Five technicals, a phantom flagrant foul call and an ejection later the Sixers picked up a much-needed win against a feisty Clippers team in Los Angeles. Despite their normally-prolific bench and best player having sub-par games the Sixers were able frustrate Blake Griffin and the Clippers behind terrific team defense and outstanding all-around games from Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks and Elton Brand.
The human highlight reel, Griffin, was doubled early and often by the Sixers and had some trouble with the physical one-on-one defense of Elton Brand. With frustration mounting Griffin appeared to be fouled hard by Tony Battie late in the first half, prompting an angry retaliation from Griffin, a technical called on both teams, and a flagrant one called on Tony Battie. However; the replay clearly shows that both Griffin's reaction, and the flagrant call were unwarranted.
Griffin flopped and bitched the entire night en route to a disappointing 14 points, 8 rebounds and 6 fouls. Both Elton Brand and the Sixers' team defense/gameplan deserve tremendous credit for stifling the one Clipper who had the potential to beat them single-handedly.
Individual observations after the jump.
- Except for a few defensive lapses during the opening minutes Jrue Holiday played a fantastic game. The 20 year-old point guard was the best player on the floor for most of the night, setting up teammates beautifully for his game-high nine assists, slithering his way to the hoop, and hitting back-to-back daggers late in the fourth – followed by the timeless 'raise the roof' gesture. So under control, so good.
- The bench was bad tonight, and were held to 22 points on 25 shots. Lou and Thad both took a handful of ill-advised shots, and Evan Turner played only 11 minutes, failing to record a single point, rebound or assist.
- With the Knicks idle and Hawks losing to the Nuggets the Sixers moved into a tie (technically percentage points behind) the Knicks for the sixth seed, and within four of the Hawks for the fifth seed. The Knicks host the Grizzlies tomorrow, and the Hawks host the Heat Friday.
- Jodie Meeks played one of his best games of the season, scoring a game-high 22 points on 12 shots and five made threes. The threes are expected as long as he's getting open looks, but Jodie suprisingly mixed in some uncharacteristic finishes around the basket, and 3+ assists for only the ninth time this season.
- Andre Iguodala seemed sluggish, either from the soreness in his knee, the grueling schedule, or both. Either way, it's nice to pull out a road win without the best performance of your team's best player.
- Elton Brand got it done on both ends tonight. His aforementioned defense on Griffin was great, along with his season-high five blocks. On offense he splashed home jumpers like he has all season, on his way to 19 points on 12 shots, to go along with his 12 rebounds.
Player of the Game: Jrue Holiday
Next up: @ Kings on Friday