Scorching Hot Sixers Defeat Suns, Sweep Season Series

Written By Roy Burton On Monday, January 24, 2011
Monday night's Sixers-Suns game was delayed at the start by about 10 minutes due to a problem with one of the baskets used during pregame warmups.

Knowing what they know now, Phoenix probably would have chosen to postpone the game altogether.

Unlike the Suns, Elton Brand had no problem with the basket at all, scoring 22 points and grabbing 9 rebounds - powering the Sixers to a 105-95 victory over the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center, sweeping the season series.

The Suns entered the night ranked 3rd in the NBA in scoring at 106 points per game. But their problem on Monday was on the defensive end - in two games, they've allowed the Sixers to score 228 points.

The last time these two teams met, the 76ers set a season-high in points in their 123-110 victory on December 29. In that game, Evan Turner scored a career-high 23 points, and looked as solid as he has all season.

Early on, it looked as if the Sixers would easily match their total from that previous game. Tailoring his lineup to the Suns' run-and-gun style, Sixers' coach Doug Collins worked 10 players into the game in the first quarter in order to keep his starters fresh.

And while their opponents may have been called the Suns, the Sixers were the ones that were scorching hot to start the game. Philadelphia shot an impressive 60 percent from the field in the first half (27-for-45), en route to a 61-47 halftime lead.

The charge was powered by the Sixers' bench, who combined for 38 of the team's 61 first-half points. Thaddeus Young led all scorers with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the first two quarters.

Unconventionally, Collins rode the hot hand and started Young in the 3rd quarter in place of Spencer Hawes, who went scoreless in 5 minutes of action. Young responded accordingly, finishing the game with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

In all, the Sixers' reserves scored 58 points, with Young, Turner and Lou Williams combining for 52 points on 22-for-36 shooting. Other than Brand, the Sixers' starters only totaled 25 points.

"We're a team that's always going to look to be a team," said Young in reference to the strong showing from the Sixers' bench. "We're going to look to pass the ball, we're going to look to go out there and help each other out and I think we did a great job of that tonight."

Jared Dudley led the Suns with 23 points off of the bench. Steve Nash added 17 points and 9 assists, but was harassed all night by Jrue Holiday, who tallied a career-high 6 steals.

There's something about the Phoenix Suns that brings out the best in Evan Turner - on Monday, he filled the box score with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. He's clearly starting to become more comfortable in the league, and his coach is noticing that.

"He played well out there," said Collins following the game. "Evan's personality is starting to come out."

Over the past five games, Turner is slowly earning more time in Sixers' rotation. If he continues to play as he has been, it will only be a matter of time before he finds himself back at the starting two-guard spot.

The Sixers are now 14-7 at the Wells Fargo Center this season, which is two more home wins then they earned all of last year. At 19-25 overall, they currently sit at 7th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Don't mention that fact around Collins, however. Despite the recent run of success, he's taking this season one game at a time.

"We're going to just play and see what happens," said Collins, dismissing the Sixers current positioning in the Eastern Conference. "Play Toronto [on Wednesday] and add [the wins] up at the end."


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