The Toronto Raptors entered tonight's game coming off a loss against the Chicago Bulls where they found themselves down 19, came back, forced overtime, only to lose. Tonight, the shoe appeared to be on the other foot. It was the Raptors who found themselves up 19 against the Sixers, and the Sixers who came back to force overtime. The similarities would end there as the Raptors found yet another new and creative way to lose a basketball game in the 2012-13 season. Jrue Holiday took over, scoring the game-tying basket in regulation and all of the Sixers' points in overtime and ensured the Sixers walked out of Wells Fargo Center with a 108-101 victory.
The Sixers started off real slow, missing their first seven starts, but would quickly recover behind hot shooting from Jrue Holiday to crawl back within 1, but the Sixers were never able to tie or take the lead, and the Raptors were able to expand their lead to 8 by the end of the quarter. The Raptors shot 71% in the first. The Sixers 38%. That is a good summation of that quarter of play.
The end of the first quarter provided a brief moment of levity from Liberty Ballers' favorite punching bag, Spencer Hawes. Receiving the ball in the Toronto half with 1.8 seconds left on the clock, Spencer Hawes proceeded to dribble and back his man down. From 28 feet out. For 1.8 seconds. He never was even able to begin the motions of a buzzer-beating shot.
The Raptors entered what appeared to be cruise control mode for them in the 2nd quarter. Already up 8, the Raptors outscored the Sixers 32-23 in the 2nd frame to take a commanding halftime lead. Throughout the game, the Raptors were led by Alan Anderson, Terrence Ross, and noted Liberty Ballers man crush Ed Davis, all of whom notched 18 points in the game.
Trailing by 19, the Sixers made a furious rally, outscoring the Raptors 29-13 in the third quarter to pull within a point after three. The run, largely fueled by a 10-0 run led by Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, was refreshing to see, especially from Turner who had been struggling a lot as of late. Big moment in the 3rd quarter from Evan Turner when he kicked it out to Thaddeus Young on a drive. Mike Levin called it the Sixers' "single biggest play of the year." I'd amend that to say it was the Sixers' "only play of the year." Jokes like that are what happens when you follow and document a team that plays non-stop iso ball, folks.
The Sixers would take their first lead of the game at the start of the 4th quarter, but the Raptors would go on a run to once again amass a ten point lead. The Sixers comeback appeared to be DOA, but thanks to Jrue Holiday and Thad Young, both of whom were beyond spectacular, the Sixers rallied to make a game of it. It appeared as though their final rally would fall just short in the final minute after a series of miscues seemed to prevent them from making a game of it.
But a Toronto turnover on an inbounds pass gave the Sixers one last chance to tie the game with 5.5 seconds left. Jrue Holiday inbound the ball to Hawes, who would pass it back, and Jrue drove the hoop, putting the team on his proverbial shoulders, and he scored the game-tying basket.
Jrue Holiday taking over would become a common theme throughout the overtime. Jrue Holiday dominated all facets of the overtime. He took three point shots, he drove the hoop, he did not settle for a bunch of long twos, scored all the points in overtime, and along with Thad Young, he is the primary reason the Sixers came out on top.
Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young each were magnificent tonight. Holiday led the team with 33 points on 13-23 shooting. In addition, Holiday had 5 rebounds, 14 assists, and 3 steals to put a cap on something that could only be described as an absolutely stellar performance from the young Sixers point guard. The other stand out of the night was Thaddeus Young, who had 27 points on 13-19 shooting, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals of his own.
After the game, Matt Moore tweeted the Sixers would be "Wizards bad" without Jrue Holiday, making the point Jrue Holiday is deserving of being a reserve in the All-Star Game. Thaddeus Young to a lesser extent has also greatly helped the Sixers this season in the absence of Bynum, but it is amazing to think how much Jrue is doing this year (especially when compared to last season), how much he is helping the team win games, and it is quite an enticing thought to think just how good Jrue has the potential of one day being, especially once he gets a chance to play with a competent big man.
Arnett Moultrie and Shelvin Mack spent 53 minutes making sure Damien Wilkins had a warm place to sit when he came off. Kwame Brown missed the game due to a sinus infection.
For the enemy perspective and if this strange concept of a Sixers win has left a hole in your heart that can only be filled by visiting a place of self-pitying sports fans, check out Raptors HQ for more on this game.