formula and produced a W; as did Utah. The Hornets would have succeeded with that blueprint tonight if it weren’t for Holiday’s amazing 4th Q.
5. We’re not in love with Malik Rose as the Sixers new TV color voice. There’s nothing necessarily “wrong” with Rose…He certainly knows the game and has the street cred to offer up an opinion that should be respected. But he’s does not come off as “committed” to the 7-6 as Eric Snow was last year. He doesn’t have to be Stacey King in Chicago or that clown Heinsohn up in Boston, but a bigger touch of the old “homer” flavor sure would be nice.