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, all the time

WILLIE1112.jpgWe'll talk about how big tonight's 106-96 win over the Raptors was for this Sixers team, and how they managed to pull it off, after the jump. Right now, though. It's all Willie, all the time.

Take a look at this line..
  • 32 minutes
  • 6/10 from the floor
  • 3/4 from three
  • 2/3 from the line
  • 2 rebounds
  • 9 assists!!!!!!!
  • 1 steal
  • ZERO TURNOVERS (Are you kidding me?)
  • 17 points
If I showed you that line and said a guard from one of the teams is going to finish with that line tonight I guarantee 100% of you would said it'll be Jose Calderon. I would've bet money on it. How in the hell did Garbage Time Green turn in a performance like that? Can you explain it? Wow.

Mo had an early hook for Thad in the first quarter, Willie first entered with 5:00 left in the opening quarter. I made note of it because I was pretty sure that would be the beginning of the end. But no, Willie came in and hit a quick jumper, then assisted on Iguodala's three before the end of the quarter.

In the second, Willie had 8 points on a runner and two threes. The second three came on a pretty play drawn up by Mo out of a timeout at the end of the half. Iguodala handled the ball at the top of the circle, as usual, he ran the shot clock down to about 5 seconds then made his move to the hole. Willie used a down screen to pop out from the baseline to the left wing beyond the arc, Iguodala hit him and Willie drained it. No hesitation. I should've known right there that this was going to be a special night for Willie, but I still had my reservations.

Willie entered the game with 7:58 left in the third and he wouldn't take a seat again. From that point on, he dropped 7 more points, dished out 7 more assists and hit the nail-in-the-heart three off a nice kick out from Brand in the post. That's right, Willie was the guy providing the outlet and he made the Raptors pay.

This was, by far, the best game of Willie's career and I dare say the Sixers would not have won the game without him. One final stat, +13 with Willie on the floor. Unbelievable.

After the jump we'll take a closer look at the game and the rest of the team. Hat's off to Willie one more time.
Tonight was a big night for a couple of reasons: It was the first playoff team they beat; the first road game they won; the first game they probably should have lost that they won and most importantly, it was the first time they haven't looked tight.

All of that Willie praise took the wind out of my sails, so I'm going to run down the rest of my game notes in bullets:

  • Mo did the absolute right thing in the 4th going with the small lineup against the Raptors' big lineup. The Raptors were fighting an uphill battle and he decided he was going to put his best team out there and make them adjust, put them on the defensive. It paid dividends.
  • Miller, Iguodala and Green combined for 24 assists and only 2 turnovers. That's outstanding.
  • Speaking of Iguodala, if he gives you an effort like this every night, this team is going to win a ton of games. 18 points, 9 boards, 10 assists and only 1 turnover.
  • Tough night for Thad but he filled up the box score: 7 points, 4 boards, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 block and 5 turnovers. Ouch. Only 5 shots, 1/2 from three.
  • Elton was as advertised in this one, 12/21 from the floor, 8 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks against O'Neal and Bosh. 25 points, a season high.
  • Speights with 12 points, 7 boards and a block in his 20 minutes of work.
  • Brand didn't do a ton of work in the low post tonight, he spent much more time about 13-17 feet from the hoop knocking down his mid-range jumper at will. When he was in the post, the spacing was much, much better.
  • 9-man rotation with limited minutes for Lou (11). Marshall didn't dress, Rush, Ivey and Theo were all DNPCDs.
  • Rough night for Sammy, fouled out after playing only 20 minutes. 2 points, 2 boards.
  • Sixers 19-7 edge on fast break points. Good to see.
  • I saved this note for last, but it has to be noted that Jose Calderon missed most of the game after tweaking his hammy in the first half. Calderon is a top-five point in the league as far as I'm concerned, so let's just say the game probably would've been closer had he been healthy.
Player of The Game: GTG
Team Record: 3-5
Up Next: @ Indy on Friday. Check out Arin It Out for your Pacers' game prep.
by Brian on Nov 12 2008
Tags: Basketball | Elton Brand | Raptors | Sixers | Willie Green |