When point guard Jrue Holiday had to sit out Sunday night's practice due to a strained left Achilles', it threw the whole scrimmaging session out of kilter.
Evan Turner was forced to handle the ball a little bit more; some players had to slide over to another position or occupy an unfamiliar spot on the floor and the whole team just seemed to be a step behind.
Holiday returned for last night's session in Hagan Arena at Saint Joseph's and all the pieces nicely fell back into place. During a spirited 45-minute scrimmage, the team executed well on the offensive end, despite missing a lot of open shots and easy inside chances. Coach Doug Collins attributed that to sore legs, as the team was in its fifth practice in four days.
Some highlights of the scrimmage were:
*Holiday looks as pure and comfortable at the point as anyone in the league. Granted he's not playing against another starting point, but he is fluid with the ball, has a deft handle and is showing a great amount of confidence in his vastly improved jumper.
*Andre Iguodala looked terrific, probably the best player on the floor. He didn't force any jump shots, instead mostly going hard to the basket on one or two power dribbles or filling the lanes on fastbreaks. The jumpers he did take were all in the flow and in the range of 15-20 feet.
*Elton Brand got up and down the floor better than any of the big men. One one play he missed a shot down low that led to a fastbreak. Brand recovered in time to make it down the floor and block a layup attempt.
*Lou Williams was the most consistent scorer, driving hard to the basket and making some long range bombs.
*Evan Turner made a deep two-pointer from the corner, showing off a shooting form that seems to be more fluid. It also seems as if the ball is getting out of his hands faster.
*Rookie Nik Vucevic was active, but seemed to be out of position a lot of times and took some bad shots.
*Spencer Hawes hit a couple of jumpers, which then led to him trying to dribble penetrate, for some reason. Collins quickly put an end to that and told Hawes to shoot the ball.
*Temple's Lavoy Allen grabbed three rebounds in the first minute he subbed in. He is a very strong player. He just needs to be able to learn how and when to use it.
Practice continues Tuesday with a double session at St. Joe's.
More to come...