The Sixers opened the second half with a 21-3 run to cruise past the New York Knicks in the preseason finale at the Wells Fargo Center 118-91. The team was without head coach Doug Collins for the second consecutive game with symptoms related to a concussion he suffered on Memorial Day. Assistant Coach Michael Curry filled on for Collins.
The Sixers, fueled by the sharpshooting of Jason Kapono opened up a six-point halftime lead and led by as many as 33 points as they beat the New York Knicks 118-91 in the team’s preseason finale. The regular season begins next Wednesday at home against the Miami Heat.
Kapono looked comfortable with his stroke, as he was able to pick his spots on the floor. This a welcome sight for the Sixers staff and their fans as Kapono struggled last season to find his shot as well as his role on the team. Kapono’s confidence this preseason has been undeniable, thanks in large part to a vote of confidence from Collins in training camp. Kapono is more than willing to step up to the challenge. ”Coach Collins has given me a green light to shoot,” said Kapono, who was 8-for-13 and 4-for-7 from 3-point territory. “It’s a good feeling to keep shooting, even if I get off to a slow start.”
Andre Iguodala also finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds, Elton Brand continues to round back into form with 16 points and 11 boards. Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young provided an additional boost off of the bench with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Tony Battie provided a physical presence in the middle with three blocks to go with four points and nine rebounds.
The brightest spot this preseason has been the steady development of second year point guard Jrue Holiday. Holiday finished with 10 points and 11 assists with only 3 turnovers in 28 minutes of action.
Rookie Evan Turner, who has seen his struggles this preseason was scoreless with four rebounds, four assists and three turnovers. To Turner’s credit this may the first time in his career where he’s playing without the ball in his hands, so some nights it may be tough to watch the Ohio State standout as there will be growing pains.
The Knicks sat the bulk of their starters, including newly acquired Amare Stoudemire. Raymond Felton was also picked up by the Knicks this summer and led the team in scoring with 16 points. Word out of New York has talks with the Denver Nuggets heating up in their attempt to acquire forward Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks are reportedly looking for a third team to enter the deal.
Collins’ presence was felt in his absence, “We miss him, and we’ve made that clear to him.” Curry said “It was all scripted by him.”