02/29/12 8:59 am EST
|Elton Brand, PF 22 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +14
Brand did a little bit of everything in this game. Although he wasn’t necessarily a force offensively, he made an impact defensively notching three steals and three blocks. At this point Brand doesn’t need to do all that much for the team offensively for the team to succeed, but it would be nice if he can continue this defensive intensity moving forward.
|Andre Iguodala, SF 30 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 12 PTS | +17
Andre Iguodala fresh off of a nice All-Star game performance showed a little bit of All-Star flare in this one. Iguodala led the team with 4 steals, had a couple nice dishes and slams in transition, and surprisingly was able to shoot 2-3 from beyond the arc! He hasn’t been that effective from the outside since February 1st when he went 2-3 from deep in a win against the Bulls. This is the type of game we’d like to see from Dre every night. If he can limit his shots to high percentage looks while also creating looks for teammates and being a lock-down defender then the Sixers are going to be very successful the rest of the season.
|Lavoy Allen, PF 17 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +8
Lavoy got the start, but wasn’t really needed in this game. Four of his “Night Shift” teammates received more minutes than him as he spent much of the game on the bench. I’m sure he would’ve much rather been sleeping on his couch; Andre Iguodala wouldn’t have minded either.
|Jodie Meeks, G 36 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +21
Solid overall performance from Meeks. Doug Collins will do anything to keep Meeks on the floor to stave off reporters asking for his head. So you know if Meeks logs over 30 minutes in a game, over better players like Evan Turner or Lou Williams, then Meeks had himself an above average game. He shot efficiently going 4-7 from the field for 12 points, had a couple steals, and played great defense on the likes of Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon. Meeks logged 36 minutes in this game. When Meeks plays 30 or more minutes this season, the Sixers are 8-4(with two of those losses coming in overtime). Unfortunately for him, his play is usually too streaky though to get him that kind of minutes. This is typically a good thing for the Sixers though.
|Jrue Holiday, PG 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +13
Jrue, like Brand and Iguodala, also shined on the defensive end notching three steals by games end. He also added 10 points and dished out five assists. Not incredible numbers by Holiday, but he did enough to keep the Sixers ahead. He applied great pressure on rookie Brandon Knight who shot only 2-8 from the field. Followers of this team are hoping he can find his rhythm both offensively and defensively in the second half of the season. He has a tough task against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder next game.
|Lou Williams, PG 25 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 13 PTS | +21
Remember when the Sixers let Andre Miller walk in hopes that Lou Williams could handle point guard duties for the team? That turned out to be a complete disaster, but in this game he showed that all the training he had to do did not go to waste(maybe Eddie Jordan did do something right?). Lou notched a game-high seven assists while adding 13 points. He’s now hit 10 or more points in 31 games this season. The seven assists tied a season-high (which he had in the disaster of a game against the Magic). Sometimes it’s better to make the extra pass than taking the extra shot, but people have to realize that Lou was mentored by Allen Iverson who averaged 21 career shot attempts per game. Lou in comparison has only four games where he’s shot 17 or more this season. Hopefully this is the result of his other mentor, Andre Miller.
|Thaddeus Young, F 29 MIN | 9-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 20 PTS | +23
Young set the tone for the Sixers in this game and exemplified the kind of heart and hustle the Sixers had been playing with before their five game skid by All-Star weekend. Young had 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half. He also added eight boards, two steals, and two blocks. It was only Young’s fourth 20 point game this season after reaching the 20 point mark 15 times last season. He’s the x-factor for this Sixers team, and his performance in this game is the reason why he was given a 5-year $43 million contract in the off-season. Just please don’t embarrass yourself on a freebie again.
