The only thing I like more than winning is winning big. The only thing I like more than winning big is winning over Boston. The only thing I like more than winning over Boston is beating Boston like a rented mule and sending them home with their tail between their legs and two games separating the Sixers from them in the standings. Evan Turner, welcome to the party. (game capsule).
Here's your rotation chart. The rotation late in the first effectively ended the game. I just picked a random lineup for the bad example, -4 was the worst rotation of the night:
I wish I could tell you what happened with Evan Turner tonight. I wish I could tell you how he flipped the switch from barely a rotational player to dominating a game for three quarters. Whatever it was, I just hope we see more of it because he was outstanding tonight.
Doug Collins has apparently unleashed Turner, for whatever reason, and tonight he really looked like a guy who could carry the offense. When I heard Thad Young was going to miss the game, I was worried the Sixers wouldn't be able to push the pace enough to wear the decrepit Celtics out, but the defense did the job early on. Iguodala, Jrue and Turner each contributed a number of plays to spring the break, and Turner's one-man-fast-break off defensive rebounds was too much for Boston to handle.
A couple of interesting coaching wrinkles tonight. First, with Thad out, Collins elected to put Tony Battie into the starting lineup instead of Vucevic. The logic being Voose could give the team an offensive lift off the bench to compensate for Thad's absence. It paid dividends. The other wrinkle was to put Evan Turner on Rajon Rondo on the defensive end. There are a number of theories as to why Collins made this move:
- Turner's elite rebounding skills would keep Rondo off the glass, which is important considering Rondo might be the Celts' best rebounder.
- Jrue's ball-denial skills have really been superb, so he was much better suited to follow Ray Allen around and keep him from getting the ball, let alone open looks.
- Turner's on-the-ball defense has been far superior to his off-the-ball defense where he tends to drift too far off his man, so Collins put him on the ball.
- Collins wanted extra length on Rondo
- The move was an effort to take the Rondo/Pierce pick-and-roll out of Boston's play book. With Jrue on Rondo, Boston could for a switch putting Jrue on Pierce. With Turner on Rondo, the switch wouldn't create much of a size mismatch
- By using the cross match and pushing the ball up the floor, you wound up with Rondo guarding Turner a bunch of times on the other end of the floor. That's a size mismatch you can attack, and the Sixers did attack it.
Pick any one of those reasons and it played out in this game. The perimeter defense was stellar all night.
Elton Brand had a great game, 8/10 for 18 points to go along with 9 boards, 2 assists and a pair of blocks. The Voose had a superb game on the glass grabbing 12 boards (7 on the offensive end). He also chipped in with 14 points. Jrue and Iguodala seemed happy to take a back seat on the offensive end, combining for 20 points on 22 shots, but they also combined for 14 assists and 5 steals to only 2 turnovers.
Overall, a much-needed emphatic win. This was the worst loss of the "big three" era and even cheap parlor tricks by Doc Rivers to stem the tide couldn't slow the Sixers down. They put up 103 points on the #3 defense in the league. They held Boston to 71 points (and that number was inflated in extended garbage time), and most importantly they took care of Boston when a loss would've dropped them to second in the Atlantic. The Knicks did their part as well, getting their doors blown off by the Spurs to drop to 18-21 and fall 4.5 games out of first.
Player of The Game: No question, it's Evan Turner. It was a pleasure to see him start the game relentlessly attacking the basket, and then see his game expand as his confidence grew. If this had been a closer game, he could've scored in the mid-thirties and done so efficiently. He even hit a three. 26 points on 11/19 from the floor, 1/3 from three, and 3/4 from the line. It looks like Turner is in the starting lineup for the long haul, if he can give you half of what he did tonight regularly, maybe JTI will work. I realize it's only one game, but it's been some time since Turner has done something to inspire hope. Live it up, folks.
Team Record: 23-17
Up Next: vs. Utah, Friday night
Jrue's Goal: 0 FTs, again. Only 1 turnover, though, which is great. (2-10-2 since inception)