Jrue Holiday has been a focal point in many discussions we've had here at Liberty Ballers about the future of this franchise. Doug Collins believes (or at least did before the season started) that Jrue has top-5 point guard in the NBA potential. Many of us feel he and Evan Turner should be the only members of this roster unavailable in trade scenarios. It's all about establishing a solid foundation for the future and in tonight's 106-92 win over the New Jersey Nets, Jrue showed us just what the future may hold for him.
Jrue got started on his triple-double early as he assisted the game's first basket to Jodie Meeks for a corner three-ball. Shortly afterwards, he took the ball himself and made a gorgeous driving lay-up around Nets' center Brook Lopez. Holiday looked determined throughout the entire first half as he was able to get the ball to the hoop, finish around the basket, and find the open man with relative ease.
In a completely shocking turn of events, Louis Williams passed the ball to Jrue with the clock winding down at the close of the first half. Jrue received the ball and promptly hit nothing but nylon on the three-point attempt. After the 24-minute mark, Jrue was already on pace to record a triple-double with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Jrue's second half wasn't as "stat-stuffed" as the first half, but successful he was nonetheless. While much of the offense was indeed run through newly appointed point forward Andre Iguodala and the self-proclaimed boss Lou Williams, Jrue was able to take advantage of his opportunities, especially in transition. Jrue added 6 more assists to his sheet in the second half, including a beautiful find on the break to Spencer Hawes.
Holiday finished with 11 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds to check off "get a triple-double" from his bucket list (Morgan Freeman still hasn't done that!). One stat that might get lost in the shuffle for Holiday is his one, yes one, turnover. If any of you predicted Jrue would finish the game with an 11:1 assist to turnover ratio, quit your job and invest in the stock market (don't quit your job if you already do this!) because you are brilliant.
Behind the efforts of Jrue, Andre, and Lou, the Sixers outscored the Nets 35-7 in transition points. Over the years the Sixers have been most successful when pushing the ball off misses and forced turnovers and tonight proved just the same. It seemed like every time the Sixers were able to come away with a defensive stop, the first thought was to push the rock. With transition talents such as Holiday, Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, and Turner, the Sixers continuing this trend is something I'd like to see as the season comes to the home stretch (it sure beats the hell out of Lou isolations).
More Sixers/Nets observations after the jump.
- Iguodala's first game as a publicly known point forward didn't seem too different than any other game. In fact, if anything, it looked like Dre was distributing less than normal. Many possessions were ending in Iguodala shots off drive and kicks or jumpers off the dribble. He didn't look to drive many times, if at all, however. Andre was content in pulling up for mid-range jumpers resulting in him not getting to the line at all. The shot attempts he had at the rim tonight were off his transition baskets and gorgeous cut leading to a reverse slam in the second half.
- Lou played very bossy tonight. His pump fake was working to the T, he was hitting his three-pointers at an efficient rate, and he capitalized on driving opportunities. Lou dropped all 9 of his free throw attempts and finished with a team high, boss-like 26 points. In weird, unexplainable news, Lou was tied for the team high blocks with 2. The 6'1" Williams had the same about of blocks as the 7'0" Lopez as well.
- Spencer Hawes did his best impression of a homeless man on the street trying to get some money as he was cleaning the glass all night. Unfortunately, he also took 14 shot attempts hitting just 4. Not a bad game from Spence although he did get completely embarrassed by Derrick Favors on one shot attempt (hint: it came back in his face).
- Turner wasn't bad, yet he wasn't great tonight. His effort, however, was exactly what I wanted to see from an offensive aggressiveness standpoint. While only playing 14 minutes, Evan took the ball to the basket on 5 of his 7 shots (one was a silky jumper in transition, the other a heave at the end of the first quarter). While he finished just 2 of the attempts, I'll always be supportive of him attacking the cup. What he needs to improve on is taking the ball up strong and draw some contact as opposed to trying to finesse his way to a made basket. Doug Collins, on the other hand, felt that Turner wasn't mentally there tonight. As Derek pointed out on Twitter, Doug proclaimed during post-game "Evan had a tough night tonight. I don't know if concentration wise [he was there]."
- Marreese Speights' defensive effort tonight was laughable. While he only played 5 minutes (you'll see why), Speights was responsible for allowing 10 Nets points. 6 of them were from him completely losing Kris Humphries down low on 3 separate occassions, 2 were from Devin Harris completely obliterating him on a pick and roll drive, and the other 2 were from Johan Petro establishing position on the block as easy as I've ever seen. Collins has told him before that if the defensive effort isn't there, neither will his playing time and tonight was no different. I'm glad I put more effort into writing about Speights than he put forth on defense.
- The Sixers jumped out to a 21 point lead in the third quarter that nobody knew was safe. The Nets predictably went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 13. Unlike the Grizzlies, however, the Nets were not able to finish their push as the Sixers controlled the game the rest of the way. It was admittedly a sight for sore eyes to witness the Sixers get a big lead and hold on to it.
- The Knicks lost to the Mavericks tonight. I can't believe I'm saying this, but that means if the Sixers take both games of this weekend's home-and-home, they'll be only 1 game back of the 6th seed in the East.
We barely got over the 300 comment mark in the game thread. A lot of hard work and perseverance were the ingredients and they were baked to perfection. Way to bring it down the stretch fellas. Victory!
Courtesy our friend Tom Moore, here's Jrue's post-game reaction to his first (of many more to come) triple-double.
Player of the Game: The Jruth
Next Up: The New York Knickerbockers, Friday night in the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center.