If you had known before the game that DeMarcus Cousins would put up 33 points and 14 rebounds against the Sixers, you probably would have assumed they lost to the Sacramento Kings.
In this case, though, the numbers do lie, as the Sixers pulled out a 113-104 victory on the road, notching their third straight road victory out West.
For the good guys, Thaddeus Young turned in another great game in a long line of stellar performances. He has made it harder and harder for Sixers management to trade him with his play as of late, and it has to be reaching the point where moving him is reconsidered. Notching 28 points and seven rebounds, along with a career-high six steals, Young did a little bit of everything for the Sixers tonight.
Among the more surprising stories of the night, Daniel Orton was asked to play significant minutes for the first time in weeks, and his effort was a major part in keeping the Sixers afloat with Spencer Hawes in foul trouble. Orton was the big body the Sixers needed to do battle with Cousins, and he ran the floor well all night. Plus he had a MONSTER block in the fourth-quarter that sure made me jump out of my seat.
Michael Carter-Williams had a tough night, and was relegated to the bench late in the fourth after a couple defensive lapses. It was probably the right call from Brett Brown – Tony Wroten was great off the bench, and Carter-Williams forced the action just a bit too much when he was in the game. He’s still a rookie and he will have these learning curves. Brett Brown is a player development guru, so I wouldn’t worry too much here.
It’ll be interesting to watch this team over the next few weeks, with MCW finally back in the fold and the team clearly surging. It’s starting to look like the Sixers are too good to truly tank, much like some thought during their initial hot streak, so Sam Hinkie’s assumed trade plans would appear to be urgent if the franchise wants to stay on that course.
In lieu of pressuring the team to blow it up for the sake of doing so, let’s just enjoy the Sixers being fun again. The last month or so has been a brutal stretch of basketball, so a little positivity to start the new year is greatly appreciated.
Next up for the 76ers is a rematch with the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday as they look for go for four (!!!!!) in a row. The Blazers continue to rain threes on opponents, so the Sixers perimiter defense will be key in keeping the hot streak going.