Well, the Sixers' road trip lasted an extra 24 minutes. Take nothing more away from this game, the Sixers suffered the typical slow start teams usually do when returning from a long road trip over the first half, from there it was a blowout.
Obviously, Rodney Carney's career night from three troubles me. When a guy is that hot, you just can't lose him seven times. His barrage kind of reminded me of Donyell Marshall's career night against the Sixers back in the day.
Other than the jet lag, the main difference between the first half and the second half was defensive rebounding. The T-Wolves had 8 offensive boards in the first 24 minutes, after the half, they had 3. It was a collective effort on the glass, and while the numbers don't really show it, Dalembert, Evans and Reggie all did an excellent job of getting a body on the bigs. They didn't always get the boards, but they maintained their position and allowed the guards to come back and secure the glass.
It's odd that I took this long to get to Thad, but I don't really know what more I can say about the kid. Iguodala couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat through the first three quarters. Lou was 1/9 from the floor, Miller wasn't really looking for his shot. The offense began and ended with Thad tonight, and he was more than up to the task. My favorite move of the night? Thad in the low post, the double comes from the baseline, Thad assesses his options, the double leaves, he pivots and throws in a nice lefty layup for the hoop. Second-favorite move from Thad. Brian Cardinal guarding him in space on the right baseline, jab step, pull-back jumper from 12 feet, nothing but net. I'll have more on Thad later today.
Iguodala turned it on when they needed a couple of hoops in the fourth, hitting two threes. Royal Ivey had a B.S. foul called on him and it immediately lit a fire under him. He hit two threes in a row for the Sixers to atone.
DiLeo went with Reggie at the 5 for a very, very long stretch at the end of the game. Personally, I thought he was a negative overall in the game. LIke I said above, he was putting a body on his man to keep him off the offensive glass, but he was out of position time and time again on defense, added zero offense, and he really didn't disrupt things for Minnesota when he was in there. It's probably not his fault, Minny doesn't really run any offense that needs disrupting. I would've liked to have seen Ratliff get a little more burn, he earned it tonight.
One final note on Lou before I call it a night: As I said above, he was attrocious from the floor. 1/9 is just pitiful. That being said, he still played a good game. He pushed the tempo, he didn't settle for jumpers, he didn't make stupid decisions with the ball, he crashed the boards, he dished the rock and he defended. 5 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks, one of them the defensive play of the game when he stuffed Rodney Carney in the lane. Sick play.
As you know by now, the Heat lost in Indy, so the Sixers are officially only a half game behind Miami, tied in the loss column. If you're keeping score at home, the Sixers now control their own destiny for the #5 seed. 12-0 from here and they'll finish no lower than 5th.
Player of The Game: Thad. 9/18 from the floor, 11/14 from the line (that's a huge number), for 29 points.
Defining DiLeo Moment: When he saw Brian Cardinal matched up on Thad and decided this was a pretty good time to ride the kid all the way to a victory.
Team Record: 37-33 (high-water)
Up Next: Friday, vs. Charlotte (who lost to the Wiz tonight)