The Sixers lost for the ninth time in 10 games. They were beaten by a Boston Celtics team that has not faltered since they lost All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to a knee injury for the rest of the season, but has prospered. Tuesday’s 109-101 win over the Sixers was the 12th in 16 games for the Celtics without Rondo.
The Sixers got some decent performances, with 7 players hitting double figures, including Thaddeus Young (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (18 points, 10 assists) each collecting double-doubles.
But the talk of the team (if there really is much for a club pretty much out of the playoff picture and sitting at 23-36) is the play of rookie Arnett Moultrie, who hit all 5 of his shots against Boston and grabbed 4 rebounds in just under 20 minutes of play. In a season that has been at times dismal and derailed from Day One with the Andrew Bynum situation, looking for a bright spot for the future has become the primary focus. And Moultrie has provided a glimmer of light. In his past five games he has made 13 of 14 shots, been active around the basket and come up with those 50-50 balls that usually seem to end up in the opponents’ hands.
“I thought Arnett, once again, played a really good game for us,” said Doug Collins. “It’s encouraging to see him growing, which is a great sign. I hope he can keep building on that. I’m very pleased with Arnett, what he’s doing.
“A lot (of the season for Moultrie) he’s been frustrated, which you hope he would be. The thing that I’ve said all along is that he really got set back (sprained ankle just before draft). He probably would be playing like this right now for us had he had the summer, had he not gotten hurt, had he had summer league, had he come to camp and been in really good shape and been able to play. We’re hoping these last 24, 25 games that he’s really going to continue on this.”
Though no one in the organization will admit it, it just about has become evaluation time as to which way this team will move in the future. Watching Moultrie’s progress is high on the list of priorities.
“I have a lot to adjust to, but I’m just dealing with it,” said Moultrie. “I think (the biggest obstacle) was worrying about my ankle and getting in tip-top shape. I feel a lot more comfortable. My confidence is as high as it’s been all year and I’m looking forward to just keep doing what I’ve been doing, be more productive, playing with a lot more energy.”
He’ll have his chance over these final 23 games.