I woke up with about 4 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. I must have fallen asleep like the Toronto Raptors' transition defense some where toward the end of the the third. While there was not much difference in the score, i noticed a whole new lineup on the floor for Doug Collins' crew; there stood two rookies, two sophomores, and a forgotten journeyman and circumstances-be-damned, they looked (dare I say it) good.
With a 30 point lead and the 4th straight victory in hand, coach Collins UNLEASHED (Skip Bayless voice) the lineup of Nik Vucevic, Lavoy Allen, Craig Brackens, Andres Nocioni, and Evan Turner. Big Nik had already earned his scouts badge, appearing early in the game and finishing just one missed free throw away from his first career double-double to complement 2 blocks in under 20 minutes of play! Temple University's own Allen made his NBA debut last night and while he didn't tickle the twine he went down to the block, posted up a more experienced big body and demanded that Louis Williams feed him the rock! Nevermind that he dished it back out and got it stripped away on the re-post, this confidence was great to see from the second round pick that a lot of experts had going undrafted. It's also encouraging that the post mishap occurred seconds after Allen pulled down a hard-nosed, Tony Battie-coached rebound. I'm not putting the rookie combination up against Stoudemire/Chandler just yet but from the kids sitting on the end of the bench, this type of play is a sight for sore eyes.
Nocioni and Brackens both seen time in spurts last season and will likely be in the same boat this season barring injury. Evan Turner had the chance to groom his ball-handling skills while he lead the inexperienced group through garbage time; a time where the lead normally trickles down from 30 to 13 just in time to make the opposing coach consider fouling and extending the game. But instead, the young Sixers EXTENDED the lead, resulting in a 35 point margin of victory for the 7-6. Something small on a practical scale, but definitely a detail that is deserving of attention. I'm sure Collins and staff are smiling on the inside that they have young guys that can get out there with other NBA talent and at minimum hold their own.