Skip to content

Jrue Holiday Has the Game of His Life, Sixers Blow Out Reeling Knicks

Jan 27, 2013, 4:15 AM EDT

http://www.the700level.com/images/989663.jpg

So apparently a lot can change over the course of an NBA season. Not
that the Sixers are a lot better then when they first faced the Knicks
in a humiliating home-and-home, losing both games by dramatic margins,
or that the Knicks are necessarily all that much worse, but suffice to
say, the third time was the charm for the 76ers, as they rode excellent
scoring nights from their top three perimeter scorers to a blowout just
as bad as those the Knicks inflicted on the Sixers not all that long
ago, winning 97-80 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final
score indicates.

Jrue Holiday proved that he is not one to coast
on his banked accomplishments, following his All-Star nomination on
Thursday with arguably his best game of the season and possibly ever,
scoring a career-high 35 (and he could’ve had more had the game not
devolved into garbage time in the 4th) on 16-25 shooting, with six
assists, five rebounds and (perhaps most impressively) just one
turnover. The real crazy thing about Holiday’s performance in this one
is that it didn’t even seem all that extraordinary—he got to the basket
easily a couple times to start off the game, and from there it was just
Jrue doing Damaj. This guy is special, for real.

Evan Turner was
a worthy second option tonight, scoring 20 on 8-14 shooting, with six
boards and three assists, keeping the team running (if not exactly
humming) during Jrue’s brief absences on the floor. The Extraterrestrial
has now scored well in three straight, hopefully all the way out of the
scoring doldrums he was mired in for the better part of a month. And
Nick Young, getting a rare start, also showed he could be a good
sidekick to Jrue, nailing a couple threes that Holiday set him up for,
and getting to the line a team-high eight times on his way to 20 points.
The frontcourt didn’t produce a ton, but they were solid defensively,
Spencer Hawes even ending with an uncharacteristic four blocks.

Ironically,
the one guy on the Knicks who really gave the Sixers trouble was the
one guy who wasn’t there for the first two blowouts—Amar’e Stoudemire,
who the Ballers have always had trouble with and who they certainly had
no answer for in the post tonight, Amar’e ending with 20 points on 8-13
shooting. Luckily, Amar’e only played about 26 minutes, and the rest of
the Knicks were a scoring disaster, with the Knicks’ other four most
prolific shooters—Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and the
recently returned Raymond Felton—combining to go an unthinkably
miserable 11-51, essentially shooting New York out of the game. Good
Sixer defense, perhaps, but likely also just an off night from a team
that appears to have lost its groove a little, losing seven of its last
12.

An interesting thing worth monitoring with these Sixers is
the steadily vanishing role of Dorell Wright. DWRIGHTWAY1 appeared to
have established hiimself as an important cog in the Sixers rotation in
late December and early January, and he won the Sixers that game in
Memphis nearly single-handedly, but after playing less than five minutes
against the Raptors and Bucks, Dorell picked up his first DNP-CD of the
season last night. Wright’s minutes appear to have mostly been funneled
to Damien Wilkins, which is pretty odd considering that it would seem
Wilkins’ best-case upside is as a poor man’s Dorell Wright, and just
about every available metric rates Wright’s contributions this year far
over Damien’s. (This would appear to be a Doug Collins’ Dawg House
alert—get out soon, Dorell.)

Big win for the Sixers, and one
which leaves them—believe it or not—just two games out of the playoffs
in the super-sad Eastern Conference, a margin likely to shrink even
smaller after the C’s get a visit from the Miami Heat tomorrow
afternoon. Whether they can build on it or not will become clearer on
Monday, when the team hosts the Memphis Grizzlies, starting to roll
again with wins in four of their last five. I predict that if Jrue
Holiday makes 16 field goals again, their chances will be decent.