So the Sixers beat the Bulls on Monday night in Chicago, playing in their home jerseys with the Bulls celebrating Noche Latina month in their road jerseys. Before someone proposes that the jersey change impacted the final outcome, I’ll propose that the Sixers won due a strong defensive effort and through winning every position battle other than point guard.
While Derrick Rose had 10 turnovers to only 5 assists, I’d say that he did outplay Jrue Holiday by a good margin – Rose was really the only source of offense from Chicago, and the Sixers keyed their entire defense on him in the second half.
Everywhere else, though? Look at the carnage:
Jodie Meeks, by recent standards, had a bad game. 2-7 from three, 3-10 overall, with not much more. However, Lou did play there also for 19 minutes, and while not accurate from the field contributed 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
The Bulls are taco-shell flimsy (I know I’m really stretching it now) at the 2-guard, with Ronnie Brewer, Keith Bogans, and Kyle Korver giving 13 points and not much else. I’m as shocked as anyone that Bogans plays, especially against a team without a dominant player for him to guard.
Edge, slightly, to the 76ers.
Well, Evan Turner almost didn’t exist. But Andre went for 19-7-7 very quietly, and played great defense as always.
Luol Deng, meanwhile, played 41 minutes, had just 10 points (with 9 boards), and strangely could not keep Andre in front of him. Though this was just one game, Luol Deng doesn’t resemble the all-defense team selection his team has been promoting.
Edge, pretty sizable, to the 76ers.
POWER FORWARDS AND CENTERS
Really, nowadays we consider them “bigs”. If I were to consider them separately, the edge at the “5” still goes to the Sixers in my opinion.
Hawes played about half the game after playing 43 minutes last night and fouled out in that time. However, he hit three big jumpers late. Let me repeat that: SPENCER HAWES HIT 3 HUGE JUMPERS LATE IN THE FOURTH QUARTER. Meanwhile, Brand played about 20 minutes there and played well, scoring several times over Joakim Noah. Strangely enough, he played better against Noah than Boozer, who’s defense is just appalling for a player on the league’s best defense. Mo Speights showed up, but that was it.
While Noah outproduced Hawes on the boards, he actually seemed to be off defensively. His peripherals sound good: 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals. He played 37 minutes. But he couldn’t stop Brand when he had the ball, and his help defense outside of one Meeks block, just wasn’t effective. He’s also not a good offensive option, and he showed that by shooting 3-7 from the floor and 4-8 from the foul line. Omer Asik was sort of just there, similar to Mo Speights.
And here was the x-factor: Thaddeus Young, who scored 21 points, 17 in the first half. Taj Gibson defensed well against him but couldn’t stop him. Joakim Noah tried but failed. Boozer, well, he didn’t try (but when does he?). Booz had 15 points but gave up countless others at the other end, and despite being the second-leading scorer his defense limited his overall impact on the game. Here, the Sixers players made a huge difference.
Edge, for the bigs, goes to the Sixers.
With all these edges, plus winning the shooting percentage, 3-point percentage, free throw percentage, rebounds, assists, steals, and turnovers battles, the Sixers had no choice but to win. While Rose has the MVP almost wrapped up (whether he should or not is another story) I believe tonight showed his “team” has work to do.
The Sixers meanwhile, well, they can beat Chicago on the road but not Sacramento at home. Uh, whatever. Last night was fun. Let’s just forget Sacto happened.