Iguodala, Sixers Sting Hornets to Close Out Homestand

Written By Roy Burton On Sunday, December 12, 2010

A funny picture of Iggy to make the Hornets smile.

All sorts of records were set in Sunday's Sixers-Hornets game at the Wells Fargo Center. Unfortunately for the visiting New Orleans Hornets, they're the types of records that you don't want appearing in your team's media guide.

Defense ruled the day as the Sixers stifled the New Orleans Hornets en route to an 88-70 victory, their fifth win in their last seven games.

With an early afternoon start, it appeared that both teams came out of the gate somewhat sluggish. The Sixers got out to a 20-13 lead after the first quarter, holding New Orleans to 5-for-21 from the field after 12 minutes.

The Hornets' futility carried over into the second quarter, a period in which they didn't make a basket until there was 5:07 left until halftime. That field goal would be their only one in the frame, the centerpiece of a pathetic, 1-for-21 shooting effort.

The one basket - along with the accompanying 4.5 percent field goal percentage - was an all-time franchise low for a quarter for the Hornets. In no uncertain terms, they were downright offensive on offense, looking nothing like the team that started the season 11-1.

Due in part to suffocating defense - and in part to the Hornets' apparent lack of energy - the Sixers held New Orleans to 6-for-42 shooting (14.3 percent) from the field in the first half. Over the last handful of games, it's clear that the Sixers have been dialing up the intensity on the defensive end.

"We've been playing better basketball as a unit," said Andre Iguodala after the win. "We've really been communicating better on defense I think that's the biggest part - defensively, we're getting it together and we're getting stops."

Iguodala had one of his best games of the season, filling the stat sheet with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Elton Brand added 15 points and 13 boards, while Lou Williams led all Sixers with 17 points off of the bench.

Chris Paul, who scored 25 of his team's 70 points, was the only Hornet in double figures. He also had three of his team's four assists - those four assists were one shy of the NBA record for fewest assists in a game by a team.

Kudos go out to the Sixers for not letting their foot off of the gas pedal despite a 45-23 halftime lead. New Orleans never made a serious run after the break, and the Sixers even increased the lead to 27 late in the 4th quarter.

Even oft-maligned rookie Evan Turner got in on the action, scoring 7 points, and chipping in 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 21 minutes of work. It was the best performance in more than a week for a player who's still working at making the transition to the NBA.

Sixers' coach Doug Collins specifically addressed Turner's struggles in his postgame press conference. "He's just learning how to be a pro in terms of what you have to do on a nightly basis so you're at your best," said Collins.

The performance turned in against the Hornets is especially encouraging following Thursday's heartbreaking 102-101 loss to the Boston Celtics. The Sixers had the defending Eastern Conference champions dead to rights, leading by 1 with less than four seconds remaining. Following a timeout, the resulting inbounds play found Jrue Holiday matched up against Kevin Garnett, who cut to the basket for the game-winning layup.

Sunday's game was the first of five matchups this week for the Sixers. Next up is a visit to New Jersey on Tuesday, followed by home games against the Clippers and Lakers. Following that, the team begins a brutal 8-game road trip with a contest in Orlando on Saturday.

"I told the guys we've got a heck of a week that we've gotta get started today and we did it," said Collins. "So I'm very happy about that."

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