This win streak started with the Sixers talented players overcoming their asinine coach's rotations. At this point, it doesn't seem to matter who he puts on the floor. The Sixers extended their streak to five in dramatic fashion with a no-doubt-about-it butt kicking of the T-Wolves in front of hundreds of fans at the Wach.
Essentially buzzer to buzzer, the Sixers demolished the T-Wolves. They crushed their will. They left them in tears on the hardwood. It wasn't pretty, but it was definitely fun to watch (if you could put the whole fire Eddie Jordan, we need a high draft pick, blow it all to hell line of reasoning out of your mind for a couple of hours).
I wouldn't be me if I didn't have a bone to pick, in this case two. First, I don't care if they have their sites set on a playoff berth or developing the young guys is the priority, Jrue Holiday should've seen at least 30 minutes at the point tonight. It was a blowout win from about 5 minutes into the second quarter, plus he was playing a great game. It's unforgivable that he only saw 22 minutes. Second, tomorrow night the Sixers will play the Toronto Raptors, currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference (if they make up there through the storm). Tonight's blowout was a perfect opportunity to get some extra rest for a couple of guys, most importantly, Andre Iguodala. Jordan apparently didn't realize this, because he had AI9 on the court for 42 minutes. I just don't get it.
Anyway, Brand and Iguodala each went for 20+ on extremely efficient shooting. Brand was hampered by turnovers, but I thought he did an excellent job on the defensive glass. He only grabbed 7 boards, but he was doing serious work keeping Minny's bigs off the glass, clearing the way for others to clean up the boards. The Sixers grabbed an impressive 31 of 38 available defensive rebounds (81.6%).
Amid all the improved play, one player stands out. Thaddeus Young is definitely born again hard. Some switch inside of him flipped when he was demoted from the starting lineup, and tonight's game is a perfect illustration. In 31 minutes, Thad grabbed 8 boards (5 defensive) and he was all over the floor on defense. He finished with 4 steals and I don't think there's any other way to put it than he's playing like he did as a rookie again. Or maybe he's playing like we thought he'd be playing with a couple years under his belt back when he was a rookie, before he became super soft and afraid of contact.
Lou, Ivey and Jason Smith all made solid contributions off the bench. Willie played basically a complete game, handing out five dimes and hitting 7 of his 11 shots. The most telling sub came with 3:14 left in the fourth quarter when Marreese Speights checked in for the first time. He's officially fallen below Jason Smith on the depth chart.
Player of The Game: Thad
Team Record: 20-31
Up Next: Toronto, tomorrow night
I'll ask one more time, is it a coincidence this team seems to have found itself in Iverson's absence?