With Andre Iguodala in a suit for just the seventh time in his career -- allegedly, Andre hates suits -- Doug Collins gave Evan Turner the first start of his career. Behind stellar performances from Turner, Jrue Holiday, and Elton Brand, the Sixers were able to fend off a tough Knicks team by restricting them from playing their style of basketball. Back in the Asbestos-free Madison Square Garden, the Concrete Junglers shot just 3-19 from beyond the arc.
Both teams were an identical 25-35 from the foul line, but the difference was who the Sixers got into foul trouble. While both Raymond Felton (5) and DWTDD Tony Douglas (4) were tagged with fouls early and Amare Stoudemire ended up with 4 as well. For the Sixers, Holiday and Louis Williams stayed out of foul trouble and were able to exploit the hesitant New York backcourt.
The Sixers have won 2 of 3 and sit at 2-5 on the young season. Bullet points after the jump.
- I missed the first quarter due to a lovely hangover from last night's exploits and, unlike commenter Joe_D, forgot to set any sort of alarm to alert me of the game's early start time on the west coast. So this recap is entirely first quarter free.
- Jrue Holiday is over is slow start. Seriously. In his last four games, Jrue is averaging over 18 points and 8.5 assists, shooting well over 50% from the field and 7-14 from three-point range. His defense hasn't been as consistent, but tonight he played great on Douglas and Felton, especially in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter. The Sixers were up and had to keep the Knicks away from any open looks from three. Instead of backing off and playing safe, Jrue used his body to cut off any lanes through which Felton and Douglas could pass or shoot. This also took a lot of time off the clock, shortening the game considerably for a possible Knicks comeback. He also made a number of really smart, veteran decisions in using a lot of shot clock to limit possessions, including a rebound of his own miss and bringing it back out for a fresh 24. He's still not perfect, nor is he a top 5 point guard, but he's getting better every game and I love what I'm seeing from him.
- No Iguodala? No problem. Turner had a great game covering Andre's shift especially on the defensive end. ET covered Felton, Douglas, Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler at various points in the game. He was 5-9 on his jump shots, some of which were catch and shoot, the others off the dribble. His form is really nice and if he can quicken his release and square up every time, he'll be an above average jump shooter in this league. He did make a few bad passes that led to his 5 turnovers, but with 14 points on 11 shots and more dominance on the glass, nabbing 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. When Andre returns, I'd love to see Evan bump Andres Nocioni from the last spot, but as long as he gets plenty of time off the bench, I'm fine with it.
- Louis Williams plays smart. I don't want him taking as many jump shots as he has been, but for a 6th man, he continues to do a great job. He drew a ton of fouls, two of which came on three-point attempts with Landry Fields committing the offense. He hasn't been miserable on defense either (did you see that block on Ray Felton? Damn, son). His trade value is going up every game.
- Jodie Meeks played! And he played okay!
- Thaddeus Young's role is dwindling. It shows what the coaching staff thinks of him that even without Iguodala, he still only played 16 minutes, going 1-4 from the field and basically being a non-factor.
- There's nothing more I can say about Elton Brand. He really looks phenomenal. He's shot over 54% in every game but one, tallying 20 points in each game but two. After an off night on the boards last game, he got back on it with 7 tonight -- it would've been more had Turner not stolen 10 of them. I wonder if any GMs are calling Stefanski and Thorn about Elton.
- Marreese Speights and Spencer Hawes are looking (slowly) better each game. Nothing world-changing though, because Tony Battie is still getting a ton of their minutes. If you would've told me this when we signed him, I probably would've swallowed the apple I've been chewing on.
- The LB community has gotten 300+ comments in every game this season. I'm so proud of ya'll. Roll call later. Drinks on me.
The road trip continues on Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. ET on Kevin Durant will be fun to watch. We'll see if Iguodala is back for that game. Go Eagles and enjoy the rest of your lazy Sunday.