The Sixers beat the Hornets 77-62 Wednesday night in a game that went precisely how you'd expect two of the slower-paced teams in the league to go, especially considering each was without multiple of its big-name players.
With a game this low-scoring, the first question ought to be: "Were the defenses good, or were the offenses bad?" In this case, it was a little bit of the first and a lot of the second. Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner tied to lead all scorers with 14 points apiece (yes, 14), while Al-Farouq Aminu was the only Hornet to score in double digits, pairing his game-high 16 rebounds with 10 points.
For the Sixers' part, the primary problem on offense wasn't the lack of a focal point--Holiday delivered a mixed but encouraging performance, assisting on five of the Sixers' first seven field goals and showing, in general, a judicious approach to ball distribution while doubling as the team's primary scoring option. Holiday asserted himself on offense, with 12 assists, but at the cost of seven turnovers. The problem was finishing--on both sides--as the Sixers shot 35-for-84 (41.7 percent) from the floor, with an anemic 4-for-22 (18.2 percent) from three-point range.
Though the early stages of the game might as well have been played between middle schoolers...in NASA EVA suits...on a floor covered in a six-inch-thick layer of treacle...the Sixers overcame a bevy of first-half turnovers to remain in the game, down only one point at the half, 37-36.
In the third quarter, the Sixers managed to pull away with a 10-0 run to start the period, scoring 21 total points to the Hornets' 10. It was at this point that the Hornets' offense went well and truly to pot. They went into the half leading, as I've said--and while this vintage of the Sixers is hardly the Showtime Lakers, holding any team to 36 points in a half is quite a feat.
However, once the Sixers started to find their rhythm in the third quarter, the Hornets could not keep up, thanks in part to their own offensive profligacy (23-for-69 from the field; 33.3 percent), but also to a relentless and thoroughly effective defensive effort from the Sixers, who, at their best, resemble nothing so much as the Larry Brown Sixers on ketamine.
Among the positives from tonight's game, apart from a very good team defensive effort:
- Lavoy Allen shot 6-for-10 from the field in 27 minutes and posted a game-high +20.
- Evan Turner looked, perhaps for the first time all season, like a good player, going for 14 points and eight rebounds on 7-for-15 shooting.
- The Hornets managed only 18 assists and 23 made field goals against 20 turnovers.
The truth is, between the matchup (the Hornets are one of few teams that plays for as few possessions as the Sixers do), the confluence of injuries and what was frankly just a bad shooting night for all parties, this stands to be one of the less entertaining Sixers games we can expect this season.
But with that said, the Sixers may be the most conservative team in the league (and that's not just because of Spencer Hawes' personal politics), so rather than an outlier, maybe we should prepare ourselves for more of the same going forward. After all, even ugly wins are wins.
|FINAL - 11.7.2012
|New Orleans Hornets
The Celtics are next up, in Boston, at 7:00 EDT on Friday.