With multiple prime-time NBA match-ups, the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds of the NCAA Tournament as well as the Easter Holiday (and family visiting) going on this past weekend our beloved 76ers were relegated to DVR status.
But now that we have had time to “watch the tape”, we have some thoughts on what went right for the 76ers this past weekend (winning back-to-back games) and what went wrong for Collins & Co. (winning back-to-back games).
So, on the opening night of the Phillies 2013 season, let’s recap all that went down with the 76ers who extended their win streak to three games this weekend.
“The Enigma” Strikes Back
The weekend started with a rare road victory on Friday night. When I say rare, I’m talking about a team that secured just its eighth victory away from the Wells Fargo Center in 34 tries. But, don’t be so impressed—it came against the 22-49 Cavs who are 13-23 at home this season. But, what may have been even more surprising than the victory was Evan Turner’s incredible play. At Quicken Loans Arena, “The Enigma” put up 23 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists while only turning the ball over once. ONCE! And, while it did come against the Kyrie Irving-less Cavs, Turner actually looked like a dominant N0. 2 Overall pick for a night.
Then on Saturday night when the Sixers swept their first back-to-back set of the year, “The Enigma” led the way again. He scored 22 on 8-14 shooting from the field and 5 of 6 on FTAs. His 13 points in the 3rd Q were a big factor in the Sixers win. Turner also grabbed 7 boards and had only 2 turnovers.
Hawes Still on Fire
The clean shaved and freshly cut Hawes continued his stellar play this past weekend. He racked up another double-double (10 in his last 18 runs) on Friday evening — 16 points (7-17) and 11 rebounds. He also gave out 5 assists. On Saturday night, Spence posted 19 points (8-12), 6 rebs., and 6 dimes vs. the Bobcats. Included in Spencer’s solid play were 5 points in the crucial 4th Q. Hawes is now averaging 15 & 10.5 in his last 10 games.
Holiday continues to Struggle
Outside of the 4th Q in the win over Charlotte, Jrue Holiday didn’t play his best ball over the weekend. Jrue simply looks exhausted. He scored 20 on 9-20 shooting vs. Cleveland and did not get to the FT line at all. Until that 4th Q vs. CHA, Jrue was 10-29 from the field (6-17 vs. CHA; 0-3 on 3PA) on the weekend.
Still, in the 4th Q of the Bobcats game Jrue seemed to find his game. He scored 9 straight at one point (11 overall), threw down a vicious left handed dunk and sealed the W with a long outlet pass that led to a Wilkins dunk. Jrue finished with 14 points, 9 helpers and only 4 turnovers.
Philadunkia’s latest interview subject was +18 in the Cleveland game despite only scoring 7 points (2-3 on FGAs). Wilkins did however hand out 6 assists vs. the Cavs. Against Charlotte, Wilkins scored 9 straight points in the 1st Q and ended with 15 on 6 of 10 shooting. He also ran the floor beautifully for FB dunk that sealed the W vs. CHA. Wilkins continues to make DC look like a genius and ruin our lottery position at the same time.
Thad was…well, Thad
Over the weekend – 18 & 6 in Cleveland (9-13 on FGAs) and 15 & 10 vs. CHA. He just brings the lunch box and goes to work.
The win in Cleveland
Cleveland led 45-36 with 1:57 remaining in the second quarter, but the Sixers scored nine straight points to tie it. Collins & co used a 20-2 run that began late in the second quarter and extended into the third to take control of this one. The Cavaliers trailed 77-66 after three quarters, but cut the margin to 78-74 early in the fourth. The Enigma drilled a 3-ball and a jumper to push the lead back to nine. Holiday added two 3-pointers and scored in the lane to keep t close this one out for the Sixers.
While the current Philadelphia 76ers’ roster was set to battle the Charlotte Bobcats on the court one day later on Saturday, the city was buzzing about the word that a former Sixer great would be in the building for the game: Allen Iverson.
