I don't think the Raptors have a single Canadian on the roster, but who cares, THIS IS AMERICA. Spurred by career games from Thaddeus Young (I think I'm gonna start calling him Deus from now on. Pronounced Deuce, but spelled Deus. Kinda gets that Zeus feel to it and then we can open up the "Deus's wild" can of puns which sounds just fabulous. Anyway.) and Jrue Holiday, the Sixers took a 2nd quarter lead and clung to it comfortably the rest of the game. It should be noted that Chris Bosh doesn't totally trust his health yet and Hedo Turkoglu sat out. Marreese Speights also hurt his knee early and went down in pain so we'll see how long Mo will be out the rest of the day.
Deus and his +20 brought it on the offensive end to the tune of 13-18 shooting with three bombs and 3-4 from the red stripe. Most of his production came from scrappy hustle on the offensive glass (Reggie?) and crafty putbacks, but his shot was falling against the likes of Reggie Evans and Andrea Bargnani. He made one move at the top of the key where he pumpfaked to get his man in the air, used a quick step and a power dribble down the lane and reared back to posterize Bosh before he got knocked off-route and fouled. Deus is thought of mostly as a finesse (ahem) player and this aggressive move today is hopefully a step towards continuing to embrace contact and get to the line so he's not pushed around as much in the low block. He picked up four steals on off-ball help and contained Bosh and Bargnani when he was guarding them. His four offensive rebounds are nice because he's so good within 5 feet of guiding the ball into the basket that it always seems to result in points, but his one defensive rebound is disconcerting because he was playing the 4 basically all of his 43 minutes. In my eyes he also seems to be passing better. Ideally he could grow into a 3 assist per game player. Nothing earth-shattering, but enough to involve his teammates and continue filling up the stat sheet. Overall, a very nice game for Thad, but I'd like to see some more fight on the defensive glass from him in the remaining quarter of the season.
Jrue Jrue Jrue. 21 points on 12 shots, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal, and 2 blocks. The 4 turnovers are ugly, but he's still producing at a relatively high level despite being the youngest player in the NBA, so we'll let it slide Jrue. His jump shot, as John said, is no longer a work in progress -- it's good. He's 39 of 97 (over 40%) from beyond this season and it looks mighty pretty going in too. He gets good lift on it and shoots it from a fine position, I'd prefer his release get a little quicker because he takes some time to settle under it first. If you're asking me (as I'm sure you are), I think this was clearly Jrue's best game all season. I feel like we've said that a bunch of times but the kid just keeps getting better, so what can we do but continue to massage his ego? My favorite Jrue play of the night was when he cut baseline on Bargnani, jab stepped towards the middle of the lane, spun, then used his left hand with english to bank it just over the 7-footer's outstretched hand. It was pretty impressive. That was in the middle of a stretch of about 5 minutes in the 4th where Jrue had about 8 points. His defense has been slipping the past few weeks since he was destroying Mo Williams, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo a month or two ago, but again...he's 19. And he's good. And he's ours.
Andre Iguodala quietly had another great game with 16, 10 dimes, 6 boards, 3 blocks and a steal, coupled with zero turnovers. He only took 11 shots, and that seems to be the right amount if you ask me (STOP ASKING ME!) because he's not a 25 shot per night guy, and we're successful when everyone's sharing the load and playing together (innuendo). He hit the only trey he took, and with the exception of a few step back fadeaways, he seemed to be focused on getting in the lane or delivering to his teammates instead of taking contested jumpers.
Some final notes: Elton Brand got in foul trouble early and often but still managed a very solid 12 and 9. That's all I'm asking of him the rest of the season, and basically the rest of his time here. Samuel Dalembert was benched as a punishment for whatever Eddie Jordan thought useful, and only played 13 minutes. The bench was very ineffective tonight, but mostly due to lack of playing time. Young and Iguodala had 43 minutes, Lou and Jrue played 35. Lou had another solid game also. 12 points on 9 shots, 5 rebounds and 5/2 assist to turnover ratio. He played within himself, but he's still not a point guard, he's a shooting guard that can pass off the drive but not run an offense. He's really had a nice season. Another DNP for Jodie Meeks. I wonder how much he likes being in Philly. God I hate you Eddie.
Hopefully Detroit and Washington win today so they can keep pace with the Sixers. Big game @ Indiana on Tuesday. Gotta lose bad.
Your Word of the Day segment which will in all likelihood be a very sporadic segment is: harbinger.
Oscar's tonight. Enjoy the final day of the weekend.