The Sixers bench went on a 20-10 run as Steve Nash rested late in the first quarter, taking the lead with for good with 31 seconds left in the first quarter and never looking back. Despite a late rally which saw the Suns cut a 21 point lead with 3:47 left down to 10, the Sixers held on to sweep the season series with the Suns.
Led by 58 points from the bench, including a combined 52 from Thaddeus Young (24), Evan Turner (14), and Louis Williams (14), the dominated for the vast majority of the game.
Evan Turner, who scored 23 points in the last meeting between the two teams, followed that up with one of his better overall games of the season, grabbing 8 rebounds, dishing out 5 assists, while committing only 1 turnover.
Thaddeus Young had a similarly surprisingly diverse game, with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. The Sixers were +27 during Young's 32 minutes, -17 during the 15 minutes and change he was on the bench.
Elton Brand was the only Sixer starter in double figures, carrying the team at times during the third quarter, scoring 9 points. Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday both struggled from the field, combining for 16 points on 18 shots, while committing 6 turnovers. That being said, they did both play good defense, particularly Holiday, who had 6 steals to help ignite the Sixers potent fast break.
Then, of course, there was Spencer Hawes. After 4:34 of uninspired first quarter play, Doug Colling removed him for good, instead electing to go with a small lineup with Elton Brand at center and Thaddeus Young at power forward. I would be surprised if Collins went with that lineup come Sunday, as Phoenix represented the perfect matchup to go with that lineup, but it was nice to see Collins not stick with something that wasn't working.
An offensive rating of 116.3 represented the Sixers best showing in over two weeks, and holding the Suns to an 18.4% offensive rebounding percentage was the Sixers second best showing in the past month. Those two factors, along with the perimeter defense that held the Suns to 29.4% three point shooting and only 5 makes (against a team that averages 8.5 makes at 37.7%, allowed the Sixers to hold the Suns to a below average (for them) offensive game despite shooting 51.3% from the field. The Suns, on average, have an offensive rating of 110.3, good for 5th in the league. The Sixers held them to 105.2 tonight.
Overall, this was a very good win, against a team that's playing much better basketball of late, having won 6 of their past 8 games heading into tonight, albeit against some poor competition. Forget the last 3:41 of the game, and this was a very good, entertaining basketball game.
Player of the game: Thaddeus Young
Next up: Wednesday, @ Toronto