No Elton Brand, Iguodala and Jrue suffer through dreadful shooting nights, second night of a back-to-back against a well-rested, 16-7 Atlanta Hawks squad, on the road...no problem. The Sixers used their bench and the return of their starting center to systematically pick the Hawks apart and cap a 3-1 week in style. (
Here's your rotation chart. Interesting in that the best and worst lineups were exactly the same, and
it wasn't the starters who did the damage then made up for in the third:
The Sixers showed basically no energy at all through the first twelve minutes of the game. The looked every bit the part of a team physically and emotionally drained from their big win over the Bulls on Wednesday and the big loss to the Heat on Friday. In the second, though, the bench came in and just took the game over. They built the lead to 16 by the end of the third, 20 early in the fourth, then coasted to the 11-point final margin.
This was probably the worst game Jrue has played all season. He did a good job of driving instead of settling for jumpers, but missed pretty much everything he threw up there. The only thing he did well, or at least relatively so, was to take care of the ball. Even his defense, which has been top-notch all year, was sub-par tonight. He needs a good night's sleep, turn the page and get ready to take advantage of Derek Fisher's decrepit body on Monday. Iguodala shot the ball too much, and without any success at all. He finished 3/15, but still nearly notched a triple-double (9/8/10, with only 1 turnover). His defense on Joe Johnson was stifling, as usual. Still, it would've made things easier for the team if he stopped shooting after the half.
Lavoy Allen stepped in for Brand and provided a lift, but he couldn't stay out of foul trouble (4 PFs in 12 minutes) which left Collins with limited options at the four. He went with Thad for 32 minutes, and even trotted out a twin-towers look with Hawes at the five and Vucevic at the four for a stretch in the third quarter. Oddly, Collins never went in the other direction to fill the void. Iguodala didn't play PF for a second.
The success/failure of the lineup mentioned above was mostly a result of a heavy dose of good Lou in the first half, and bad Lou in the second half. He distributed and finished inside early, then decided to just jack jumpers later. He did finish the Hawks off (and nearly salvage his stat line) with a couple scores late in the fourth. Thad was Thad, and that's a very good thing for this team. The Voose saw his first big run since coming back from the quad injury suffered during the first Miami loss, and he didn't disappoint. He showed some really slick moves on the inside, hit a jumper or two, and even drove from about the three-point line and finished with his left hand when he caught the ball as the shot clock wound down. Big night for the big man.
Hawes' return was a welcome sight, if a handful of his plays were not. By my count, at least four of the Hawks' offensive rebounds were a direct result of Hawes' failure to box someone out. I don't know if he was hesitant to mix it up underneath due to the back/achilles issues, or whether that's just Spencer going back to being the Spencer he was last season. Either way, it needs to stop.
Overall, a solid win on the road to cap off a 3-1 week against stiff competition. Great job, now do it again.
Player of The Game:
Turner got the nod. He finished the game 5/7 for 11 points with 6 boards, 5 dimes, 1 steal, 1 turnover and probably the best three-pointer of his career (on a lob pass to Thad). Turner's numbers were good, but his impact on the team in his first run is what turned the game as far as I'm concerned. Very poised effort from the kid. Vucevic could've easily gotten the nod for his career-high 15 points, and the same goes for Jodie Meeks who poured in 10 on 7 shots and finished with 5 steals and 3 boards.
vs. LAL, Monday night.