By Sean Kennedy
In the battle of Sixers point guards past and present, it was the wizened 23-year-old veteran showing the rookie how it’s done, as Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans to a 121-105 victory. Holiday hounded Micahel Carter-Williams defensively into 5 turnovers and just 4-13 shooting, while orchestrating the New Orleans offense and finishing with 20 points and 13 assists against just one turnover. Holiday continued to show good chemistry with Anthony Davis in the alley-oop game and those two are going to be a formidable duo in the Western Conference sooner than later.
Unlike the contest in New Orleans, the Sixers didn’t let the Pelicans run away with things, remaining in striking distance throughout the majority of the game. However, whenever it looked like Philadelphia would make a run, their twin achilles heels of turnovers and poor perimeter rotations would run their ugly heads. Ryan Anderson burned the Sixers from the outside, sinking 4 of 9 threes, which was about as surprising as Ruben Amaro, Jr. overpaying an aging free agent. The other player who torched the Sixers was Eric Gordon, who scored a game-high 26 points. When he wasn’t hitting outside jumpers, Gordon was getting unfettered runs to the rim against an inattentive Sixers defense. With the Sixers back at full strength, it wasn’t the best effort from the hometown squad, but that’s what we signed up for this season.
- Tony Wroten returned to action after dealing with a lower back injury and our viewer lives were better for it. Wroten was one of the few bright spots for the Sixers, dropping a career-high 24 points on 9-13 shooting and producted a couple of highlight-reel plays. In the first quarter, Wroten split a pair of defenders and used just two dribbles to get from behind the three point line to the rim, opening up some sort of time vortex with the ferocity of his left-handed flush. Then, as Philadelphia was fighting to come back from a double-digit defcit in the second half, Wroten drove down the right side of the lane, fighting through a ton of contact to finish off the backboard and drew the foul. The resulting momentum took him over the photographer’s row into the first section of seats behind the basket, presumably to be crowned as king of basketball.
- Evan Turner also had an efficient game scoring the ball, ending the contest with 22 points on 9-15 shooting, including 3-3 from behind the arc. All of those triples were from the wings as opposed to the baseline corner where he usually converts from behind the arc; it’d be great if this was a sign of further progression but it was likely just a hot shooting night. Turner also pulled off one of his patented spin moves in traffic to finish on the fast break in the third quarter. When he converts those, Turner looks like one of the best scorers in the league, but he’ll usually follow up with some sort of charge into multiple defenders resulting in a block and stink-eye to the official.
- After starting a few games in place of the injured Spencer Hawes, Daniel Orton was a surprising DNP in this contest. No word in whether this was purely a coach’s decision but Orton played fairly well while those Young and Hawes were out so it would be surprising to see him dropped from the rotation altogether.
The Sixers have now lost 7 of their last 8 games and are plummeting down the the Eastern Conference standings as Sam Hinkie maniacally rubs his hands together while watching college basketball. Carter-Williams displayed his fine court vision with 10 assists but everything else about his performance was a net-negative. The electrifying performance from Wroten kept things optimistic going forward for Philadelphia. 4/5 tanks.