Doug Collins is leading this team in the right direction.
Not to be outdone by the recent developments at Citizens Bank Park, the Sixers provided a little excitement of their own Wednesday night, winning 105-91 over the Los Angeles Clippers, their 7th victory in their last 8 games at the Wells Fargo Center.
Jrue Holiday continued his recent stretch of strong play with 24 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds in 39 minutes of action. Andre Iguodala -- playing as well as he did prior to his Achilles' injury -- scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, shooting 7-7 from the field after intermission.
With the win, the Sixers are now 10-15, winners of their last three contests. Even more impressive, the victory was their seventh in their past nine games -- a marked improvement for a team that started the year 3-13.
Conversely, the Clippers, who are owners of the worst record in the NBA at 5-21, are still winless this year on the road (0-11).
At the start of the game, the Sixers looked every bit like a team that played the previous night, shooting under 40 percent in the first half. After intermission, however, they were an entirely different ball club -- their 34 points in the 3rd quarter were the most they've scored in any 3rd quarter all year.
Defense has been the catalyst behind the Sixers' recent success, and Wednesday night was no exception. They held the Clippers to 39.8 percent shooting for the game, only allowing 35 points after halftime. The Sixers also did a fantastic job of protecting the ball, committing only three turnovers on the night.
"I was worried at halftime that we weren't going to be able to stop them to be able to win the game," said Sixers' coach Doug Collins after the victory. "But we finally got our defense clamped down and kept them out of the paint. And that was really the difference."
As good as Holiday and Iguodala were, the best player on the court for either team was probably the Clippers' Blake Griffin. Griffin racked up a double-double in the first half, finishing the night with 20 points and 18 rebounds.
"That Blake Griffin is something else," said Collins. "That kid is a spectacular player."
Meanwhile, the Sixers' high-profile rookie Evan Turner is on the fringe of his team's rotation, still searching for his role off of the bench.
Conversely, Spencer Hawes appears more and more comfortable with each passing day. For the second straight night, he was effective on both ends of the floor -- against the Clippers, he scored 16 points, and added 12 rebounds and 5 blocks.
After the game, Collins pointed out how Hawes's confidence is growing as the season progresses.
"I hope the fans are starting to recognize, too, how good Spencer Hawes is playing," Collins said.
If it seemed as if Collins was a bit stingy with the minutes last night, that was exactly the case. Only seven Sixers saw significant action against the Clippers -- a clear sign that Collins placed a little extra emphasis on the game.
And with good reason; it only gets tougher from here on out. After a visit from Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Friday, the Sixers embark on an eight-game road trip beginning Saturday in Orlando.
For a team that's 2-10 away from the Wells Fargo Center this season, it was imperative that they took care of business these past few games before the competition gets stiffer later this month.
"I think we're going to come out here and have a lot of fun," said Holiday, looking foward to the Lakers matchup. "I mean, we love playing against teams like that, top teams like the Lakers... Definitely these three wins, you know, gave us our swag."