Summer League Game 2: Holiday, Speights, Defense lead Sixers past Celtics

Box Score 

Celtics Blog

The Sixers found themselves down 15-3 early in the first quarter, but their tenacious defense allowed them to claw back and eventually defeat the Celtics 86-69. After watching a defense-less, Eddie Jordan-coached team for 82+ games last season, tonight's effort on defense was a sight for sore eyes. Two Summer League games in and the team is already buying into Coach Collins' defense-first philosophy. I love it, and cannot wait for the regular season.

Individual analysis after the jump ...

Jrue Holiday

Jrue played another stellar basketball game. He carried himself with extreme swagger and was always in control. He found open teammates with ease. His defense was once again fantastic, prompting this tweet from David Thorpe: "Holiday is going to be on an all-defensive team pretty darn soon. Book it."  

Jrue's play -- in both games -- can be summed up with one phrase: best player on the floor. My only complaint is he seems to be taking defense a little less seriously than he did last year -- gambling more, allowing lazy blow-byes and attempting the "Rondo poke away" more often. Hopefully that changes once the season starts.

Jodie Meeks

Meeks played his second solid game in a row. He was active on defense, ran the floor and shot the ball well. He also threw down a surprisingly Andre Iguodalaesque slam on the break. No complaints from me.

Evan Turner

Evan Turner had another "ehh" game. He clearly has to adjust to NBA competition because the moves he used in college simply don't work against NBA'rs -- even the scrubs in the Summer League. He also needs to adjust to playing off the ball. In college Turner handled the ball and the offense ~90% of the time. Now he has Holiday, Iguodala and Williams to share with. 

David Thorpe had some negative things to say about Turner's attitude:

I'm not loving Turner's "I'm better than you" attitude. He's on cruise control and needs to be on red alert.

I noticed this with Turner as well. I don't think it's a big deal. If Turner was dropping 20 points per game, no one would mention his attitude, but because he's struggling a bit the analysts need something to talk about.

Much like yesterday -- but to a lesser extent -- Turner affected the game in other ways, racking up assists and steals. He was also very active on defense.

Marreese Speights

Speights had no where to go but up after last night's performance, and he did just that. His rebounding and defense were improved, he took less ill-advised shots, and his passing/court vision were as good as I've ever seen. Some of the passes he made out of the post blew my mind. Marreese still has a ton of room to improve, but tonight was a step in the right direction. 

Note: He still doesn't look 100% healthy coming back from his knee strain.

Cedric Simmons

Cedric Simmons had another intriguing game. He had some impressive rebounds and finishes around the rim en route to his 10 points and 7 rebounds. He's definitely a guy to watch for the rest of the Summer League, and I'd love to see him get a training camp invite.

Next up: Tomorrow, 3 PM, vs. OKC

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