Mar 27, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) reacts to a turnover during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Cavaliers 103-85. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
(How many people do you think used that headline today? Has to be a couple, right? I'll just pretend it's original).
Jodie Meeks scored 31 points on 11-16 from the field (7 made three's) In the game of professional life, and probably the best game since his 54 point outburst against Tennessee while at Kentucky, It was the kind of shooting display that can lift what could be been an otherwise lackluster performance, and enough to lift the Sixers over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers 103-85.
It was only the fourth time this year a player has scored 30 or more points on 16 or fewer field goal attempts, and only the 19th time in NBA history a player has scored 31+ points on 16 or fewer field goal attempts and 2 or fewer free throw attempts.
In short, 31 points on 16 field goal attempts is incredibly efficient, especially for somebody not using up possessions getting to the line. That kind of production (31 points) on a 91.8% true shooting percentage is absurd. His 11 first quarter points helped put the Sixers up early and, a deficit the Cavs could never overcome, or even pull back within single digits.
And the Sixers needed Meeks' efficiency. Jrue Holiday came out playing well, scoring 12 first half points, but ended up finishing the night scoring 19 points on 19 shots. None of Hawes (10 points on 9 shots), Brand (8 points on 6 shots), Turner (12 points on 13 shots), or the bench (23 points on 29 shots) were particularly effective, as the Sixers got to the line only 5 times, compared to the Cavs 28.
Outside of Jodie Meeks, the Sixers scored 72 points on 76 shots. It could have been a really ugly game against a struggling team. I hate to imagine what this game would have looked like if Meeks turned in 6 points in 25 minutes. Luckily, we don't have to imagine that.
I don't think the game was quite as ugly to watch as the results were, though. Just going by recollection, it seems the Sixers generally avoided "long two's", and most of their attempts either came at the rim or from beyond the arc, particularly in the decisive first half. They outscored the Cavs 54-24 in the paint. They probably earned more than 5 free throw attempts with their style of play, but the amount is disconcerting regardless. I wonder when the last time with a free throw rate differential of -25.3%.
Iguodala who? I'll have to go make up some stats to prove his worth if Meeks keeps this up.
Some thoughts after the jump
- By my calculation Jrue had all but 4 of his field goal attempts in the paint, and 3 of the remaining 4 were from three. His efficiency wasn't there, but I have to believe if he plays that way more often, his efficiency will come along.
- In a night where Louis Williams struggled from the field (5-14 for 11 points), he chipped in 7 rebounds and 7 assists to only 2 turnovers. That was one of Lou's better games in a while.
- What was lost in Meeks explosion was Jrue's defense on Kyrie Irving, who just a week ago had a 4 game stretch where he averaged 25.5 points and 7.8 assists per game. Irving scored 12 points on 13 field goal attempts and had 5 turnovers during the game. Jrue fought through pick and rolls well and hounded Irving on the perimeter.
- Evan Turner seemed more involved in the offense, particularly early. While it would have been nice to see him flourish individually, the fact that the team (and Jrue Holiday specifically) had some success was a good thing.
- Getting that win was big. Every home game is big. The difference between winning the division and getting the 7th seed is huge.