Even though 76ers coach Doug Collins had to play some guys extended minutes against the Celtics on Friday, the Toronto Raptors, tonight’s opponent, is the perfect foe for the Sixers to be facing under the circumstances.
The Sixers have won four of their last five meetings with the Raptors, and they have won two straight at Air Canada Centre.
Sixers coach Doug Collins was a little bit miffed that he had to play Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young all 41 minutes or more to get the 106-100 win over the Celtics, which is understandable.
However, Holiday summed it up best in the winner’s locker room after the game when asked about his extended minutes.
“Hey, I’m young. Is that how much I played?” said Holiday, who finished with 21 points, 14 assists and seven turnovers. “I’ll be ok, for sure. We’re all good. The most important thing is that we got the win, right?”
The good news for Holiday and his mates is that Toronto will likely be without Philly native Kyle Lowry. Lowry, averaging a career-best 18.3 points per game in his first season with the Raptors, typically has scorched the Sixers. In his last six games against the Sixers, Lowry averaged 18.0 points and shot better than 61 percent from the field. The 36 he scored against the Sixers on Feb. 16, 2011 as a member of the Houston Rockets is his career best.
TURNER SHOWING SOME SWAG
Collins has been saying that the one thing he wants to see most out of Evan Turner is for the him to start feeling comfortable and relaxed, and Turner looked as if he has taken Collins words to heart in the last two games.
He might have been the best player on the floor in the Sixers’ win over Boston, finishing with 25 points and grabbing 11 boards.
But what I really liked about Turner was the confidence he exuded in the locker room following the victory.
“We’re just building and progressing. Last year we took them to a Game 7. Our organization has put the right unit around us to keep helping us to progress, but other than that we’re not intimidated – we want more,” Turner said. “We’re not walking out on the court and saying, ‘Oh, my God, this is Paul Pierce.’ Or ‘oh, my God, this is Carmelo or LeBron.' We expect to win.”
Give him credit for speaking his mind. That’s the way any professional athlete who aspires to be better should be talking.
Kudos to Evan.
WITH BYNUM OUT THERE, THE SIXERS WOULD HAVE BLASTED AGING CELTS
Friday’s game was one of those games where you close your eyes and wonder, ‘what if?’ as in what if Andrew Bynum were out there.
I’ll tell you what would have happened.
The way the Sixers played, had the big guy been out there the Sixers would be heading into the Toronto game having wiped the floor with the Celtics. The rebounding battle would have been lopsided, if not non-existent, and all those open looks against the Celtics would have been even more wide open.
Hopefully there’ll be some encouraging news coming from the team regarding Bynum and his knees in the near future. While some like to say this is about a curse, it could be that the Sixers are just being hyper vigilant in making sure Bynum is fine.
Of course, only time will tell.