The first half was just pure punishment doled out by the Sixers on the Kings. The second half was punishment for all Sixers fans still watching. All told, they needed a win,
and they didn't have to sell their souls to get it. Not a bad night.
You knew this game was a laugher when Kareem Rush checked in with 8 minutes to go in the second quarter. The Sixers had already built a 22-point lead. I'm not really sure what the impetus for DiLeo to go with Rush at that point was. Maybe the wide-open threes Sacramento's defense was allowing. Maybe he confused Rush with someone else. Maybe he felt sorry for the guy. Maybe he just wanted to see what would happen if Rush was in there playing the three. Whatever the reason, Rush played pretty well.
Before everyone hops on the Kareem Rush bandwagon, though, I'd like to make a point. When I was in high school, I had gym class first thing in the morning. It was an odd class, alternating sports each semester. One semester, my senior year, we had basketball on the rotation and I was one of two guys in the class. Me and this kid named Tim. In gym class, that kid could absolutely shoot the lights out. I mean, he'd hit 70% from three as long as we were just shooting around. If we played horse, he couldn't make a free throw. We both played in a CYO league and I'm pretty sure I never saw him hit a jumper in that league either. Believe it or not, there is a point here. I have a feeling that Kareem Rush is like Tim. Put him out there when there's no pressure, and no defense, and he can shoot like there's no tomorrow. Put him in a game that matters, and well, you get a below-average three-point shooter who can't defend to save his life.
I'm not saying this is gospel, I'm just saying this is my impression of the guy. If you look at his career stats, you kind of get the picture. (Check the comments
, there' some evidence from Rush's past that clearly disputes my contention here.)
Back to tonight's game. Iguodala was as hot as I've ever seen him in the first half. Actually, he was as hot as I've ever seen anyone. He started the game 10/10 and they weren't 10 dunks, he was 3/3 from three, and two of those were step-back threes with a man in close proximity. He didn't finish so well, but he was responsible for the huge lead that they were never quite able to blow.
Thad was what I think Thad will be. Quietly efficient, subtly dominant. 9/15 from the floor for 22 points and 6 boards.
Andre Miller had another off game, but I feel like he put it in cruise control early. He threw a sick pass from foul line to foul line early on. Amazing. Later on he tried a three-quarter court pass to Thad that had to moving 90MPH, but it got picked off.
Speights scored 15 on 10 shots and grabbed 6 boards in 20 minutes. He did have a couple of head-scratching defensive moments, but overall, I thought he was a positive when he was in there. The same can't be said for Reggie. I have no idea why Reggie played 14 minutes tonight. I have no idea why he played 1 minute tonight. He was horrid, he was ineffective, he was a waste of space. When the defense was leaking like a seive, the smart move would've been to dust Theo off and get him some burn. Instead, DiLeo opted to go with Reggie at the 5 for a stretch. I'd love to know the thought process that went into that one.
Anyway, Miller, Thad and Iguodala all played under 35 minutes, which is key. They should be fine to go tomorrow night against the Blazers in a tough game that could swing this road trip into the "excellent" category, considering.
Player of The Game:
@ Portland, tomorrow night.
As you know, the Heat beat the Pistons earlier today, so the Sixers are 1.5 games back of Miami (1 in the loss column) and 1.5 ahead of Detroit (2 in the loss column). Miami plays Memphis at home tomorrow night, the Pistons have tomorrow off, then play @ Chicago on Tuesday.