The Sixers got a much needed win tonight in D.C., defeating the Wizards 97-86. Jrue Holiday bounced back from a poor stretch of play to score 22 points and record 7 assists, while shooting 47%.
Thaddeus Young, who was scorching hot on Wednesday, continued his great play by scoring 18 points on 8/9 shooting, coupled with 13 rebounds and 4 steals.
The Sixers were finally able to get it together defensively, albeit against the third-worst scoring team in the NBA, by holding Washington to a mere 55 points in the final three quarters combined.
Prior to tonight, the Sixers had given up at least 29 points in six of their previous eight quarters.
In the first quarter against the Wizards, the Sixers looked primed to continue their poor defensive stretch by surrendering 31 points to John Wall and the Wizards.
In the middle of the second quarter, however, things began to improve. The Sixers ended the second quarter on a 12-4 run to pull within one point, and strung together a dominant third quarter to take a solid lead and never look back.
Important takeaways from the game:
- The Sixers officially prevent the Wizards from achieving their outspoken goal to finish as the 9 seed in the Eastern Conference: Washington now has 51 losses to the Sixers 47, clinching the fact that the 76ers will finish the season with a better record than the Wizards.
- Jrue Holiday looks back to all-star form after a tough stretch, and was able to outplay John Wall in the second half to will his team to victory
- Doug Collins did not directly address earlier reports that the Sixers would like him to step down as head coach at the conclusion of the season.
- Justin Holiday played his best game as a Sixer, earning a ton of praise from Doug Collins after the game and recording a career-high 7 points, including hitting his first NBA three-pointer
Jrue Holiday (37 minutes, 22 points, 7 assists, +12) Grade: A
Jrue finally bounced back from what was an awful, hard-to-watch stretch of basketball. He shot 47%, and willed his team to a strong second half performance. He also did a number on John Wall; after a 6-10, 15 point first half, Wall was held to 9 points on 3-11 shooting in the second half. Welcome back, Jrue.
Evan Turner (24 minutes, 0 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, -6) Grade: D-
ET shot 0-11, and did not get to the free throw line. The most troubling part about this performance was the fact that Turner made zero effort to adjust his offensive style of play. Turner started the game off with two missed shots that were absolute bricks, and got stuffed silly on a layup. A veteran player looks for an easy look or two to get himself going. Turner continued to settle for contested 2s, each one looking harder than the last. The result? 0 points on 0-11 shooting. Unacceptable from a third-year NBA player. The only reason Turner did not get an F for this performance was because he was able to make a slight impact on offense through assists. It is nice to see him able to make some sort of contribution on a night of atrocious shooting.
Damien Wilkins (30 minutes, 15 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds, +9) Grade: A-
Wilkins continues to be a surprising bright spot for the Sixers in this tumultuous season. At times, it seems as if he is the only Sixer who is willing to attack the rim relentlessly. His aggressive style of play is often one of the few things that keeps the Sixers in games, which is obviously not a sustainable formula looking forward. But we’ll take whatever we can get this season. The reason for the – is because of the three turnovers (not a big deal, but an A is an A) and the fact that sometimes, he also catches the contested jumper disease. As one of the primary “rim-attackers” on this team, it is extra devastating for Wilkins to start taking contested shots during tough offensive stretches. Despite those small smudges, Wilkins’ play continues to be one of the few pleasantries of the 2012-2013 campaign.
Thaddeus Young (34 minutes, 18 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals, +15) Grade: A+
Thad had one of his most efficient performances of the season, scoring 18 points on 8-9 shooting with only one turnover. He earned the + because not only did he have a team high +/- of +15, but he did this on the heels of a 28 point performance on Wednesday night. As a Sixers fan, you have to love where his head is at considering he had one of his worst performances of the season on Tuesday at Brooklyn. Few things are as important, especially on a team that screams inconsistency like the Sixers, than the ability to bounce back from a rough performance. Despite the Sixers struggles, few players in the NBA play the game in a way as admirable as Thaddeus Young.
Spencer Hawes (36 minutes, 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, +6) Grade: C
Despite a decent stat line, and a great offensive start to the game, Spencer continues to do certain things that cannot go on if he wants to retain his role as a starting center in the NBA. His defense in the paint is pitiful. When he is not making an impact on shot-blocking, there is an absurd amount of uncontested layups/dunks. Unacceptable. Also, Spencer Hawes took 4 threes tonight. He’s made 9 all season long. Also unacceptable. Finally, Hawes did not record a defensive rebound in the first half. Absolutely, utterly, unacceptable. You get the picture.
Arnett Moultrie (17 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, +5) Grade: B+
Moultrie put up respectable numbers for his minutes played, and also proved to be a significantly tougher defender than Spence to usurp in the paint, earning him the +. The only thing that (slightly) scares me is that he too has begun taking short two point shots. When he makes them, it’s all gravy. But on an entire team of mid-range shooters, seeing Moultrie live in the paint is more than a welcome sight. Be different, Arnett.
Dorrell Wright (25 minutes, 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, +13) Grade: A-
Dorrell Wright has really relished in his role at this point in the season. His shot has become more consistent, and he provides a much needed offensive spark for the Sixers. It is also refreshing to see him make a solid impact in +/- tonight, despite only being 2-7 from beyond the arc. Wright is never going to be a guy who carries a team but he is playing in his role perfectly, which is more than can be said for a lot of guys.
Lavoy Allen (8 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, -6) Grade: C-
I barely remember seeing Lavoy Allen in the game, and his numbers tell us why. It will be interesting to see what Lavoy’s role is like next season, because it has certainly diminished from last. Don’t be surprised to see Moultrie jump him in the rotation by midseason next year.
Justin Holiday (20 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, +13) Grade: A-
I love the way Justin Holiday played tonight. Didn’t take many shots, but did his job for his 20 minutes. He also hit his first NBA three-pointer, and scored 7 points on 3-5 shooting. Collins also specifically mentioned how important he was for them after the game. An awesome development of this woeful season would be Jrue and Justin flourishing together next season. City of brotherly love.
Nick Young (9 minutes, 0 points,1 steal, -6) Grade: F
Doug Collins plugged in Nick Young early in the game, probably in hopes that he would want to show the Wizards some of the swag they were missing out on after losing him. It did not work out that way. Swaggy P missed every shot he took, and resided on the bench for the vast majority of the game. Dorrell Wright seems to be the consistent go-to guy that has knocked Nick Young out of the rotation. The two of them most certainly will not be on the squad together next season. If only one stays, it won’t be the guy who calls himself Swaggy.
All in all, the Sixers finally grabbed a win for the first time in four tries and seemingly got their all-star point guard back to form. They also defeated a team that has defeated the likes of Miami, Oklahoma City, Denver, New York, Chicago, and a handful of other playoff teams in their building this season. We’ll take it.
Sixers next play on Sunday, in their home finale against the Cleveland Cavaliers.