Games Two and Three were a godsend for those of us pining for a time when Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday would not only be the focal point of the Sixers' gameplan, but successful at the same time. After combining to score 80 points on 52 shots in the previous two games, the two bricked their way to 29 points on 35 shots and 28.6% shooting. It wasn't pretty early on, with both of them missing contested layup after contest layup, but Jrue was at least redeemed when he hit two COLD. BLOODED. threes on consecutive possessions to push the Sixers ahead of the Bulls at the end of the third quarter.
Should we be worried about this performance? Not really, because although the two of them made their share of mistakes, both attacked the basket, got to the foul line, and were integral to the win even without their best offensive games. The pair missed so many layups that it seemed like they had switched sneakers with Spencer Hawes, who happened to be a layup-hitting FIEND. They combined to shoot 4-14 on layups. That's a decent percentage if they're shooting layups from the opposite rim. It's an anomaly and likely won't happen often.
Jrue did a terrific job locking up Richard Hamilton and Kyle Korver on defense -- not an easy task considering they've got a few inches on him. He is such a good defender, I'm tearing up just thinking about it. And Evan, who ain't no slouch, kept C.J. Watson away from the scoring column for much of the game, using his length to affect Watson's shot and attempts at the basket. Their tremendous defense can't be understated in how instrumental it was to the win. It won't show up as easily as POINTS! in the box score, but it's just as important.
Jrue had some poor shot selection throughout and often overdribbled. Sometimes his shots fall and it bails out the questionable decision-making but today wasn't one of those times, so his line looks pretty ugly. Turner picked up two consecutive stupid fouls with 6 minutes left in the 4th, putting him at 5 for the game and forcing Doug to turn to defensive turnstile Louis Williams late in the game. Lou would proceed to get burned on defense immediately. Doug would go to an offense/defense switch with he and Evan in the last two minutes. He can't get whistled for stupid fouls that late in the game and I'm sure Doug is letting him know that.
It's always nice to see the two of them playing well together, but it's occasionally even more rewarding to see them play good ball in spite of some offensive struggles. That's the mark of a good basketball player, and a good teammate. They didn't stop going to the basket, they didn't lose confidence, and they played great defense on the other end. And the Sixers won. So, yay.
But next game let's just get 55 points on 30 shots, okay?