While the win yesterday isn't technically good news (#9 pick here we come), the play of Jrue Holiday, to a lesser extent Thad Young and finally a report from Howard Eskin should definitely brighten your Monday morning.
Let's start with the best news. Something that should come as no surprise to anyone who's suffered through this miserable season. Howard Eskin has cited inside sources in the Sixers organization saying Eddie Jordan will be fired at the end of the season. He also listed 4 possible replacements: Jay Wright (Villanova), Doug Collins, Avery Johnson and Jeff Van Gundy. Of the four, Van Gundy is the guy I want, without a doubt.
If this rumor is true, we don't have Eddie Jordan coaching for his job in Philly anymore, we have him coaching for a future job. Which, you know, really translates into him making wise decisions where the future of this franchise is concerned. I suppose Jordan's recent comments bashing Ed Stefanski should back up this rumor.
Here's a look at yesterday's rotation chart, with a few thoughts on the game to follow:
Bullets, since it's late:
- Jordan will probably use film of this game to try to land his next job. It was the quintessential Jordan win. Absolutely no fundamental defense played, really by either team. Sixers pulled it off using completely uncharacteristic shooting. Essentially, they matched the Raptors shot for shot. This is the type of offensive performance you get maybe a couple times a season from this group of players, and it typically comes against the defensive dregs of the league. Jordan also used Sam Dalembert's disciplinary matter to completely abandon any semblance of a big lineup. Sam and EB never set foot on the floor at the same time.
- Speights was forced out of the game after spraining his right knee. According to Kate Fagan, it was the left knee that caused him to miss a month earlier in the season. Perhaps now would be a good time to think about getting Speights to drop about 20 pounds in the off season.
- The next time you laugh when I say Iguodala and Jrue are the building blocks on this team, think back to this game. Here's their combined line: 13/23 from the floor, 4/5 from three, 7/10 from the line, 13 rebounds, 16 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks, 4 turnovers, 2 fouls and 37 points. Those numbers are from your point guard and small forward combined. Unbelievable.
- Thad was pretty much unconscious in this one. Reminiscent of his scoring run about this time last season. 32 points on 18 shots. 1 defensive rebound in 43 minutes, though? I can do without that.
- Speaking of rebounding, Brand grabbed 7 defensive boards in 23 minutes. Quality work. Need to see more of that.
- Lou played a solid game. Only 9 shots, but 5 boards, 5 dimes, 0 turnovers and he rallied from getting raped by Jarrett Jack for most of the second half on the defensive end to pick up a key steal late.
- I do have to give Jordan credit for one thing. Jrue made a bad turnover in the fourth quarter, trying to dribble behind his back in between three defenders in the back court. He should've slowed the ball down instead of pushing it into that group. The Raptors hit a three and Jordan immediately called a timeout. I thought for sure Jrue's day was over at that point, but EFJ left him in. Jrue rattled off 7 points and basically put the game out of reach over the next couple minutes. So good work, EFJ. Had you stuck to your typical pattern, this game may just have been a loss.
Player of The Game: Jrue. If Thad had a done a little bit of work on the defensive glass, this would've been a harder decision. Still, Thad gets an honorable mention for setting his career high with 32 points and doing it in an extremely efficient manner.
Team Record: 23-39
Up Next: @ Indy, Tuesday night.
By the by, if tanking is your thing, cross your fingers that EFJ sticks with this starting lineup the rest of the way.