The Philadelphia 76ers improved to 22-15 on Friday night when they defeated the Golden State Warriors using the same recipe they've used to beat inferior opponents all season – play good defense, ride The Night Shift, and essentially end the game in the third quarter.
Golden State is a pretty bad team, and they were without their best player tonight, as Stephen Curry sat out with an ankle/foot problem (surprise!), but at this point in the season, the Sixers are beyond, "Oh wait, that win doesn't count" or "That win wasn't impressive enough."
The Sixers have proven they can beat good teams (although not many) and that their defense is absolutely, 100 percent, legitimately good. Regardless of who they were playing, or who suited up for the opposing team, Friday's game was a game the Sixers needed to win – and win they did, while fittingly surpassing 100 points for the first time in over a month – on 'Wilt Chamberlain Night', nonetheless – earning every fan in attendance a free Big Mac from MeekDonalds.
Weathering the storm until Hawes returns and hopefully making a move on the Pacers for the third seed should be the goal for the remainder of the season, and beating bad teams is essential to ultimately completing that goal.
Unfortunately, the next game won't be against a bad team. Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls come to town on Sunday, and although the Sixers smashed them last time, it's hard to imagine lightning will strike twice. Like Friday's game, Sunday's game will be televised on ESPN.
A few observations after the jump.
- I've been stating my case since the beginning of time that Louis Williams and Monta Ellis are equally productive scorers, which is more of an inditement on Monta than it is praise for Lou. I won't bore you with the advanced stats or logic – just know that tonight helped my case. Lou scored 25 on 15 shots; Monta scored 20 on 22 shots. Yes, I know Monta was doubled most of the night and Lou padded his stats in garbage time, but Lou was the more efficient scorer, as he is most of the time.
- Andre Iguodala had 12 points, 11 rebounds (all defensive) and six dimes. Ho hum game for the All-Star.
- Thaddeus Young carried the Sixers for much of the first half, scoring via his usual ways of hustle-ness and crafty-ness, but also added a few silky jump shots.
- ESPN's announcers were painful to listen to. First there was this play, where Iguodala was clearly hacked (no foul called) and Mark Jones said upon seeing replay "he got all ball". Then the continued to call the Sixers one of the worst offensive teams in the league, which is completely false. Mark Jones said the Sixers' bench needed a nickname, while most know they're "The Night Shift" by now – although I'll give the national media a pass on this one, cause no one cares about the Sixers – and Chris Mullin called out Evan Turner for his preparation and conditioning multiple times, which seemed like totally baseless claims. I long for Zumoff and Rose.
- None of the Sixers besides Lou and Thad had notable games, plays or numbers. Turner had a few nice rebounds and passes, as usual ... Elton Brand had 14 boards (9 offensive), 2 blocks and 2 steals – numbers which he rarely puts up these days ... and Lavoy had 10 points, 7 boards in 20 minutes – all on jumpers.
- All in all, a pretty sleepy game, but I'm thrilled to walk away with the easy win. Sunday's game against the Bulls should be fun. Hopefully the Sixers can finally pull out a close one against a great team.