That first half was the ugliest half of basketball I've seen in nearly two weeks, since the Sixers last got hammered by the Raptors. The second half and overtime? Yeah, that was pretty.
Doug Collins' biggest conundrum as a coach these days is what the hell to do when Jrue is resting on the bench. Tonight, he decided to punt on that particular question. Jrue sat down with 4:24 left in the third. He was back in the game 2:12 later. He wouldn't sit for a second of the final 19:12 and he'd finish the game with 46 hard minutes, 33 points on 13/23 from the floor, 1/4 from three, 6/8 from the line, 5 boards, 14 dimes, 3 steals and 3 turnovers. He'd also score 18 points in those final 19 minutes (including the team's final 14, all 12 in overtime), and hand out 5 assists without turning the ball over. Big, big game for Jrue. And just to save Tray the trouble, I looked it up. Jrue is the youngest player since 1985 to have two games with at least 33 points and 13 assists.
Let's not forget, this is a team game. And the Sixers are nothing if not a roster made up of two legitimate NBA rotational players. Thad Young also had a monster game with 27 points on 23 shots and 14 boards. The rest of the Sixers? Well, Turner had a decent stretch in the third quarter, the rest of the game he was pitiful (and he sat out the stretch run and overtime, mercifully). Lavoy and Hawes scored efficiently and managed to staunch the bleeding in the paint somewhat in the second half. Jason Richardson was very, very poor. Richardson and Nick Young combined to shoot 1/11 from three, and that was the pretty part of their nights.
That was a thrilling game to watch. It was great to see Jrue just take it over and bring the game home (it should've ended in regulation, btw. He was clearly fouled on the game-tying shot with under 2 seconds left in regulation). But the memory of that first half with forever be etched into my mind, and let's not overlook the fact that it took career games from Jrue and Thad to eek out an overtime win, at home, against a 14-26 team.
Momentum has to start somewhere, though. Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Spurs on Monday. I'll leave you with this to hold you over:
Jrue's last 3 games: 34/62 FG (54.8%), 6/12 3P (50%), 18/20 FT (90%), 13 REB, 34 AST, 11 STL, 13 TOV, 92 PTS, .650 TS%, 2.62 AST/TOV
Team Record: 17-23
Player of The Game: Jrue
Up Next: vs. SAS on Monday