Doug Collins: Sixers Bench Can “Change Game”
Or the series.
At least that's what happened in the Sixers' gotta-get Game 4 at Wells Fargo Friday to knot the Eastern Conference Semis at two games apiece: The Sixers subs got the team started, and gave their playoff hopes a respirator.
Elsewhere around the league, that might be the perfect spot for a "Go figure." But for the Sixers? Lou Williams 15 points and Thad Young's 12, the healthiest hunk of the bench that outscored the Celitcs subs 44-12, were standard operating procedure.
Needless to say -- though Doug Collins did, after the team's Monday shoot-around -- that's pivotal.
Said Doug Collins: "Our bench brings a different dimension. We come in, we have some speed when you come in with Thad, you have Lou, now Lavoy's stepped in and doing what he's doing for us. Jodie (Meeks) gives you an element of speed now. So you can change the game. That's what I've always felt about a bench: I like a bench that's got a lot of energy, because they can change the game."
Or, again, the series.
Granted, it helps when Andre Iguodala basks in the clutch -- he scored 8 of his tied-for-team-high 16 points in the last 3 minutes, 11 seconds of an eventual 92-83 tally, which fourth-grade math tells you proved pretty meaningful -- and Evan Turner, who also scored 16, seems to step into his bona fide up-and-comer role that, at this point, has to be a bare minimum expectation. But, at least according to the team, Williams team-high 8 assists turned out to be as productive and problematic.
Said Andre Iguodala: "When his assists are that high, he can have zero points and I think that's more effective than him scoring. Not only is he a threat, but he's making other guys on the team threats. (We're) a lot harder to guard when his assists are high. When he's playing like that, we're a really good team."
Said Doug Collins: "When Lou's doing that, he makes us a whole different team. In the two games he's won, he's been huge plus-minus. And we've talked about that with Lou. When he plays well, he makes us a different team."
And the numbers back it up. Look all you want for a closer correlation for Sixer success this series. It won't get tighter than Williams plus-45 in the team's two wins (plus-17 in Game 2, plus-28 in Game 4), and minus-19 in their losses. (He went minus-7 in Game 1, minus-12 in Game 3.) Not to understate the importance of Young or Lavoy Allen, who Collins said he'd use in lockstep with Kevin Garnett, inserting and plucking Allen as Doc Rivers does KG, but that's about as stark as it gets.
Good play by Williams to opt out of his contract at year's end, huh?