It was a royal beat down.
Hip Hop star turned Hollywood leading man turned Sixers co-owner Will “Fresh Prince” Smith along with his wife Jada and son Jaden were among the over 16,oo0 in attendance at the Wells Fargo Center.
Lou Williams came off the bench to lead the Sixers with 17 points as the home team rebounded nicely from Wednesday night’s loss to the New Jersey Nets to pound the Charlotte Bobcats 89-72.
Angered by his team’s output, Bobcats coach Paul Silas decided to watch from the visiting locker room as he was ejected in the second period with his team trailing 45-25.
(Matt Slocum/AP Photo)
The Philadelphia 76ers remain one of only two teams yet to lose back to back games this season, thanks in large part to the words and lessons of head coach Doug Collins who was featured about an hour before tip off on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption. More on those lessons later.
The Sixers intentions to get back on track defensively were deliberate – holding the Bobcats to 4 for 19 shooting from the field (21%) for 10 points in the opening period. The Sixers got going on the shooting of Jodie Meeks (14 pts.) and Jrue Holiday (15 pts.) – scoring on an array of layups, floaters and three points baskets and combining for 13 of the team’s 25 points in the quarter.
The Bobcats shot a game-best 75% in the 2nd quarter but the Sixers remained just as hot at 65% and would go into the half up by 22, 59-37. Paul Silas is the coach of a 3-16 team that’s looking find their way with a large influx of young players that really don’t have a veteran in place to navigate them through tough stretches of the season. Last night was one of those moments as Silas was ejected for some magic words accompanied by kicking the basketball.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)
The second half would see the Sixers lead by as many as 30 points and cruising to their 13th victory – a feat not attained until the 39th game of last season. The Sixers continue to have balance and production throughout the lineup – there were four players in double-figures with no one more than Williams’ 17. It was another light night for Elton Brand as he played only 21 minutes as Collins was able to go 12 deep on the bench with each player seeing at least three minutes of action.
One of those players was new acquisition Francisco Elson who was added as centers Spencer Hawes and rookie Nikola Vucevic heal from their ailments. Elson joined the team fresh off a flight from Amsterdam and realizes that despite playing overseas, the NBA is a different animal. “It’s different because NBA players are faster, you know if your playing in the Netherlands everyone is his height (points to a reporter approx. 6 ft. tall) but as far as the conditioning, I’m okay.” Fellow big, rookie LaVoy Allen had another quality game with 8 points and 7 rebounds in 28 minutes of action. Andre Iguodala (9 pts. 4 rebs. and 6 assts.) paced himself and only scored when needed. Thaddeus Young contributed 10 points and 4 boards.
The Sixers have been able to get off to a hot start, thanks to a schedule against some of the lower tier teams in the league and a nice home stand. With that combination, national press has followed, a far cry from last season’s 3-13 start. Collins is well aware of what is taking place and believes that this team will handle it just fine. “I’ve got a bunch of great guys, they know me…today, I showed a tape of 25 connecting plays, where we’re really connecting.” Collins continued, “ I said just watch the ball and when it’s moving and when everybody is cutting. I thought that we played like that tonight in the first half. So I think that any kind of visual thing that you do…sometimes, you don’t have to say too much as you show them. I just have them watch and tell me what they see. And those are little things that I try to do.” Collins experience as a former player lends credibility to everything that he gives his team. “And to let them know that I’ve been around a long time and this is fragile thing – this sports. The moment you take a deep breath, you’re gonna get in trouble, you have to keep that edge about yourself and our guys have been great about that, they really have and I’m really proud of them.”
Business picks up for the Sixers beginning Monday as they meet the Orlando Magic, followed by the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. Forward Elton Brand is up for the challenge. “I’m ready, we’re looking forward to it. We’re excited about it, but we know it’s going to be tough.”