In the future, it's not advisable for teams facing the 76ers to point to the Sixers' bench as a weak spot, because the bench will take it personally.
Case in point: Monday's 96-86 win over the Indiana Pacers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Word got to Sixers reserve guard Lou Williams - the methodology Williams did not reveal - that the Pacers viewed the group that calls itself "the field-goal unit" as the Sixers' weak link.
Bad move. Williams, who finished with 13 points; Nikola Vucevic (11 points, eight rebounds); Thaddeus Young (12 points, eight boards, and four drawn charges); and Evan Turner (five points and five rebounds) proved to be the difference Monday night. They are the main reason the Sixers have won five consecutive games and are off to their best start since they opened the 2001-01 season by winning 10 straight.
"Their game plan was to dominate our second group," Williams explained. "We kind of took offense to that, so I think we kind of came out a little juiced up more so than in other games, and we were able to sustain leads and kind of create some separation in the second quarter."
With the exception of Andre Iguodala, who Sixers coach Doug Collins said played his best game of the year in finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, the Sixers starters struggled against a very good defensive team.
It took an impressive run in the third quarter by the Sixers, who host Sacramento Tuesday and then play at New York on Wednesday, to put some real separation between them and the Pacers, who were without leading scorer Danny Granger (food poisoning).
Leading by 54-51, the Sixers outscored the Pacers, 15-3, over the next four minutes to extend their lead to 15 points with 4 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the quarter, which ended with the Sixers up by 73-64.
That was the their largest lead of the night, and it was enough of a buffer for them to hold on for the win.
The Pacers cut their deficit to 90-84 with about two minutes to play, but they didn't get another field goal until Dahntay Jones' dunk in the final 15 seconds.
"It was another outstanding defensive performance from our guys, and once again we got a really nice performance out of our bench guys," Collins said. "We got some great efforts out of our bench. Thad and Lou were terrific. Nik played great. He fits right in with those guys out there and they love playing with him."
Five Pacers finished in double-figure scoring, led by center Roy Hibbert with 19 points. David West added 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the bigger Pacers.
But the Pacers were unable to capitalize on their size advantage. The Sixers, who have struggled rebounding the ball at times, outrebounded the visitors, 48-43.
Indiana had entered the game ranked third in the league in opponents' field-goal percentage. However, the Sixers made 50 percent of their shots (38 of 76). Meanwhile, the Pacers made just 37 percent of their shots from the field.
"We like doing what we do with our defense," Young said. "It's fun. It's the system that Coach teaches, and we enjoy going out and doing it. It feels good when you are told how to do something over and over again and then you go out and perform. That's what we did tonight."
Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at email@example.com or @deepsixer3 on Twitter.