|Evan Turner, SG 25 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +18
Evan Turner had an MVP type performance in the NBA’s Rising Stars Competition over All-Star weekend scoring 16, rebounding 11, and dishing out seven in a win for Team Chuck over Team Shaq. It should’ve been enough, if Team Chuck didn’t also have Kyrie Irving who went 8-8 from beyond the arc for 34 points, while dishing nine(As Stewart Scott would say, “the dude is sick nasty”). On Tuesday night, Turner didn’t do quite as well but still contributed in the Sixers win. He played great defense while on the floor as well as hit for eight points, grabbed seven boards, and dished out three assists. Turner now has 12 games this season where he’s grabbed at least seven boards, he had 15 all of last season. His highlight of the night was a sweet full-court dish to Thaddeus Young, which can be seen here.
|Nikola Vucevic, C 24 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +16
See Lavoy Allen. Just like his rookie counterpart, Vuc didn’t need to do much in this game and the two had nearly identical stat sheets. I’m excited for Spencer Hawes’ return for two reasons. One, because he’s an absolute factor in the success of the team this season. Two, because the battle for minutes between Lavoy and Vuc is going to be exciting to watch. These two rookies give it their all when they’re on the court and contrast each other perfectly. Imagine Big Nik trying to fit in at Temple University or Lavoy Allen sitting around a Montenegrin hookah bar. It would be high comedy at its finest.
After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Last Night
1. DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE:
The Sixers held the Pistons to a season low 31.6% shooting for just 68 points. They forced 22 Pistons turnovers and added eight blocks. The 22 turnovers led to 24 Sixers points. The Pistons Jason Maxiell and Rodney Stuckey each had five turnovers. Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with four steals, while Jrue Holiday and Elton Brand each had three. The Sixers previous high in steals this season was 13. The Sixers continue to rank tops in the league in team defense holding their opponent to 86.97 ppg.
2. Losing streak snapped:
The Sixers came into the game riding a five-game losing streak. In the final game of their four-game road trip they were able to come away with a convincing win over the Pistons. The Sixers 97 points were their most since their victory over the Bobcats, just before their losing streak. Doug Collins had this to say about their teams performance in their first game since the All-Star break, “Fresh legs and fresh minds — it’s something I always talk about. I just thought our guys played fresh tonight and that’s what I was hoping for.”
3. Young Smooth:
Thaddeus Young had a monster game for the Sixers. His 20 points led all scorers and his intensity on the boards and defensively gave the Sixers a huge boost throughout the contest. He played a large part in the Sixers 30 fast break points. Outside of Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young is the most versatile player on the Sixers roster and the team will look to him for more games like this down the road.
4. Balanced scoring:
The Sixers had six players hit in double figures. Thaddeus Young led all scorers with 20, Lou Williams hit for 13, Andre Iguodala and Jodie Meeks each had 12, and Jrue Holiday and Elton Brand added 10 apiece. As a team the Sixers shot 50% from the field and dished out 26 assists. The Pistons only had two players hit in double figures. Greg Monroe hit for 20 points, while Rodney Stuckey had 17. The Pistons as a team shot just 31.6% and committed 22 turnovers.
5. A quality opponent:
For those of you who think that this W over the Pistons means absolutely nothing as it was just another Sixers rout of a terrible team, here’s some interesting info. Detroit had been playing decent ball headed into the ASB and was 7-4 in their last 11 games coming into last night’s contest. Included in that stretch of improved play were 2 wins over Boston; a heartbreaking 4-point loss to the SAS and a 1-point loss at Cleveland to an improved Cavs team. Just sayin…
6. Up next, the best in the West:
Next up the Sixers have the Thunder at home — TONIGHT. The Thunder are currently tied with the Miami Heat for the best record in the League at 27-7. Kevin Durant is second in the NBA in scoring with 27.9 a game while teammate Russell Westbrook sits just below him at fifth, notching 23.5 ppg. Unlike the Sixers, the Thunder looked strong going into All-Star weekend riding a five-game winning streak. Also unlike the 7-6, the Thunder did not play last night and should have fresh legs coming off the ASB. Six of the Thunders seven losses this season come on the road. The Thunder’s most recent loss came on the road against the Houston Rockets (2/15/12) to a final score of 96-95. This is the Thunder’s first road game since then as they had a 5-game home stand prior to the ASB.
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