The Sixers used and abused the shorthanded Raptors in the first half tonight, then held on for their first meaningless win under Eddie Jordan. The final was 107-98. A few notes and stats after the jump.
The final score doesn't really indicate just how effective the Sixers were in the first half. 65 points on 24 makes, with 19 assists. For the game, they shot 50.7% from the floor and 64.3% from three (9/14). Toronto was without Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu, so don't get too excited about this one. Still, if the first half is any indication, the Sixers will be able to score points.
Unfortunately, scoring alone isn't enough. They struggled mightily on the glass (only collecting 64.4% of available defensive boards. 75% is the number you want to shoot for). They turned the ball over 20 times, which better not become a trend. Free throw shooting was also subpar, 22/32 (68.8%).
If you're looking for bright spots, start with Lou Williams, then proceed directly to the three-point shooting. Lou scored 17 in 24 minutes on only 8 shots. He had 3 assists and only 1 turnover to go along with 3 steals. The threes were just beautiful, Jrue hit two, one off a nice dribble handoff, the other wide open from the corner. Iguodala hit a pair, Kapono hit a dagger to stop a Toronto run late in the game an another. The beautiful thing was how the Sixers were getting their looks, the ball was swinging around the perimeter, into the high post, into the post, out of the post and diagonally across the floor to the open man. The spacing was excellent.
And for the bad. Jrue had a couple of really sloppy plays with the ball and didn't look comfortable in the offense until he hit a couple jumpers. Hopefully, just rookie jitters, but you get the feeling he has a lot of work to do. He looked good on the two threes. Speights had a decent line in the first half, but when he was out there in extended garbage time he looked and played terribly. 5/16 from the floor with 4 turnovers. On the bright side, he did grab 9 boards in his 25 minutes of work, but he needs to show more discipline out there. He's an extremely efficient offensive player when he plays within the system, he doesn't need to be a gunner to get points. I firmly believe his minutes should be limited in garbage time. He needs structure and he needs leaders who will hold him accountable on the floor with him.
Thad and Brand played limited roles tonight, something I hope will change quickly. One alarming stat, Thad had zero rebounds in 25+ minutes. Here's a disturbing split for you as well: Iguodala had 7 assists and 2 turnovers in the first half, 1 assist and 5 turnovers in the second half.
Dionte Christmas was the only free agent on the roster to play in the game. Primoz didn't get a chance to play against his old mates. Kapono led the team with a +18 +/-.
File this under "Won't ever happen in the regular season," Sam Dalembert led all starters in FGA with 9.
So the first meaningless is a win, much better than starting out with a loss. These teams will lace them up again tomorrow night for the second preseason game.