The game never got close.
The Sixers won each of the first three quarters and led by 26 entering the fourth quarter. Sacramento, which has been rumored to be on the move to Anaheim soon, shot under 35% and were without franchise player Tyreke Evans. Despite impressive efforts on the boards by rookie DeMarcus Cousins and old friend Samuel Dalembert, missed shots and turnovers undid the Kings effort on the night.
Jrue Holiday set the tone for the Sixers early, scoring 12 of his 15 points in the first frame. He finished with a stellar line of 15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and no turnovers. Beno Udrih isn't particularly athletic or quick, so Jrue could get by him at will and set up shots for himself and his teammates. Counting the Clippers game and tonight's, Jrue has put together two fantastic performances against California teams -- a welcome sight after a rough previous week.
More importantly though, the New York Knicks fell to the Pistons of all teams to drop to 35-33, giving the Sixers a half game lead on the hombres from Manhattan with 13 games left in the regular season. If things hold, Philadelphia would meet the talented South Beach threesome in the first round. Being only three games back of the Hawks, despite a few ugly losses, the 5th seed and a first round victory is not entirely out of the question. Not entirely sure this is the real world.
More notes and proselytizing after the jump.
- If Jodie Meeks were named Marcus and had a higher usage rate, I'm convinced he'd be Marcus Thornton. At this point I may rather take Jodie.
- Check your rear-view mirrors, Spencer Hawes has been playing mighty efficient basketball of late.
Marreese Speights wasn't hesitating tonight. This is not an idea so much as it is a commandment. He and Jason Kapono are the only two Sixers with a negative +/- on the night.
- Andre Iguodala continues to be terrific at basketball. He handled the ball too much for me tonight, but with the point forward role I suppose that's bound to happen. If he's not all-defense this season I'll punch Nate Robinson in the gut. It's probably his fault for the Dunk Contest fiasco of a few years back.
- Evan Turner scored at the rim tonight, all the while while adding some nice supplementary stats to his plate. I expect the next two weeks to be owned by Turner -- similar to Thad's breakout a few seasons ago culminating in the huge layup past Dwight Howard to win a playoff game over the Magic.
- Cousins had 7 defensive rebounds in a 34 minute run. Jrue had 8 in 31 minutes. Said.
- Donte Green missed most of the game because he wanted to watch Syracuse beat Indiana State. Understandable, but probably not factual.
- Tony Battie played 9 minutes tonight. Craig Brackins was inactive. Moving on...
The Sixers face the Trail Blazers in the second half of a West Coast back-to-back, the first of three playoff teams they'll be facing in a row, including Miami and Atlanta. Then Sacramento returns the favor in Philly next Sunday. As the season winds down, everybody's clenching -- just win your games and don't worry about anything else.
Doug Collins continues to beat the teams he has to. If they can steal a few wins against teams they shouldn't, they're a decent team. Let's see if they can keep it up against better competition.