The Sixers impressed tonight with their play, to be sure, but what was perhaps more impressive was their energy. On the second night of a back-to-back, against a bad team, with a series of games against strong teams on the horizon, the Sixers showed a relentless focus and put the Pistons away for their 14th win of the season. (game capsule).
Here's your rotation chart. Notice the runs at the beginning and end of the fourth quarter. The first made it a laugher, the second was tear-worthy:
Tonight was the Sixers 8th win by 20 or more points, and it followed essentially the same pattern as the previous 7. It all started on the defensive end, where the Sixers absolutely smothered the Pistons and when they didn't force a turnover, they coerced the Pistons into taking poor shots. Lawrence Frank did the right thing early in feeding Greg Monroe in the post, but the Sixers were ready for it. They used Tony Battie, Elton Brand and Lavoy Allen on him, but sent multiple defenders at him whenever he caught the ball. Monroe was either incapable of, or unwilling to move the ball out of the double and triple teams, and wound up shooting 6/19 from the floor for 16 points. On the perimeter, Jrue drew Brandon Knight and positively stoned him. Knight shot 4/17 for 9 points.
The defensive pressure stifled the Pistons, and more importantly, wore them out. After 36 minutes of having to scratch and claw for every contested look, Detroit completely broke in the beginning of the fourth and the Sixers put the game away with a 13-2 spurt. The only drama left at that point was whether Andre Iguodala would get the one rebound he needed to complete his triple-double on his 28th birthday. Collins reinserted Iguodala, he grabbed a board on the first play and the rest was nearly unwatchable and completely meaningless.
Without Hawes and the Voose, the Sixers finished the four-game cupcake portion of this home stand with a 3-1 record. They improved their league-leading point differential, extended their lead over the Celtics to 4 games (7 games over the Knicks and the Nets) and moved to 8-games over .500 on the season. Things will get harder for a little while now, but it's tough to say the Sixers haven't taken care of business to this point of the season.
Player of The Game: Iguodala. 10/10/10 and 1 turnover on his birthday gets the nod. On any other night, Lou would've had a shot with his relentless attack on the offensive end and had anyone been able to hit an open jumper on a pass from Jrue, he would've been in the running as well, because his defense was truly top-notch.
Team Record: 14-6
Up Next: vs. Orlando, Monday night.
Another great, team win. Now do it again.