The perfect medicine for the Philadelphia 76ers following their worst loss of the season was a home date with the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats. The Sixers jumped out to an early lead, led 23-10 after a quarter and were able to shift to cruise control for the majority of the second half. The final 17 point margin is no real indicator of how close this game was or wasn't, as the Bobcats were able to make a late run on the Graveyard Shift – whom deprived the starving Fresh Princes in attendance of Big Macs by scoring only 12 fourth quarter points. The Sixers led by as many as 30 midway through the fourth quarter.
The win improves the Sixers' record to 13-6 on the season and 9-2 on their home floor. Outside of the Nets game on Wednesday the Sixers have been able to take care of business in a big way against inferior opponents – none more inferior than the 3-17 Bobcats. They'll play another bad team tomorrow night when the Pistons come to town before a tumultuous seven game stretch in which they will play teams with a combined record of 87-42 – a far cry from the second easiest schedule the team has enjoyed thus far.
Against such a bad team, it's difficult to take anything meaningful away from the game, especially when the game was essentially over in four minutes. However; that won't stop me from trying. Make the jump for some individual player observations.
- Jrue Holiday turned in yet another lackluster stat line, scoring 15 points on 14 shots, only shooting two free throws (on a non-shooting foul) and matching his three assists with three turnovers. I've been criticizing Jrue all season long for forcing jumpers and settling for long two pointers. Tonight, however, he attacked the basket more than I've seen all season. Unfortunately his increased penetration did not result in any free throws, and he missed a handful of layups, but I applaud Jrue for consistently taking the ball to the basket rather than settling for long, contested jump shots. If he keeps attacking the results will come. He needs to learn the skill of how to create contact though, a la Louis Williams and Allen Iverson.
- Speaking of Lou-Will, he led the team in scoring with 17 points (on 12 shots), including at least two, maybe three, consecutive "and 1s".
- Andre Iguodala scored only 9 points (on 9 shots), had 6 assists and 4 rebounds. His lockdown defense was not needed tonight, but he was able to impact the game with his underrated passing ability. There were several "extra passes" Andre made tonight which resulted in ultra easy baskets for his teammates. Jodie – who hit three threes – was the recipient, more often than not.
- Craig Brackins and Francisco Elson both played and both recorded a blocked shot on Bismack Biyombo. Sisqo also led the team in random, standing applause from the bench. He even flashed the patented "showyaluv" sign. Aren't you required to be on the team for more than 38 seconds before you're authorized to participate in such a sacred tradition?
- Lavoy Allen was the big story of the night. The Temple product and the worst player in the entire NBA, according to ESPN, played an impactful 28 minutes, in which he recorded 8 points and 7 rebounds (5 offensive). His work on the offensive glass was very impressive tonight, often tipping the back to teammate, giving the Sixers second chance opportunities, and his jump shot is very pure. Like most Sixers big men, he's not a banger in the paint, and he's not going to shoot a lot of free throws, but he's an effective pick n' pop player and does have a little "Dream Shake" esque move in his repertoire, which he unleashed late in tonight's game. I will caution you, however, Marc Zumoff – a Temple man himself – will somehow convince everyone that Lavoy is better than he really is. It's clear Zumoff loves Allen and he makes sure you (the viewer) knows every positive thing Allen does, almost like a Little League dad. "Look at the high five Lavoy just gave Noce on the bench! You can't teach that, Malik!"
- Malik Rose was also in top form tonight, busting out our "Graveyard Shift" term live on the air. Good for him.