Theoretically this is the best win of the Sixers season. They beat top 5 team, did it convincingly, and used the "correct" starting lineup. (Holiday, Iverson, Iguodala, Brand, Dalembert) Unfortunately, I couldn't be less excited. This has "aberration" written all over it. The lineup change gave the Sixers a temporary boost, and players like Thaddeus Young hugely overachieved. Instead of a turning point or an awakening, this game only serves as a band-aid that masks the problems rather than fixes them. It also delays an inevitable shake-up of a franchise in desperate need of one.
Here's the breakdown of the "Big Five":
Jrue made a couple rookie mistakes like losing Jason Kidd for a wide-open three or forcing a jumpshot early in the shot clock, but that's expected from the youngest player in the League. He only played 15 minutes, but managed to finish with 4 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. I think the best way to describe him is as a younger, smaller version of Andre Iguodala -- a huge compliment. He ran the offense well, making seemingly effortless passes to set his teammates up for easy buckets, and played pretty good defense on the Hall of Famer he was guarding. I'll give him a B+ for his efforts tonight.
Lou was reduced to his ideal role tonight -- sixth man -- and played well with the second unit. He still got torched on defense, as he does every night, but had a great chemistry with his bench-mates -- Thad Young and M16 -- on offense. He finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. He was great in transition and ran the show when the Sixers separated themselves from the Mavs in the second quarter. Lou earns a solid C+ for his efforts tonight.
Not much you can say about this guy. He dominated the game for stretches despite shoo ting only 2-12 from the floor. He can contribute in so many ways it's unbelievable. He finished with a measly 7 points, but led his team in assists (8), grabbed the second most boards (9), and played great defense throughout. I give him a B for his near trip-dub.
Whoops. I've been harping on Thad all week, and he does this! Hall of Fame here we come! No seriously, Thad killed it on offense. But you know who else kills it on offense from time to time? Willie Green. Yeah, that Willie Green. Thad finished with 22 points on 12 shots, but only recorded 4 rebounds and 0 assists. His defense was close to average tonight -- which is a step up -- but he's still a very, very one-dimensional player. However; he still deserves a B. The Sixers don't win this game without Thaddeus.
M16 dominated the Mavericks tonight. He finished with 14 points on 7-13 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals. You'd like a couple more rebounds out of your PF/C, but at this point in his career this is who Mo Speights is. He's going to shoot a lot, he's going to score a lot, but not much else. And despite his 3 steals and blocks, his defense wasn't spectacular either. Overall, a very solid game from Speights. Not only can he score, but he can score consistently in the half-court, which is something this team has been missing for long time. I'll give Speights a B- for the evening.
Despite a flukey win, the Sixers young guys played very well as a whole -- something to hang your hat on until next game.