The 76ers look good.
If you're not admitting that, then you're just looking for faults in this team. In the last two weeks, the Sixers only loss was at the Atlanta Hawks, a game in which they led by 17 points in the third quarter and 13 points in the fourth quarter.
The Sixers have won five consecutive games at home and four of their last five games overall. Their record, at 7-14, is still not pretty, but considering they started this season with an NBA worst record of 3-13, 7-14 seems almost pleasant.
In the first two months of the season, Doug Collins couldn't find a starting lineup and now he has a solid unit that seems to mesh quite well. Jodie Meeks has fit in perfectly with Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala and center Spencer Hawes has gone from a liability to an asset. After tonight's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Collins said 100 percent of Hawes' poor start this season was due to his pre-season injury that caused him to miss 16 days of training. Collins said Hawes is "resurrecting" his "cocky" attitude that he had when he came out of the University of Washington, an attitude that was buried after some rough patches with the Sacramento Kings.
A couple of observations from tonight's game:
*Thaddeus Young is playing ridiculously well. Collins had an awesome quote after the game about how he's instructed Young to stay inside the three-point line. Young has done that lately. He's attacking the rim and eliminating any jump shot outside of 15 feet. Tonight, Young was 11 for 12 from the field, which was mostly an array of left-handed slips to the rim, a couple of dunks, a nice right-handed finish, a little in-between jumper. Young has started to gobble up the minutes that, earlier in the season, were going to Andres Nocioni.
*Lou Williams is coming off screens much better. Maybe it's a little early to give Meeks credit for this, but there was a noticeable difference in Lou's cutting off the ball tonight. At one point he curled off of a double screen, caught while squaring himself to the rim, and didn't even pump fake. Lou just rose up and knocked down the jumper. I don't think we've ever seen Williams make that shot before -- mostly because he doesn't take it. If the Sixers are going to continue scoring at this pace, it's going to be from litte plays like this. In the past, they've counted on a player to finally break someone down before getting a decent offensive look. With the way Meeks plays, and if Williams starts complementing that, we could see 10-12 points a night off these types of plays.
*Not to rain on the Sixers' mini parade, but Evan Turner is completely non-existent. It's not just his limited minutes (and tonight, with the play of Meeks and Williams, they deserved to be somewhat limited), but it's his aggressiveness and demeanor while on the court. He looked perfectly content to jog up and down the court, make an entry pass, and then cut off to the weak side for some more standing around. Tonight, Turner played 14 minutes, 37 seconds and almost all of that time looked like it was a courtesy extended to the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, not minutes earned by Turner. Something has to give with Turner, because right now he's fading to the background without a fight.
Sixers play the Boston Celtics on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The game will be broadcast on TNT, the Sixers' first nationally broadcasted game of the season. It'll be a good opportunity to see exactly how good the Sixers are currently playing.
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