Turner and Holiday Lead Sixers Past Bulls in Game Two
Yeah. No I know. I know exactly what you’re thinking.
That made precisely NO sense.
Not so much the 76ers 109-92 blowout rout (which I know is redundant, but rhymes, so it’s awesome) of the Bulls in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarters Tuesday. You can explain that away with the certain gimpiness of a particular You Know Who.
But that Jrue Holiday played hero? That Evan Turner played catalyst?
You heard it right there in the vidjeo, documented evidence that not only is Holiday capable of a showing that makes him worth an ever-prestigious Cheryl Miller post-game step-aside, but that a backcourt rounded out by Turner makes the Sixers categorically stronger on both ends.
Yeah. Bombshells. Big time.
We didn’t know that about Holiday, who led the way with 24 points on 10-11 shooting. No, no – that’s not a misprint. Dude actually punched a game in playoffs like the first few of Robert Griffin III’s 2011 regular season: he had as many personals (one) as he did missed shots. Bonkers.
And, better, he basically bore the burden alone. (One honorable co-contributor notwithstanding.) Poking around the box score, it’s pretty perceptible that lights-out nights like Holiday had came at a premium.
The only guy to make any noise in the frontcourt? Elton Brand, who rumbled for 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. That’s all. The lone flash off the bench? Lou Williams, who, it should be noted, took woefully long to get his 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting (1-for-5 on 3s) going. Eh. Shrug.
Still, the sum of their parts, the piece-by-piece set of the Sixers’ incremental awesomeness that we’ll always measure them by, managed to stick 59 percent of their shots from the floor – a season high. They conjured 52 points in the paint. They mustered 25 fast-break points.
Yeah. Unbelievable. Even against a team that was without the game’s top guard.
To that end, it’s not like his spells played poorly. Starter C.J. Watson struggled a bit from the floor (12 points on 4-of-11 shooting), but whatever slack he let sag was more-than-picked up by John Lucas, who propped him up with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Again: Cutting and weighing the sum of their parts, the Bulls B-Listers more than carried their weight.
They just weren’t Holiday. They just weren’t Turner.
How many times you think you’ll say that again in your lifetime?
With Turner, the saga this season has been basically about everything you didn’t know. You didn’t know whether he could bear the No. 2 overall pick burden. You didn’t know whether he could function as anything more than a tweener. (Was he a one? A two? A starter? A reserve?) You didn’t know if his head was screwed on tight enough to make whatever answers you came to stick.
The only thing we knew about Turner for realsies:
He at least gave you something from the one. And definitely didn’t from the two.
In fact, he pretty patently proved he couldn’t play the position he, basically, owned last night, when he posted 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting with three-for-three from the line. That, coupled with Holiday’s agonizing impotence at the one for the majority of the season, made for a seemingly obvious switch early on – and one that you figured worked.
It worked to the tune of 26 points against the Celtics Mar. 7, good for not only an in-game team high, but, for a squad that scores less than the calc honors society at MIT, promise of better, more productive days for everybody. It worked better than Jodie Meeks, as far as on-court considerations went. And it worked better than the alternative for the guys in suits and ties, who I’m sure didn’t want anything to do with a lottery pick whiff that, frankly, Turner was all but shaping out to be.
Then he got benched. And promoted. And benched again. And now this.
The inner working there? We threw up our hands a long time ago.
What we do know? That, at least for the rest of the way here, the Sixers pose match-up problems for the No. 1 seed in the sport. I know. It makes no sense.
So don’t think about it. Just enjoy it.
Because who knows how long this lasts?
(This article was written by Matt Hammond, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org)