Okay, I'm not going to over-react here. During the game and immediately following the game I thought, "Wow, what a great win!" I was just caught up in the moment. Don't get me wrong, it was a very solid win, but I'm not going to throw the word "great" around. I'll quote Simon Cowell. "A very meat and potatoes" win -- just solid.
One aspect of the Sixers game was indeed "great" tonight -- their offense. Led by smooth-shooting, lefty-dunking, and baby-hooking Thaddeus Young, the Sixers managed to score 115 point tonight on 56 percent shooting. They also shot 5-14 from beyond the arch, which is reasonable. And 22-30 from the line, which is also reasonable. I hadn't seen the Sixers offense run this smoothly, or this efficiently since before the all-star break. That's a good sign.
On the other side of the ball, the Sixers defense was still suspect. The Raptors shot 52 percent from the field, scored 106 points and made 9-17 threes. Night after night the Sixers get destroyed from beyond the arch, and I can't come up with a legitimate reason for why this is happening. Is it poor rotations? Bad double-teams? Bad luck? I'm not sure, but the Sixers need to fix it before the playoffs. There's no way the Sixers will be able to win a game, let alone a series against the Celtics, Cavs or Magic with this kind of perimeter defense.
Nearly every Sixers performed at par, or better than expected. It was great to see some of the guys who have been struggling get off the snide tonight. Here are the guys who stood out:
Louis Williams - Lou was vintage Lou-Will tonight. He wasn't perfect, but he did an adequate job of providing a spark off the bench. He also played disruptive D and facilitated for the second unit. The most important thing for Lou tonight was, he limited the stupid plays. I believe he only attempted one jump-pass, and only took one forced shot -- with the shot clock winding down. Normally Lou settles for way too many outside jumpers, but tonight, from the time he got up off the bench, he was going to the basket. He also made a couple beautiful passes. Apparently he, along with the rest of us, has a man-crush on the one they call M16.
Final line: 5-9, 3-3 FT, 13 points, 5 assists, 1 turnover.
Samuel Dalembert - I haven't seen this type of game from Sammy D in a long, long time. Someone had a nice pep-talk with the Haitian Sensation in the past few days, because he was a totally different player tonight. Instead of grabbing an offensive board and trying to lay it up weakly, he went up strong and threw it down tonight. He even added a couple KG screams of intensity for good measure. To go along with his intensity on the offensive end, he played magnificent defense on Chris Bosh for most of the game. I wouldn't expect this kind of game from Sammy every night, but if he can play like this 2 out of every 3 games, I'll go out on a limb and say, we'd be a force to be reckoned with.
Final line: 9-13, 1-1 FT, 19 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 turnovers
Thaddeus Young - There's not much more to say about the guy. He was on fire tonight. He was hitting from everywhere on the floor. Apparently he worked with his shooting coach in the off-days and it definitely paid off. He looked so much more confident with his jumper. It's just too bad he missed two late free throws that would've given him 30 for the evening. Supposedly Lou-Will jinxed him.
Final line: 13-20, 2-5 Three's, 1-4 FT, 29 points, 5 rebounds
Andre Iguodala - I had to give Iggy a shout out tonight, because when people look at the box score, they won't realize how well he played tonight. Late in the second quarter he pulled up lame after a made three. He came out of the game and was diagnosed with a lower back strain. He returned to start the second half, and did all the little things. He had some beautiful passes, he grabbed some man's rebounds, and he made a couple of timely jump shots. It's amazing how much this guy can contribute without scoring -- and he did it all with a a bad back. Kudos Andre!
Final line: 4-9, 2-4 Three's, 5-6 FT, 15 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover
Overall, it's nice to see guys like Lou and Sam play well. If we can get more out of Sam, Lou and Thad, this team has a very good possibility of making another one of those runs, and possibly even winning a playoff series. A lot of it rides on the role players, but they have to fix that perimeter defense first.
Next up are the Bulls on Friday. In case you hadn't heard, it's the final game in the Spectrum. It should be fun.
Back to .500. Woooooooo!