It's always a challenge to find the picture to put atop a recap post, tonight I decided to go with the angriest rich guy in Detroit, Pistons owner Tom Gores. He looks like I felt at the end of previous five Sixers games. Not tonight, though. For one night, at least, the Sixers looked like a powerhouse again in a demonstrative win. (game capsule).
Here's your rotation chart. I highlighted the unit which ended the first quarter, and then their run early in the third, mainly because I was calling for Collins to sub out the Lou/Meeks/Turner trio right before they went on a huge run. Shows you what I know:
First, this was an important win. It was important they got the job done against a bad team. It was important they leave no doubt, and they did that. Defensively, this was perhaps the best effort of the season. Even with terrible defensive rebounding in the first half, they still held Detroit to an OFR of 75.33. On the offensive end, they were clearly running plays for the first three quarters of the game. They spent very little time dribbling on the perimeter trying to figure out what they were supposed to be doing. There was much more movement off the ball, and they just looked like a team that had practiced their offensive sets. That's not something you could say very often during their bad stretch.
Second, this was a win over a bad team. A win they were expected to get. They didn't prove their slump is over, they didn't prove anything other than that they're clearly a better team than the Pistons, which everyone already knew. This game is only meaningful if they carry the effort over going forward. Finally, some bullets:
- Pretty amazing to see Lou/Meeks/Turner result in a +17 in 14 minutes tonight, considering that trio had been the team's worst perimeter combo heading into the game.
- Good to see Meeks hit a couple threes. Lou caught fire late in the third after making a couple bad mistakes that seemed like they might give DET a little bit of hope. He crushed their spirit with six straight points.
- Allen was the better of the rooks tonight, which hasn't been the trend recently. Neither of them did a particularly good job on Greg Monroe. Elton Brand remains the team's best interior defender. It's going to be imperative for Collins to find some kind of way to keep Brand's legs at least somewhat fresh the rest of the way. Blowout wins help.
- I said this during the game thread, but it's worth repeating. Anyone who has questioned Jrue's defense this season needs to go back and look at tape of the third quarter. He absolutely stoned everyone he was guarding. He was moving his feet to cut off penetration, playing the passing lanes to cause turnovers, giving up his body to draw charges. He and Andre Iguodala held their counterparts to a combined 4/18 from the floor for 12 points with 3 assists and 5 turnovers.
- Both Iguodala and Jrue shot the ball well tonight, in limited minutes with limited touches. Lou hit half of his shots, but failed to get to the line. Turner started off pretty well, but fizzled in garbage time. Meeks finished 4/7, so the lack of production from the perimeter guys disappeared for tonight's game, at least.
- Even in a 29-point blowout, there are improvements you can make. Detroit had 15 offensive boards, you can't survive that against a good team. The Sixers also turned the ball over 15 times, 50% more than their usual.
- Turnovers aside, we saw something tonight we haven't seen from them in a while. They were having fun out there. It's not as simple as saying, "Go out there and have a good time," and it's not as simple as just winning. There were times during this game where you could see them clearly enjoying themselves on the floor (the Iguodala between the legs to Thad for the massacred bunny comes to mind). That was a staple of the winning ball they were playing early in the year. The game wasn't a grind. Every play wasn't an internal debate between whether a play might lead to a turnover, or who was going to make a shot. It just sort of flowed and things worked. They need to get that back, whatever that is. It was there tonight.
Player of The Game: Thaddeus Young. Thad was a man tonight, 9/17 for 20 points with 8 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks. The crazy thing about that line is that Thad missed three of the easiest looks you've ever seen (costing Jrue 2 assists and Iguodala another). He really should've finished this game 12/17 with 26 points, and his biggest contributions might have been on the defensive end.
Team Record: 21-14
Up Next: Gulp...OKC in Philly tomorrow night.
Jrue's Goal: A 2-2 push tonight. (2-6-1 since inception).