Another horrifically ugly game in which the Sixers beat up a terrible team, but this one gave the Sixers their first divisional win of the season in a 97-62 spanking of the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers are now 5-2 on the young season and lead the old, awkward Atlantic Division.
Poor shooting from both sides allowed the Raptors to linger by default, but once a few shots went in, the Sixers tore through Toronto on a 30-8 run that would send everybody home happy. Everybody, that is, except for the people who wanted Free Big Macs if the Sixers scored 100. I'm not going to make a fat joke. People booed a 35-point win. That's something.
Back to the game, the Sixers defense was again on full display, taking advantage of the fact that the Raptors are unable to put a small orange ball into a hoop with any regularity. The Raps shot a gut-punching 32% from the field and made just one of twelve attempts from beyond the arc. Holding teams to under 75 points on back-to-back nights, first time since the 60's, will make Doug Collins wet himself.
A few more thoughts after the jump.
I'm the first one to say that the Sixers need a superstar because, as repetitive history tells us, teams don't win championships without one. But man, it's good fun seeing the Sixers beat teams with contributions from everybody save for the ball boy. Nine players had at least 7 points and nobody took more than 13 shots (Boss, natch). There isn't a weak link on the offensive end in the rotation. If Collins would run actual plays, this could be a pretty entertaining offense. But he keeps it uncomplicated and the Sixers take their points from the offensive glass and in the open court.
I'd still prefer the guy who can take over a game regularly but he doesn't yet exist so play with the cards you're dealt. The Sixers are making the best out of what really is not a terrifically talented group of guys. Let's see how long this lasts.
The rookie gave us our first look at what kind of player he is. With Spencer Hawes slowed by a nagging back injury, Collins went to Vuce early. He looked confident, nailing two jumpers, and controlled, staying around the rim while pulling in a team-high six offensive rebounds. As we said when he was drafted, he's mostly a finished product, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to your backup big man. There were better options back in June but again, Vuce is what he is and he'll be able to help the team in a small capacity for a while. 9 points, 10 boards, and 2 blocks isn't a bad place to start.
In what should come as a surprise to no one, the Sixers broke out of their first half sleepwalk in the third by taking the ball to the basket. Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, and Spencer Hawes (when he was in) stayed around the rim, including two dunks from ET - something we don't see from him too often. Andre Iguodala got fouled going inside a few times but didn't connect on anything close to the basket. Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, and Louis Williams still settle too often, combining for just 5 foul shots and 2 baskets at the rim. Jrue is the most concerning among them - he can't become the kind of point guard he's capable of without taking the ball to the basket and getting to the foul line regularly. That's got to be something to keep in mind moving forward.
Lavoy Allen played a few minutes and recorded his first two professional rebounds. Andres Nocioni tried to fit a full game into 8 minutes of garbage time and looked like his normal goofy Argentinian self while doing it. Craig Brackins airballed a leaner. Tony Battie kept his hands to himself on the bench.
Next game is Monday against the alarmingly 6-2 Pacers. Bring your Big Mac receipts.