Thanks to an impressive showing by the abominable Spencer Hawes, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 106-97 tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, giving Doug Collins his 100th victory as Sixers' head coach.
The result is a tad bit surprising given the fact that the Sixers had lost 12 of their previous 13 games. But just a day removed from a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic, the 76ers put it all together for 48 minutes and came out with a solid, nine-point win over a team that actually figures to do a little damage in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
At the start of the game, it looked as if the Sixers were well on their way to downtown Tankonia. For whatever reason (Daylight Savings Time, a case of the Mondays, a period of mourning for Detroit Pistons' PG Brandon Knight), there was absolutely zero juice in the Wells Fargo Center at the beginning of the contest.
As you can tell from this exchange, the first two quarters were the perfect cure for those suffering from a severe case of insomnia...
Of course, what made the first half even worse was the fact that the Sixers ACTUALLY TRIED. And "thanks" to 13 second-quarter points Dorell Wright, the 76ers went into intermission with a 53-46 lead.
The Sixers carried that energy over into a spirited third quarter, but couldn't pull away despite 11 points in the period from Damien Wilkins, who went virtually shot for shot with Deron Williams (yes, this actually happened).
Williams and Joe Johnson combined for 17 fourth-quarter points, but the Nets were never able to get any closer than five down the stretch. With the win, the Sixers are now 17-5 in games in which they led at halftime.
Let the record show that after scoring 14 points in the first quarter, Brook Lopez only scored five points over the final three periods. His nemesis - Spencer Hawes - had a season-high 24 points, and a season-high seven assists to go along with 10 rebounds. For the first and only time this year, Collins' pre-season boast that Hawes could play the "Pau Gasol role" with the Sixers finally came to fruition.
Jrue Holiday snapped out of his funk with a very efficient 15 points and 11 assists, and Thad Young had his typical Thad Young line: 16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists. Evan Turner's 16 points on 6-for-18 shooting should be a bit more disconcerting, but with the emphasis on tanking, how much does his inconsistency matter at this point?
It's a shame that winning isn't a priority right now - there were so many positives to take out of this game. The Sixers only turned the ball over seven times as a team, and had 31 assists on their 40 made baskets. They even made more free throws (18) than the Nets attempted (16).
Nevertheless, if it wasn't obvious before, it's clear now: The Sixers and Doug Collins don't care about Lucy.
No matter. The Miami Heat come to town on Wednesday.