I should wait until they play at Milwaukee Sunday afternoon, but I just can't. In my eyes, this Sixers team is no longer a team with limited talent who plays hard every night, they are no longer a team bereft of talent who can sneak up on wounded teams in a weak conference, they are no longer a pleasant surprise playing out the string in a weak Eastern conference. The Sixers are a good team.
Tonight's 117-83 win
over the Sonics illustrates my point perfectly. If the Sixers were truly a bad team playing over their heads, they'd still be winning these games, but they wouldn't be winning them in this manner. They are absolutely out-classing the lesser teams in this league, blowing them off the floor. That's what good teams do. They've also played every playoff team they've faced tight, knocking off the Mavericks, Suns, Magic and Wizards in the past month. This team is for real.
Tonight, it was a huge game from Samuel Dalembert (22 points, 13 boards, 1 assist and 1 block) along with Thad Young (18 points, 9 boards, 3 assists and 1 steal) that lead the way. Andre Iguodala had an active first half, and wasn't needed at all in the fourth.
A couple of quick notes:
- Reggie Evans got the start and put 9 quick points on the board.
- P.J. Carlesimo went to Kevin Durant early and often to start the game, taking advantage of a huge size mismatch he had over Willie Green. Durant scored 10 points in the first quarter. After the first, Thad Young had the assignment for the majority of the game. How did Durant do against Thad? 4 points in his final 20 minutes of game action, with 6 turnovers. There's no question in my mind that Thad Young is a better NBA player right now than Kevin Durant. That may change as Durant matures, but there is no contest right now. Durant is a scorer, and not a very efficient one at that. He plays no defense, doesn't rebound and doesn't make the players around him better. Thad does all the things Durant cannot.
- Speaking of Thad, the Sixers obviously spent a good portion of their practice time this week working on his offensive game. Thad was a bigger part of the offense, and he was more assertive with the ball. Before garbage time started, Thad had a three from the corner, and a couple of nice dribble drives from the top of the key. Neither of those things was happening before the team got some extra practice time. Great work by Mo.
- Another hat tip to Mo. After Durant torched Green early on he recognized the mismatch and used his secret weapon (Thad) coupled with a zone defense to completely stifle Durant for the duration. He out-coached Carlesimo tonight.
- It sure was nice seeing a big smile on Iguodala's face for most of the game.
Saturday is a day of rest, then it's a day game at Milwaukee to finish up this mini-stretch of games. Back on Feb. 26th, the Sixers were looking at a 6-game run, 4 on the road, against Orlando, Golden State, Phoenix, LA Clippers, Seattle and Milwaukee. 3-3 was a fair expectation. With only the Bucks left, the Sixers are 4-1 over that stretch.Player of The Game:
Sam DalembertTeam Record:
The Wizards won, the Nets, Hawks and Bulls lost. The Sixers remain all alone in 7th, 1.5 games behind the Wizards and stretch their lead to 3 over the Nets, 4 over the Bulls and Hawks.