The Sixers' hot start to the season had been met with a lot of "yeah, buts."
they lead the Atlantic Division, but they hadn't beaten anyone good.
Yeah, they have a historically impressive point differential, but they
don't have a superstar. Yeah they're fun to watch, but they can't win a
At least a few of those "buts" were answered Wednesday
night as the Sixers easily pasted the Bulls in South Philly, 98-82.
Chicago came into the game with the NBA's second-best record at 18-5.
was waiting for us, 'OK, let's wait for the big boys to get to town.
When these guys come in, we'll see.' I think our guys take that to
heart," said coach Doug Collins.
In perhaps the most telling sign
that the times are changing, the much-maligned Andre Iguodala was
greeted with a standing ovation from the fans on his way out of the game
in the second half. It was well-deserved.
During a pivotal
third-quarter sequence, Iguodala threw down a side-windmill scoop dunk,
made a pull-up 3-pointer and then went around the back to himself before
dishing to Jrue Holiday for an open jumper. The lead went from five to
12 and the Bulls never threatened again. Iguodala finished with 19
points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.
"Andre Iguodala was spectacular tonight, that third quarter that he played for us was brilliant," Collins said.
Sixers have now beaten the Bulls three straight times. They also
coasted past the Magic on Monday, setting up a showdown with the
defending conference champion Heat on Friday night.
"I don't think we've gotten the respect yet, from the outside point," Iguodala said. "We'll try to get there."
With a 16-6 record, and those "yeah, buts" quieting, that respect may already be here.
Three things we saw
Local Hero - Lavoy Allen, the rookie second-rounder out of Temple,
looks like a diamond in the rough. He's passed first-rounder Nikola
Vucevic as the first big off the bench with ease. Allen had 15 points
and six rebounds in 26 minutes Wednesday night. "It's just amazing to
see how much Lavoy Allen has grown. He has really become a force for us.
He's been terrific," Doug Collins said.
2. Beasts of the East -
The top five teams in the Eastern Conference right now are the Heat,
Bulls, Sixers, Hawks and Pacers. The Sixers have gone 3-1 against those
four. The lone loss came against the Heat, who will be at the Wells
Fargo Center Friday night.
3. MVP in check - The Sixers chose not
to use Andre Iguodala on league MVP Derrick Rose, instead letting Jrue
Holiday and Lou Williams take their shots. It worked. Rose was held to
18 points and six assists on 8-of-17 shooting. The Bulls rested most of
their starters in the fourth quarter because they play again Thursday.