Last night looked like a trap game for the Sixers.
They were playing on back-to-back nights, the Wells Fargo Center was empty again and a showdown tonight with the Knicks loomed.
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The Sixers blew the doors off the Kings, 112-85, improving their division-leading record to 7-2. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the fans were chanting for seldom-used Temple rookie Lavoy Allen.
“You’re always concerned when you have a ton of home games, about there being a drop off in your play,” coach Doug Collins said. “Sometimes you get home and you get a little comfortable. I thought our guys were incredibly professional.”
And dominant. The Sixers have won six straight games, the team’s longest winning streak since a seven-game burst in January 2009. But it’s not just the simple victories that have them brimming with confidence. It’s the blowout fashion in which they're getting it done.
The Sixers have won five games by at least 20 points and have the NBA’s best point-differential.
Elton Brand recorded his first double-double of the season, leading the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks — two of which came at the expense of DeMarcus Cousins.
“That’s the EB [Elton Brand] we had last year, and we’re going to need him,” Collins said.
Now, Collins’ bunch travels to New York City’s Madison Square Garden to put their winning streak on the line against a Knicks team that was supposed to challenge for the Atlantic Division title.
What went right
1. Backup plan.
Spencer Hawes’ back injury isn't going away. Nikola Vucevic, the Sixers’ first-round pick this season, is going to be relied upon as a rebounder and post defender plenty. He had four pints and five rebounds in 19 minutes last night.
2. Not the Jimmer Show.
College legend Jimmer Fredette has a long way to go at the NBA level. He’s a poor ball-handler for his size, isn’t a playmaker, gets picked on defensively and can’t finish around the rim. He finished with seven points despite starting in place of Marcus Thornton.
3. Board games.
Evan Turner’s jumper may only be marginally improved, but his rebounding and ball-handling from the two-guard spot are special. After racking up 10 boards last night, he’s now averaging 6.2 rebounds per game.