Typically, murder is frowned upon in this country. Not so tonight.
The Sixers LITERALLY ripped the Hawks into pieces, divvied them into baggies, and handed them out to each ticket holder in Phillips Arena. From the opening tip, the Sixers were harder, better, faster, and stronger than Atlanta, who showed how weak they are when playing without Al Horford. While they are just 2-2 without their center, the other loss was a 41-point shellacking at the hands of New Orleans.
Everything was roses tonight for Doug Collins. Jrue Holiday bounced back from two bad games to score 18 points (though zero assists is anomalous) and come up with a big block on Zaza Pachulia, Elton Brand tallied 17 points on just 6 shots, Andre Iguodala brought his February assist/turnover ratio to an absurd 35/3 in four games, and that's just naming a few. The gentlemen from Philadelphia could do no wrong tonight, resulting in a road win against the 4th best team in the Eastern Conference, albeit without their All-Star center.
I've truthfully never seen a team lay down and die like the Hawks did tonight. It's embarrassing that a solid playoff team could get completely shut down by a team like the Sixers at home this far into the season. Larry Drew wasn't igniting any fires in the hearts of his players and the effort wasn't there from the get-go. Maybe this is just a blip in the radar for an otherwise decent team, but if I'm a Hawks fan, I'm concerned. The Sixers never took their foot off the gas and the Hawks were comfortable sniffing on some boot.
The win pushes the Sixers three games under .500 and victorious in 7 of their last 9.
- Darius Songaila played. Darius Songaila scored. Darius Songaila rebounded. Comrades, rejoice.
- Despite how thrilled we all are about Dong getting playing time, it came 5 minutes before Marreese Speights took his warm-ups off. How deep in Collins' dog house must Mo have gone? Expect a lengthy article on this very subject in the coming days.
- In front of his seemingly apathetic parents in his hometown, Jodie Meeks played his best overall game as a Sixer. He D'ed up on Marvin Williams and Damien Wilkins, hit a few three's, and actually took the ball into the paint a good amount tonight. He also ran down 8 rebounds, eclipsing his previous high of 4, while also tacking on 3 assists and 3 steals. Good for Jodes. Nice game from Thad as well.
- Spencer Hawes grabbed 7 rebounds in just over 11 minutes of work. That's impressive -- good for a 34.4% total rebounding percentage in limited time. His defensive rebounding has been overlooked this season because of how awkward he looks on the court, but of all the regular rotation players, he's statistically the best rebounder they've got. Collins ultimately pulled him for matchup reasons when the Hawks went small and then because the game was out of reach.
Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby got completely took on the offensive end. They combined to score 11 points on 13 shots in 43 minutes, while recording just 2 assists to 5 turnovers. Kudos to Iguodala and Holiday for shutting them down.
- Though his stats were mostly in garbage time, Evan Turner came just shy of a triple double in every category, with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. The whole game was garbage time though, so I'm just as happy as I'd be otherwise. He hit a few mid-range jump shots, took his man off the dribble, and found open guys -- the play that particularly comes to mind was when he drove by his man, rose up for the 7-footer, then passed to a wide open Thaddeus Young underneath the basket. Like Iguodala, Turner's assist/turnover ratio has skyrocketed lately -- in his last 12 games he's totaled 41 assists while committing just 5 turnovers.
- Andre Iguodala missed a fast break dunk. It was embarrassing. I think he recovered.
- Andres Nocioni played. Poorly.
- Craig Brackins and Jason Kapono were inactive. They looked melancholy.
- I suppose I should mention how well Louis Williams played tonight. He hit jumpers, off-balance shots, fast break layups, and everything in between. Lou took his standard ill-advised jumpers early in the shot clock but also managed to make a few passes and the Hate Index didn't go much further than Sepia on the night. His defense, per usual wasn't there as he let Jeff Teague go by him a number of times, but that's just how it goes.
- Finally, and most importantly, LB broke it's record of game thread comments with a 669 night, passing the 612 effort against the Magic back when four-point plays were in style.
Those very same Magic are on the docket for tomorrow. Only Meeks and Turner played over 30 minutes tonight, so everybody should be well-rested for Dwight and the boys. Kick it.