Iverson showed up and did not disappoint. Dawning his usual sporty garb and gold chains that he did back in 1996, Iverson was still a larger than life figure in the City of Brotherly Love on AI bobble head night and, whenever he returns, it feels like he never left. He was emotional in several interviews and gave one of the best quotes in recent Philly sports history, “Until they put me in the dirt, I’m a Sixer,” in an interview with Ayla Brown.
Iverson conducted several more interviews as well. Here’s another candid talk with The Answer.
On the court, the Sixers were also successful on AI bobble head night. Collins’ starters continued to play fantastic basketball in major minutes and the team was able to score 100 points (Big Macs for everyone) and defeat the Bobcats. The Sixers continued to share the ball well — 38 FGs on 28 dimes – and at one point in the 2nd Q they scored 7 straight assisted baskets.
The Bobcats shot 50% on the night (38 for 76 from the floor) and kept it close throughout, but the Sixers pulled away in the 4th. Royal Ivey (5 pts. in 4th & 11 overall) hit a 3-pointer to give the Sixers an 82-80 lead near the midpoint of the 4th Q and they never trailed again. Ivey also had a great hustle play on which he made a steal and then dove into the stands to save the ball. Holiday sliced through the lane and flushed the previously mentioned dunk over Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts to extend the lead to 91-84. The Bobcats got within 3 points late, but could not get over the hump. Spencer contributed 5 points in the 4th Q. Turner hit 3 of 4 FTS in the closing minute.
Much Needed Rest
The Sixers don’t play again until Wednesday and that’s good news for some tired legs. Unfortunately, all five of the Sixers’ starters logged major minutes over the weekend. No starter played less than 36 minutes in Cleveland. On Saturday none of the first-five played less the 32-plus minutes. Holiday hauled an insane 41 minutes vs. Charlotte. Meanwhile Arnett Moultire got just 7 ticks and Charles Jenkins received no playing time at all. While it is positive to see your starting unit play well and win games, this team doesn’t need to do that. We’ve said it time and time again in numerous Philadunkia articles. Play the youngins and decrease the starters’ minutes!
What do the starters get out of dropping double-digits on the worst team in the NBA? Why does Moultrie play ZERO MINUTES against a team that he could definitely take advantage of and gain some more confidence against? It’s great to see all five of your starters combine to shoot 53.9 percent from the field, but they did it against the Bobcats. It’s great to see your team win, but it’s at a point in the season where they must overcome a 6.5-game chasm from the Milwaukee Bucks in just 9 contests in order to reach the playoffs.
What in the world is Dou Collins doing? Why don’t they understand the importance of tanking? Why have they now tied their longest win streak of the year at 3 games? Whyyyyy????
If you have a Twitter account and are a Philadelphia sports fan, it’s impossible to not know that the Sixers waived Jeremy Pargo to call up Jrue Holiday’s older brother, Justin, from the team’s NBDL affiliate Idaho Stampede, as Collins’ backup, backup, backup point guard. Justin averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.17 blocks on 42 percent shooting from the floor and 41 percent shooting from three in 47 games this year. Many in Philly are excited for this 9-game brother experiment:
— Lee Russakoff (@LeeRussakoff) April 1, 2013
But, I’m more confused and skeptical. For starters, the Sixers had Justin on their Orlando Summer League roster and were reportedly very impressed by him. But, after their time down in Florida, the team sent Holiday to the D-League and signed Maalik Wayns. During this season, the team ended up plugging multiple players into the “12th Man Carousel” when they first cut Maalik Wayns. Then they filled that spot with the likes of Shelvin Mack and Jeremy Pargo until they’ve now decided to end the season with Justin. Why? Why go through all of those other contracts instead of just signing Justin back in October and having him here all year long so he could develop? What the hell is going on with this organization?
Lastly, Justin is listed as a 6-6, 180 pound forward. That’s a skinny cat. I’m a little skeptical as to how he will be able to defend wing players who usually way around 220 pounds that are his height. This team is just baffling.
Jake Fischer is a Scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeLFischer.
You can also follow us on Twitter @philadunkia