So bad has the Sixers frontcourt been through 15 games that a night in which none of the three big men score over 6 points is considered a rousing success. Though Elton Brand and Chris Kaman combined to score 37 points on 23 shots, Philly's Triumvirate of Death (Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen, and Kwame Brown) kept the Mavericks off the glass long enough for the Sixers to eek out a victory.
Strangely, the ToD each scored 6 points on efficient shooting. In 49 minutes of combined play, the three totaled 18 points (on 10 shots), 15 rebounds, and a +5 on the court. Small victories, sure, but considering their previous play characterized as "Paint By Vomit", we'll happily take that. Though Dallas is one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, holding them to 9 offensive rebounds over 34 missed shots is worth toasting.
And Kwame's 8 boards, most of which he managed to not collapse to the ground in the process of retrieving, makes him tonight's Kwame Brown Honorary Kwame Brown Player Of The Night. Highly prestigious.
The game stayed close and close and close until the Sixers pulled away in the 4th on an 11-0 run spurred on by six consecutive Dallas turnovers. A poorer display of giving a damn about ball security I've never witnessed. But Mavericks they are, and going softly was not in the cards. It was meant to be a weird night, after all. How weird?
Vince Carter weird.
VC channeled his younger self in the final few minutes, yanking the Mavs back into it with a deeeeep three and a putback slam. Jason Richardson inexplicably turned the ball over in the strangest way possible and suddenly Dallas was seriously in this thing. Jrue Holiday, he of the recently departed Lou Williams Boss Role, took a few awful shots on the offensive end to give Dallas the ball with the shot clock unplugged.
To the befuddlement of Doug Collins and basketball coaches everywhere, Rick Carlisle, wizard, ran a play to try to tie the game. This play did not involve dribbling out the clock. Parts were moving, the ball was going to the basket, and O.J. Mayo drew a (weak slap) foul. It was, frankly, terrifying. Mayo missed the first because the ball simply don't lie and forced himself to miss the second. The ball was tipped way out to the three point line as the clock moved in hilariously slow motion. Jae Crowder corralled the rock, put up a heave, and we all pooped ourselves when it bounces off the backboard, off the rim and out. Opponents had been previously shooting a bazillion percent against the Sixers on those shots.
Sixers win 100-98. Sixers Be Crazy. Sixers Be Big Macs. Sixers Be 9-6 without the services of Andrew Bynum.
I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to Evan Turner. First thought: SDFNSIUDGIUR! Dude played smothering defense on a Hot As Balls O.J. Mayo, holding him to just 10 shots on the night (he made 4) and basically forcing him to defer to his less-good-at-shooting teammates. One of my favorite ET defensive games of his career.
And now, the offense. We can lament his jumper up and down the streets of Haverford, but if you're not paying attention, you're missing some legitimately good shooting. He's fully accepted the greatness that is The Corner Three and it's shown. ET went 8-12 from the field, 2-4 from three, and 4-5 from the line for a 22-point evening. He's 10-23 from beyond for the season (43.5%) and would need to go one for his next 26 in order to match is 11-49 canker sore of last season. The jumper. She can breathe.
All but two of his 14 shot attempts on the night were either A) Wide open, or B) Going towards the basket. One of the two was his "MJ play" on the baseline, which was more of a heat check than anything else. Plus Collins loved it.
Holiday last 7 games: 18.9 ppg, 9.4 apg, 3.3 topg, 46.1% fg, 41.2% 3.Turner: 16.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5 apg, 48.9% fg%.Great tandem right now— Derek Bodner (@derekbodner) November 28, 2012
I'm proud of ET. You're proud of ET. Doug's proud of ET. Things are looking up for him. After the game he expressed his wishes that this game would get everybody off his back. Not entirely sure what he's talking about but that could be due to my sucking at his teet with no idea what's going on by his back.
I firmly believe that the Sixers offense has been philosophically better of late and it's only a matter of time before the statistics reflect that. Well, yay, things are looking up. They've made it a point to find more spot-up shooters now that they have, um, spot-up shooters but it hasn't really paid off yet. Against Dallas they attempted 11 spot-up threes and made 5, way up from their previous average this season.
And they got to the line! A bunch of FTs were a result of late game foul trouble, but inflation is going to happen especially if you're helping the cause by getting the opposition into foul trouble early in the 4th. The Sixers took 32 trips to the line, which helped mitigate the 17 turnovers on the night.
Props to Thaddeus Young for getting there 11 times, the second most in his career. He put in a casual 20 and 7 with a No Big +6 to boot. They found him on cuts a number of times, resulting in fouls or Awkwardly Smooth lefty things around the rim. He's sporting an unconscious 1.31 PPP on cuts per Synergy. His jumper was also working tonight -- on spot-up opportunities, he's shooting 59%. Have I mentioned he's been terrific? Just, uh, no more dribbling please.
There's a Hershey's three-to-a-row-sized chunk of correctable mistakes Doug can glean from this game. Jrue's cut down on his turnovers of late (hadn't coughed it up more than 4 times in two weeks) but there were some majorly sloppy plays on his part. I'm all for working through his growing pains and staying aggressive, but these seemed to have spawned out of laziness rather than taking risks. He still played great though. Love him.
My Ace of Pressure Makes Diamonds tonight is Turner. Sorry Kwame, 6 and 8 won't cut it. The blue sportsmanship ribbon only goes so far.
Win's a win's a win. 14 of the next 20 are on the road and that starts in Charlotte.
Here's what's up at Mavs Moneyball.