In the preview, I mentioned three things to watch for, like I try to do for every game. Here, I’ll review the game, with the 3 Things to Watch For in mind. This should become at least a semi-regular feature.
Kyrie Irving finished with just 12 points on 13 shots, 7 assists, and 5 turnovers. The last number is key – the Sixers forced the Cavs into making many mistakes, resulting in open court opportunities (and fast break points). Only 1 of Kyrie’s 12 points came in the second half – the Sixers did a good job funneling any rim attacks into the middle where Spencer Hawes or Elton Brand was waiting to contest shots. Jrue Holiday deserves some props here as well for starting the “funnel” of his man to the middle of the floor.
2. Antawn Jamison, on both ends of the floor
Antawn Jamison didn’t do much, and the Sixers failed to capitalize too much on the other end with the one-on-one matchups. Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young both had below average offensive games. But the Sixers capitalized on the overall lack of size that the Cavaliers had with 52 points in the paint. They also somehow had 5 free throws – I imagine that if they get into the paint as often as they did tonight, the free throw number would grow. Pretty much every point that didn’t come from a Jodie Meeks three (more on this in a bit) came in the paint.
Okay, that was an exaggeration, but the point stands.
3. Getting back in rhythm
The Sixers won by 18, the game didn’t get to closer than 11 in the fourth quarter, and we pulled away enough in the end to get Craig Brackins in the game. We beat another bad team by a large margin. And we need to keep doing it to maintain our division lead.
And one more thing… Jodie Meeks
I didn’t mention Jodie Meeks in the preview because I didn’t feel it was warranted. I didn’t expect him to have a big game, but him getting some stats was certainly not out of the question. We had a need for scoring, and he provided it. Scoring 31 points in an NBA game is a difficult thing to do. Whether his shot comes around in the end of not is still a valid question – shooting corner threes won’t be the way to maintain this, considering his percentage so far – but it was nice to see a hard working player who everybody on the team likes have a great night. And it carried us to an easy win over what would have been a tougher game. Good for him.
Does this mean he should be inserted into the lineup full time? Probably not. But maybe his minutes shouldn’t decrease, as I thought they should going into today (assuming Andre Iguodala returns soon).