Thad Young continues to be a spark-plug off the bench.
If you look deep into the box score, the Sixers' 117-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night is more impressive than it appears on the surface.
It's not often that a team that allows its opponent to shoot 50% from the field wins by 20 points, but that's exactly what happened last night. But despite their defensive shortcomings, the Sixers played their most complete effort of the season.
The Sixers jumped on the Cavaliers early, scoring 35 in the first quarter, leading to a 66-54 halftime lead. The 66 first-half points is the most they've had after two quarters all year.
To borrow a phrase from Sixers' coach Doug Collins, the "ace of spades award" for the first half - and for the game - goes to Thaddeus Young, who scored 17 of his game-high 26 points before intermission. He also chipped in 11 rebounds, showing flashes of the potential he's displayed in his 3-plus seasons in a Sixers' uniform.
"I've been waiting to get back to my old self," said Young, following his performance on Tuesday. "I'm just having a great time, having fun out there."
Young and Lou Williams, who scored 13 of his 19 points in the 4th quarter, combined for 45 of the Sixers' 50 bench points. Seven of the nine Sixers who saw action last night finished in double figures - the team's total of 117 points is the most that they've scored all season.
Undersized by most accounts, the Sixers completely dominated the glass against the Cavs, outrebounding them 44-29. What makes that even more remarkable is that only one player over 6-9 - Spencer Hawes - saw any action for the Sixers last night.
Speaking of Hawes, he recorded his first double-double in a Sixers uniform with 10 points and 12 boards. Over the last three games, he's averaging 8.3 points and 9.7 rebounds.
"He's got that cocky part about him again, which made him good out of college. And I thought he lost that in Sacramento," said Collins when asked about Hawes. "I thought he got beat down a little bit, and he's getting resurrected."
Perhaps the most impressive number in the box score is the fact that the Sixers only turned over the ball 7 times against the Cavaliers. Over the past five games, they've done a phenomenal job of protecting the basketball, averaging only 9.4 turnovers per game, nearly five turnovers below the league average.
Last night's win was the team's fifth straight at the Wells Fargo Center, and gives them a 7-14 record overall. The recent success is a much-needed confidence boost for a team that closes out December with a brutal stretch of games.
In the next two weeks, the Sixers will be faced with the challenge of facing the NBA's elite nearly every time they step onto the court. Games versus the Lakers, Hornets, Magic, Bulls and two matchups with the Boston Celtics are all on the docket before Christmas.
"We looked at our schedule, we know what's on the back side of this," said Collins. "That's why every win right now is precious for us."