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ThadDunk1229.jpgSometimes it pains me to listen to the opposing team's announcers when watching the Sixers on my DirecTV League Pass. Tonight was one of those nights. The Sacramento announcers spent 48 minutes talking about how bad the Sixers are and how they didn't deserve to be winning this game. I understand there's always going to be a certain amount of "homerism" out of announcers, I just turns my stomach when they're this bad. I'm not going to look up these jokers' names, but I'm putting them a slight notch above the Celtics announcers.

That's pretty much the only negative thing you're going to get out of me after the Sixers spanked the Kings 92-80 to open up their 11-day, 6-game sojourn.

If you watched this game, and paid attention to the runs one thing had to be crystal clear to you, Reggie Evans and Rodney Carney cannot be on the floor at the same time. I never thought I'd say Willie Green needs to get back as soon as possible, but I'm saying it right now. Rodney Carney is a black hole on offense, far below average on defense, invisible on the boards and just plain useless on the court. Every time the "starting" lineup was on the floor, the Kings went on a run. Whenever Mo put in his super-subs, the Sixers surged.

Mo figured this out late in the third and made possibly the best coaching move of his tenure in Philadelphia down the stretch. He played Thad Young. I've been touching on this every time he's gotten minutes, but now I'm going to come right out and say it. All the naysayers who laughed with glee when the Sixers took young with the #12 pick in last year's draft, those guys who said, "Billy King blew it again." They were dead wrong. Thad Young belongs in this league, and he's going to be a star.

Here's Thad's line from tonight: 15 minutes, 3/4 from the floor, 5 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 block for 6 points. While the line is impressive, it only tells part of the story. The guys over at Passion & Pride brought up a legitimate concern about tonight's game. They recognized Mo's tendency to play Korver in a small lineup down the stretch of games. This usually means he's guarding the other team's 4, if the other team stays big. Against Sacramento, that would've been a problem. Mikki Moore is very active on the boards and in the paint, he would've abused Korver. Mo decided to use Korver and Thad in his "small" lineup down the stretch, and did it ever pay dividends. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you Thad was matched up with every single guy on the floor for Kings on at least one possession. He was up to the task each time.

I absolutely love this lineup, you have Korver's offense, and you have three plus defenders in Iguodala, Thad and Dalembert. Miller never really gets exposed on defense, so it's basically up to the big three to cover for Korver, which is no problem for those guys. Thad came into a close game, and made three plays almost immediately which swung the game in the Sixers' favor for good. He blocked a shot, leading to a fast break. He dove on the floor for a loose ball, picked it up and was fouled. Then he chased down another loose ball as it was going out of bound, jumped, got one hand on the ball and threw it off a Kings' player, stealing a possession for the Sixers. They converted on that one too. Three plays on the defensive side of the ball that put 6 points on the board for the Sixers.

Sammy was unbelievable tonight, I think he came out with a chip on his shoulder after the game Brad Miller and Mikki Moore had against the Sixers in Philly on Dec. 15th. He finished with another dominant double-double, 19 points, 11 boards and 4 blocks to boot. Iguodala was notably quiet, for the first three quarters. In the fourth, he came up big when the Sixers needed him most. He scored 9 of his 16 in the final 5 minutes of the game.

Great start to the trip for the Sixers who look to push their winning streak to 4 and end the Trailblazers at 12 on Sunday night in Portland.

Player of The Game: Thad Young
Team Record: 13-16
by Brian on Dec 29 2007
Tags: Basketball | Kings | Sixers | Thaddeus Young |