Over their current three-game winning streak, the Sixers have outscored their opponents by 34 points. This is significant because tonight's game put the Sixers on the positive side of the ledger: 4,383 points for, 4,375 points allowed. Mark the date, Jan. 26th. At 20-25, let's hope the Sixers can stay on the positive side of the ledger from here on out. A quick look at tonight's win over the Raptors to follow.
Player of The Game:
- HUGE game for Marreese Speights off the bench. 10/12 from the floor, 3/3 from the line, 9 boards (6 offensive) for 23 points in only 17 minutes. The numbers are great, but the thing I liked the most about this game from Speights was how he was playing the pick-and-roll. This season, he's really fallen in love with the pop instead of the roll on those plays, so much so that I forgot he's actually got pretty good hands and finishing ability when he's headed to the hole. He was dominant and active tonight, you can't expect much more than this from the kid.
- Speights wasn't the only guy off the bench to have a good game, pretty much everyone did. Turner, Lou, Thad and Speights combined to score 58 points on 24/40 from the floor and 7/7 from the line.
- The two guys who start but really shouldn't, under any circumstances, were the only real drags on the offense. Hawes and Meeks shot a combined 1/12 from the floor for five points. Hawes did have four assists, mostly on nice backdoor passes, but to be honest with you, I'd trade all the backdoor passes in the world for a center who could get more than an inch off the floor. Hawes had several point-blank opportunities where he simply failed to get the ball above the rim. He's a poor athlete, but at 7'1" you barely have to get off the ground at all to throw one down, he's just plain lazy and soft, shying away from contact even when he's within dunking range. It's pitiful. As for Meeks, it's got to be so frustrating when these guys keep making the extra pass to get Meeks wide-open looks from three only to see them clank off the back of the rim. If he's going to be in the rotation, he absolutely must knock down a decent percentage of those. If he isn't, he's useless on the offensive end. If I never see another one of his drives to the hoop, it'll be too soon.
- Iguodala and Brand each did their thing, combining for an efficient 29 points. Iguodala's all-around game was spectacular, though I wish he would've spent more time guarding DeMar Derozan, who was on fire throughout.
- Jrue got off to a rough start and got the hook very early in the first quarter. He came back pretty strong and had 10 and 5 at the half. The game was tied at 50 at the break, and Doug Collins must've said something to Jrue and Iguodala. They came out and absolutely put the Raptors to bed in the third. Over the first 9:34 of the third quarter, the Sixers outscored Toronto 28 to 17. Iguodala and Jrue had a hand in 27 of those 28 points. Iguodala scored 10 and handed out two assists. Jrue scored 4 to go along with 4 assists. Hawes split a pair of free throws for the only other point scored over that stretch. Overall, Jrue's defense was stellar, again, but his scoring was inefficient (15 points on 16 shots and 4 free throws). He did have 5 boards, 11 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks, but 5 turnovers is unacceptable. That's only a good game if your name is John Wall.
- If you're into the youth movement, you should be happy with the DNPCDs for Nocioni and Battie, I know I am.
- Yes, Toronto is a bad team, and the Sixers treated them as such after a shaky first. Good teams put bad teams away by double digits on the road. That's what the Sixers did tonight.
Speights. No question.
vs. Memphis, Friday night