It came a game later than I had hoped, but the new-look Sixers were in full effect tonight.
Elton Brand looked like a man among boys, he poured in 24 points on 12/19 from the floor, yanked down 14 boards and blocked three shots. He did most of his damage down low, where the Knicks defense looks like...I can't even come up with an analogy. The Knicks interior defense is non-existant. The biggest drama of the season for the Knicks will be whether or not they can block 1 shot. So far, they're 0 for 2 games.
Iguodala took a back seat early, and stayed there. He only attempted 7 shots, hitting three of them. He did chip in with 6 boards and 6 dimes and only turned the ball over once. Andre Miller carried the load in the third, and really put the Knicks to sleep. The fourth quarter was almost entirely garbage time.
Speaking of GT, Willie Green gets a big pat on the back tonight. After a putrid performance in game 1, Willie played his role to perfection tonight, and Mo used him correctly as well. I thought Green came in a bit early, but once he was in it was obvious that he was hot. Mo rode him for most of the first half, and he didn't disappoint. He was 7/7 from the floor before the break and he was raining jumpers on the Knicks when the Sixers had stalled on offense. Mo stuck with the hot hand and I applaud him for that. I just hope he'll have a quick hook when those jumpers are clanging off the back of the rim.
Marreese Speights saw his first action and after a travel on his first touch, he impressed. The kid had a monster throw down on an alley-oop from Reggie Evans (did I mention that the Knicks have zero interior defense?), then followed that up with a step back 18-footer from the baseline. He only played 6 minutes, but finished 3/4 from the floor with 3 boards and 6 points. Impressive, to say the least.
In the unimpressive column, Lou Williams. We wound up 6/14 from the floor with 4 boards, 4 assists and only 2 turnovers, but he played a piss-poor game. Someone needs to sit him down and talk to him about how to run the offense. When he's in there without Miller he always dribbles the ball directly into the teeth of the defense then either hucks up a bad shot or loses his dribble. The ball movement dies and the post game is completely forgotten. He needs to realize that this team is not going to play a 1-4 iso when he has the ball, that's not what they're built for anymore. He needs to be a mini-version of Miller when he's at the point, the team can't have this kind of drop-off whenever Andre takes a seat.
Lou went through a couple of stretches like this last season, when the ball and the offense just stopped and got sucked into his dribble-too-much vortex. Mo needs to put an end to it now. His shot selection was very, very poor tonight.
Thad lost some more minutes to Willie, but he put up solid numbers. He played 24 minutes total, finishing 6/10 from the floor for 13 points and adding 6 boards for good measure. Thad seems more confident in his jumper these days, but he's still at his best around the hoop. He had a couple of those super-smooth twirling mini-hooks around the hoop off drives. They're a thing of beauty.
In the bad column: The Sixers only made two from downtown tonight, of course they only took five. Not that shocking, considering they had their way with the Knicks and could get a shot from pretty much anywhere on the floor whenever they wanted. No need for the three when you're shooting 59% from the floor for the game.
The comedic highlight of the game came from who else, Walt "Clyde" Frazier. He dropped this gem in the second quarter, I think right after Iguodala's monster dunk off a behind-the-back pass from Lou, "The Sixers are a more methodical team. They like to play that half-court game."
Tomorrow will be the team's first back-to-back of the season. They'll travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks. Luckily, Iguodala was the only starter to log more than 33 minutes. One final point: Did anyone notice the look on Elton's face in the first quarter when he came out just dominating the Knicks on the block? He looked legitimately pissed, like what happened the other night against Toronto cannot happen again. That's the type of fire I want to see out of him from now on.Player of The Game:
Elton BrandTeam Record: