With these Philadelphia 76ers, every day is Rosh Hashanah. The Sixers' maintained their unlikely Atlantic Division lead tonight with a win at the Wells Fargo Center against the Cleveland Cavaliers--yet another of the come-from-behind variety, as the Sixers dogged their way to a 29-14 deficit at the end of the first quarter, only to outscore Cleveland by 30 in the middle two quarters, and holding on for the fourth. Final score: Sixers 94, Cavaliers 79.
Evan Turner was again the team's leading light offensively, and his consistency is starting to scare me a little, you guys. In six games this season, he's scored between 18 and 25 points every time, never shooting lower than 43% from the field. He's rebounded (a season-high ten tonight), he's distributed (five tonight, three or more in all but one), and he's turned the ball over a hell of a lot (six times tonight, now averaging 3.5 a game), but he's brought it each time out. Every time it looks like it's going to turn into the dreaded Bad Evan Turner game, he hits a couple short fadeaways or baseline J's and he's off. We'll talk more about this later, trust.
The two big takeaways from the team at large tonight were that they finally were able to string together a couple solid defensive quarters--Coach Brown largely attributed it to them finally learning to get back in transition, though I think a whole handful of no-calls on Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving also helped the Sixers' case a bit--and they shared the ball beautifully. Four Sixers finished the game with four or more assists tonight, and six scored in double figures, showing a togetherness that Coach Brown also trumpeted post-game as a big part of the team win.
Tony Wroten was also a beast, picking up the team's energy with a couple easy scores in the early second quarter, and getting the crowd hyped with his best Carlos Boozer howling at the moon impression on just about about every Sixers make in the second half. He finished with a career high 18 points--it seems like Tony sets a career high just about every night this season--on 7-14 shooting, to go with four dimes (one a beautiful open-court no-look) and just two turnovers, excellent efficiency from Wroten after being installed by Coach Brown tonight as the backup point guard.
I also want to take a second to talk about James Anderson. The Sixers' starting two guard has taken a lot of heat early this season as the one cog in the Sixers' rotation who's not really doing his part, shooting just 6-18 from three. He didn't really turn that around tonight, making just one of three from beyond, but he did a ton of other stuff, hustling down loose balls and rebounds, making the extra pass, running the break and getting out to shooters on defense. He finished with 11 points on 5-7 shooting, with five boards and two assists.
Anderson was also responsible for my favorite play of the night for the Sixers--an offensive rebound got kicked out to him beyond the arc, and rather than jack the trey with two defenders rushing at him, he passed it off to another guy at the line, who continued to kick it around the perimeter until it ended with Darius Morris in the corner, who drove the base line--and found James Anderson again, open for three in the opposite corner. Swish. That's some good shit right there. Team shit.
Also worth noting: Thad put up some numbers (16 and 8), but more importantly, had the block of the year on the Cavs' Dion Waiters:
Oh yeah, and that guy Bynum was there. He was booed early and often and had a pretty mediocre game, scoring four points and grabbing five boards in limited minutes. The second of his two buckets came on a very pretty post move that showed that if the guy can ever get his body right, he still has a lot to offer, but the whole right-body thing might just be a bridge too far for Andrew at the moment. Too sad to really feel all that righteous about.
By the way, the five best Bynum jeers I heard tonight:
5. "BYNUM, YOU CORNY!!"
4. "LET'S GO BOWLING!! *CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*"
3. "YOU SUCK, REF! YOU SUCK TOO, BYNUM!!"
2. "ANDREW!! ANDREW!! LUCKY STRIKE!! ANDREW!!"
1. "ANDREW BYNUM, A.K.A. IKE TURNER!!"
Not sure I really understand my #1, but it's always hilarious to compare dudes to Ike Turner. Trump card.
For his part, the Big Human seemed to kinda enjoy the hatorade. Jason Wolf has the pretty telling quotes:
— Jason Wolf (@JasonChadWolf) November 9, 2013
— Jason Wolf (@JasonChadWolf) November 9, 2013
Aw man, Drew, I really would have enjoyed rooting for you. You've got the touch.
Anyway, the now 4-2 Sixers face this Cavaliers team again tomorrow night, this time in Cleveland. Let's hope Evan brings his lucky headband / yarmulke. It looks surprisingly good on him, I'd say.