|Elton Brand, PF 29 MIN | 5-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +10
The 12 points the “Ol’ Chevy” put up were nice and the 5 rebounds were solid as well, but what really impressed us about EB in GM 2 was two things: (1) He seemed determined to get himself and the Sixers off to a fast start and he did; and (2) at times Brand provided some solid interior defense for the Sixers. EB didn’t get an “A” because he (& the rest of the team) was simply awful guarding the pick-n-roll last night.
|Andre Iguodala, SF 33 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | +15
An interesting night for Dre. While several of the Sixers got off to hot starts in the 1st Q, Iguodala struggled out of the gate and had some simply awful turnovers as well as a couple ill-advised shots. But despite opening up the second half going 0-2 on FGAs, he led the impressive rally in the 3rd Q that got the Sixers the lead and that AND-1 dunk he threw down on Luol Deng was simply filthy. Speaking of Deng, Dre did an awesome job defending the Bulls wing-man — 3-12 on FGAs and only 2 pts. in 2nd half.
|Spencer Hawes, C 18 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +11
Yes we heard Collins’ explanation of why Hawes got the start last night, but we still have to ask, “So this stiff continues to get minutes and “Big Nik” can’t get a wiff of the court? WTF???” His missed lay-in at the 5 min. mark of the 2nd Q was brutal.
|Evan Turner, SG 42 MIN | 8-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 19 PTS | +13
The idea that Jodie Meeks should be in the Sixers first-five has officially been put to rest. Turner got off to a great start in this game, cleaned the glass, played stellar defense throughout and during the Sixers big run in the 3rd Q he put up 11 points. ET must have an unshakable self-confidence, because not many young players could have ridden the roller-coaster Collins put him through this year and then come out in a crucial playoff game and been a major contributor like Turner was last night.
|Jrue Holiday, PG 41 MIN | 11-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 26 PTS | +12
This is the scoring point guard attitude / game we want to see Jrue have every night. Hell, he even threw in 6 dimes for all you critics out there who want to find a “true point guard” for this team. Ohh yeah his defense was pretty solid as well.
|Lou Williams, PG 27 MIN | 8-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 20 PTS | +11
Even though he did the bulk of his scoring in the 4th Q (14 pts.) when the game was in-hand, it was good to see LW get going. The Bulls defense — specifically using a big to blitz Louis on the pick-n-roll — has owned him in the last couple of match-ups. The Sixers will need more of this out of LW if they plan to win this series.
|Thaddeus Young, F 23 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +1
A quiet night for Thad, but still solid. He did a much better job on the boards in the second half.
|Jodie Meeks, G 1 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | 0
How many of you yelled, “Noooooooo” at your TV screen when Meeks chucked up that 3PA at the end of the 1st half?
|Lavoy Allen, PF 26 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +12
A stellar job by Lavoy coming in off the bench and making big contributions — early and then often. He showed no hesitation in putting up (& making) shots in a huge playoff game and his effort on the glass in the second half was tremendous.
After the Jump, Six Things We Saw
1. Obviously this game was won in the 3rd Q by the Sixers. They posted a 36-14 edge in the Q thanks to some stellar defense — held Bulls to 25% shooting — and some great work on the glass. The effort on that end of the floor produced enough fast break dunks that at one point I thought I was watching the NBA All-Star game. Down by 55-47 at the half, Holiday (6 pts. in first 5 mins.) and Brand (6 pts. in first 5 mins.) led a fast-start to the 3rd Q that erased that lead quickly. Those two combined with Turner’s 11 points overall in the Q helped the Sixers to 21-6 run that closed with a 10-0 stretch before the Bulls finally called their second time out of the Q at the 6:28 mark because they were trailing 66-61.
2. As great as the 3rd Q was for the Sixers, they almost flushed this one down the drain in the 2nd Q. The Sixers defense was awful in this Q. Specifically they kept losing J0akim Noah and allowing John Lucas to do whatever he wanted. The Sixers also were getting killed on the pick-n-roll. The result was a 23-12 run by the Bulls that included 11 straight scoring trips for Chicago. Obviously asst. coach Michael Curry read them the riot act at the half.
3. Can you imagine how good the Sixers would be if they could get performances like this one out of Holiday and Turner every night? The starting back court supplied 45 pts., 9 rebs., 12 assists and their usual solid defense. Combined they shot 19-30 from the field (63.3%).
4. Here’s an interesting thought we pulled from this game that gives great hope that the Sixers can win this series. The Sixers cruised to a W in this game despite Louis scoring the bulk of his points when the game was over; an okay night from Thad who has been their most consistent player all year; a slow start by Dre and absolutely nothing out of Hawes. We don’t think they are going to roll over the Bulls from here on out, but it is encouraging to see they could win (and win big) in Chicago with some key players not playing at their highest level.
5. The Bulls trailed 83-69 to start the 4th Q and any hopes they had of a comeback in this game were quickly dashed when the opened the stanza 0-5 on FGAs. When their first FG of the Q finally found the bottom of the net at 6:28, they then trailed 91-72. For the record, the Bulls only scored 37 points total in the 2nd half.
6. Loose Balls: the Sixers had a 22-12 rebounding advantage in the 2nd half…How does Vucevic not get a single minute of run in this game? Hawes was a mental basket case last night and should not have received minutes in the second half…Was anyone else a little worried when Dre came up limping after that one dunk in the 3rd Q?