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Sixers Ball Pit: Monday's Guests, the Starter Evan Turner and Megamind

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Happy Monday my fellow Hufflepuff comrades. Coming off a win against the Kincks, the Sixers get a much needed two day rest, whether it be to rest any aches or to recover from strained achillies tendons. What better way to spend an off day than playing the pit of love (also known as the ball pit)?

Today we've got some recaps of yesterday's affair, some encouragement from Coach Collins, Tony Battie (?), Elton Brand playing well again, twists and turns in starting lineups, and a Jrue Holiday evaluation.

No time for any messing around, so let's do it the opposite way that LOST would and get right to the point.

Link it up following the jump.

Bob Cooney Recaps Yesterday's Game: Philadelphia Daily News

"We got them to miss some shots," said Lou Williams, who came off the bench to score 19, including 12 of 14 from the foul line.

"They're a very good three-point shooting team and they did us a favor by missing so many [3-for-19 overall, 1-for-8 in last quarter]. I think we defended how we wanted to at the end. We knew they were going to try to make three-pointers to try to get back in the game and we were running guys at them, trying to make them make plays at the rim, and they were still trying to get out to the three-point line."

Without a key player in Iguodala, it was a team effort that carried the Sixers in this one. Elton Brand had 20 points, while Jrue Holiday had 19 points and eight assists. Rookie Evan Turner, who started for Iguodala, chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds and Andres Nocioni added 11 points.

"We had so many guys play well. Tony Battie came into the game and really stabilized our defense. Jodie Meeks came in and gave us a real shot in the arm," Collins said. "We had some guys that were terrific. It was good to see these guys feel good about themselves. It was good winning on the road today."

Collins on the Win Against the Knicks: Philadelphia Inquirer

In a cramped hallway at Madison Square Garden, Collins expounded on how much good one victory can do.

"It was good to see these guys feel good about themselves," he said. "They really felt good about winning on the road."

"I just think they rose," Collins said. "We've played without Andre some stretches this year, and our guys have gotten in there and played very, very well. That is encouraging."

After explaining the merits of Sunday's victory, Collins pointed out how close his team had been to victories before. "I told them, 'I don't want to take anything away from today, but we're [this close] from being 4-0 this week,' " he said. "That's the encouraging thing: We have been in all the games, and guys finally found a way to finish."

In Case You Haven't Noticed, Elton Brand is Playing Well: Associated Press

A former All-Star, Brand has scored 20 or more in four straight games, his longest stretch since seven in a row late in the 2006-07 season for the Los Angeles Clippers. It hasn’t mattered much, since the 76ers are just 2-5.

"It feels OK because we’re not winning. But we’re just so close to winning," Brand said of his resurgence. "If we were getting blown out or something, then it wouldn’t matter to me, scoring 20 points, I don’t care about that. But we’re just so close to winning, our record could definitely be two or three games above .500. We lost some close, close games, so now hopefully this will give us some confidence to keep building on."

"I remember back in the day he was a beast. He’s just been hurt the last couple of years," Turner said. "But I feel like he’s really healthy and he’s out there being a warrior." 

A Feature on Tony Battie: Philadelphia Daily News

After the game, Collins called Battie his Mariano Rivera, because he can help close out games with his defense, just like the Yankees' closer.

"I like that, I'll take that," Battie said after being informed of his coach's compliment.

"[Defense] has to be played both mentally and physically," Battie said. "Mentally you have to know what's going on with the schemes and being at the right place at the right time and learning the angles. Sometimes just being in the right spot to discourage a drive to the basket or make a guy look for his second option. Being in certain spots, having your hands up and making yourself look big are things you have to do physically." 

Lineup Twists and Their Answers: MSNBC

It took seven games for the 76ers to get the former Ohio State scoring star into the starting lineup, and then only when Andre Iguodala was sidelined by a strained right Achilles.

Before that, Doug Collins had utilized Jason Kapono and Andres Nocioni in the first unit ahead of Turner.

For a team that only can be about the future, it certainly was a somewhat odd approach, especially with Jrue Holiday being utilized as the starting point guard. Kapono and Nocioni aren't taking the 76ers anywhere down the road. Turner can, and has to.

Highlights from the Showdown at the Garden: CSN Philly


Jrue is Awesome, but What Areas Need Improvement: Depressed Fan

Look at Thad - many of his problems now were areas we thought he would have improved on by now back when he was the toast of the town as a rookie (rebounding, running plays, perimeter defense, handle.)

Here's just a few (there's more if you hit the link):

•Can get careless when he attacks a double team or pressure
 •Sometimes struggles closing out on 3 pt shooters (like Bibby)
•Has a problem handling small but physical PG's (like Jameer.)
•Lacks explosiveness on drives. Can lead to getting stuck on his drives 

Completely Un-Sixer-Related News of the Day: 'Megamind' Kills it at the Box Office

It's clearly the animated Brad Pitt factor...

For DreamWorks Animation, Megamind was their seventh best debut, topping this year’s How to Train Your Dragon, but falling short of summer blockbusters such as Kung Fu Panda and the three Shrek sequels. For Paramount, Megamind marks the studio’s third No. 1 opening in four weeks.