There might not be a team more deserving of a win.
When Tony Battie hits a 3-pointer, you know it's a good night.
After finding themselves tied with the New Jersey Nets 66-66 after three quarters last night, the Sixers completely dominated the last 12 minutes of the game, scoring 36 points in the final period to win 102-86 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Saturday night's win was a total team effort on both ends of the court. Not only did the Sixers hold the Nets to 41% shooting, they were just as exceptional on offense, dishing out 29 assists while turning the ball over only 5 times.
There were plenty of good performances, but the unquestioned star of the game was point guard Jrue Holiday, who had one of the best outings of his career. Holiday finished with 20 points, 13 assists, 4 rebounds and only 1 turnover in over 37 minutes of action.
"Our ace of spades tonight was Jrue Holiday," said Sixers' coach Doug Collins during his postgame press conference. "He's growing every day."
What also seems to be growing is the basketball IQ of the team; in addition to the lack of turnovers recently, they don't seem to be forcing as many shots as they have in the past. And with a comfortable lead at the end of the game on Saturday, the Sixers chose to treat the shot clock as an ally, working it down to the final few seconds before taking a shot.
For a team that has had problems closing out games this year, perhaps last night was a harbinger of things to come. In the 4th quarter, the Sixers shot 15 for 19 from the field, outscoring the Nets by 16 in the final frame.
Maybe it was because they were playing at home for the first time in over a week. Perhaps they just happened to be facing the right opponent on the right night. Whatever it was, this was a completely different Sixers team than the one we've seen over the past few games.
In their defense, last night's contest against the Nets marked the end of a stretch of four games in five nights -- the first three of which were away from the Wells Fargo Center. Four games in four cities in five days is difficult for any team, much less one that's still trying to figure out what lineup to put out on the floor during crunch time.
Following Tuesday night's heart-breaker against the Washington Wizards, the Sixers flew up to Toronto and came out completely flat, losing to the Raptors 106-90 in one of their more lackluster performances of the season. Two days later in Miami, they held the Heat to less than 45% from the field, but lost by nine points, 99-90.
The last few days have been especially tough on Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft this past June. In the Sixers' last three games, he's scored a total of 6 points, shooting 2-10 from the field.
The effects of constant travel can't be understated. Hopefully, a bit of home cooking will do the trick for the Sixers over the next couple of weeks. Seven of their next nine games will be at the Wells Fargo Center -- a much needed respite for a team that is 1-9 on the road this season.
Regardless of their 4-13 record so far this season, it's clear that the Sixers put forth a concerted effort more often than not. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) that effort is going to pay off in the win column.
And despite any rumors to the contrary, the man who knows them best is enjoying the ride.
"This is a proud team," said Collins. "It's a resilient team. That's why I like coaching them."