Take out Jason Richardson (injury) and Lavoy Allen (not good) and the 76ers are playing like a different team. Mix that in with Nick Young suddenly embracing the fact that he might have to do more than just shoot the ball in order to play in the NBA and you have a suddenly successful 76ers team that beat the Wizards 92-84 last night.
Let’s not overlook the fact that the 76ers (19-26) were playing the lowly Washington Wizards (11-33), but the overall play of the team was better than it has been of late. As it always does, the team follows Jrue Holiday who led the way with 21 points, 6 assists and 4 steals.
The game was decided in the 2nd quarter when the Wizards entered with a 28-25 lead, then proceeded to go ice cold from the floor, making only 1 of their first 11 shots in the quarter. The 76ers didn’t cruise the rest of the way, but after dominating the 2nd quarter, it made the 2nd half a little easier. The team is still having 2nd half struggles and closing out games, but on a night when you’re facing a team like the Wizards, not much is needed.
With the Celtics having lost Rajon Rondo for the season, the 76ers can use their current home stand to try to make up some ground as they started last night 3 games back of Boston for the final playoff spot.
Looking up and down the stat sheet, it was a solid effort by the starters and Lavoy Allen put up 14 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. This is the type of team that the 76ers need to be in order to be successful. Spencer Hawes started, played 38 minutes and finished with 12 points, 11 boards, and 4 blocks without committing a turnover and only getting hit with one foul. That’s what you need from a starting center, which Hawes is and should be. Hawes big negative on this night was his poor shooting from the floor where he was just 4-13. That’s not going to happen often with Hawes so starting him can only continue to benefit the team.
Nick Young, according to everyone who wants him to be better than he is, supposedly has stepped up since being benched in the middle of January, but shooting 7-17 with only two free throw attempts doesn’t cut it, even if you’re scoring 18 points. Right now though, the 76ers don’t have much else and they refuse to give Dorrell Wright any type of quality minutes.
On a night when both Hawes and Allen played very well, coach Doug Collins said, “we’re only as good as our big men”. That’s little more than a coach spinning a positive on an ugly win over a horrible team, but it’s meant to boost the big men as much as it is to say that when Andrew Bynum finally suits up in a game, the 76ers are going to be a much better team.
Until that night happens we can continue to see the 76ers pull out victories over poor teams and hope that the confidence that comes with winning, helps them when they’re up against the upper echelon teams in the east as it gets closer to playoff time.
The 76ers next game is Friday 7:30 pm against the Sacramento Kings (17-30) in Philadelphia.Tags: Andrew Bynum, Jrue Holiday, Lavoy Allen, NBA, Nick Young, Philadelphia 76ers, Spencer Hawes, win