On Monday night in Charlotte, the 76ers had played a full half of basketball plus another two-plus minutes into the third quarter before it happened. While handling the ball along the right side of the offensive end of the court, point guard Jrue Holliday was stripped by Bobcat guard Reggie Williams. Charlotte then quickly raced down the court and forward Corey Maggette converted a reverse layup. It was the first time the Bobcats had converted a Sixers turnover into points. And it came on the Sixers’ second turnover of the game.
When you really think about it, it is quite amazing. There were no forced passes, no dribbling off a foot, not a single offensive foul or any other type of giveaway that gave Charlotte instant points. If this was just one example, it certainly would be less impressive. But it has become commonplace for this team to treasure the basketball as if their very life depended on it.
The Sixers lead the league in fewest giveaways at 10.4 a game. They are almost three turnovers fewer han the next team and could become the lowest turnover team since the stat began being kept. The 2005-06 Detroit Pistons currently hold that distinction when they averaged 11.4 turnovers a game.
“It’s something that we emphasize,” said coach Doug Collins. “We just know that we have to value that ball. When we turn that ball over teams are going to run out on us. We went up 10 (Monday), they scored, then we turned the ball over and gave them a three-point play and all of the sudden it’s a five-point game. Those turnovers are deadly, especially in the open court. That’s something that we talk about over and over again. Jrue has been great with that. Lou (Williams) has been great with that and Andre (Iguodala) had nine assists. The guys do a good job.