It took the Sixers 12 minutes to wake up from their All Star break slumber, then they methodically put the Washington Wizards to bed. The 117-94 final score makes the game look closer than it was. The Sixers absolutely dominated Washington in a demonstrative opener to the final 26 games.
- Jrue was a stud tonight, for the second consecutive game. The headline will probably say something about Wall's 21 points, but it took him 19 shots to get there, and really, after the first quarter he was a non-factor. Jrue was deadly efficient and his 20 points came in three quarters. There was no need for him to even take off his sweats in the fourth. He's your POTG
- The Sixers put 7 players in double figures, and Lou wasn't one of them. Big game for Turner, Thad was amazing: 18 points on 7 shots and 10 boards in only 26 minutes. Speights had an insanely hot stretch in the fourth where he hit about 4 jumpers, including a three, without the ball even coming close to touching the rim. Hopefully teams around the league were extremely impressed and flood the Sixers with calls in the next 14 hours or so, desperate to make a deal.
- Bad News: Lou didn't shoot the ball well. Good News: Lou didn't shoot the ball much.
- I'm not sure if this is completely legit, but I think the Sixers have developed signature celebrations. I noticed three, the Thad Young, "Raise the roof" after his oop. EB apparently taps his elbow when he hits his money elbow jumper. Hawes did something strange with his hands, I think it might have something to do with the religious right. Keep an eye out next game to see if you can pick up any others.
- I find dozens of things puzzling about the Wizards, but one in particular sticks in my mind. JaVale McGee is seven feet tall with a 7'7" wingspan and he runs like a deer. John Wall gets into the lane pretty much at will. Why isn't McGee throwing down like 3 or 4 lobs/game? Do you think Spencer Hawes or Elton Brand is really even going to be able to put up a fight if Wall just puts the ball up a foot above the rim for McGee to finish it? McGee is basically useless in their offense and I'm not sure if the blame should fall on Wall (for chucking up contested shots when he has 3 guys on him), Flip Saunders for failing to draw the plays up, or McGee for hanging on the perimeter. Maybe it's all three of them. Seems like easy points to me.
- Andray Blatche's name was misspelled on the back of his jersey tonight (B-A-L-T-C-H-E), that was the least embarrassing thing about Blatche tonight.
- My favorite play of the night came in the third quarter. Josh Howard was on Iguodala, John Wall was on Jrue, Jrue had the ball out past the three-point line on the left wing. Iguodala came out and set a hard pick for Jrue, forcing Wall to switch onto Iguodala. Jrue passed the ball quickly to AI9 who immediately started backing Wall down. Howard had to go double to stop the easy score in the post, Iguodala immediately kicked it out to Jrue who hit the wide-open three. Simple, deadly-efficient basketball, especially against a joke of a defensive team, like the Wizards.
- Overall, this game was just what the doctor ordered. A demonstrative win over a terrible team to set the tone for the stretch run while Amare Stoudemire comes to terms with the fact that he's going to get about as many touches as Nene did in Denver while Melo goes one-on-one at every opportunity. I wonder if anyone has explained to Melo that he's really the #2 option on that team now, maybe #3 or #4, if you want to get technical about it. I guess I should say he should be the second, third or fourth option, if efficient offense is your goal.
Player of The Game: Jrue, who is now shooting 44.6%/37.2%/81.3% (FG/3P/FT) on the season, respectable numbers across the board.
Team Record: 28-29
Up Next: vs. Detroit, Friday night.